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Tools of the Trade: From the Doctor’s Bag

Tools of the Trade: From the Doctor’s Bag
February 22, 2010 Mary Jo

Another favorite class of tools, besides ‘those which already live in my junk drawer’ and ‘those I can make myself’ are ‘Those Which are more Commonly Used in Other Professions.’

Hemostats are one such tool.  You may remember them from such tv shows as Grey’s Anatomy or E.R. or from such life experiences as When I Got Stitches or That Surgery I Had.  (Forgive me – my knowledge of the tool does not extend beyond its sewing applications; this is not a medical blog.)  What’s important to note are the blunt ends, the teeth-like grips at these ends, and the stay-put teeth to clamp it shut at the handle end.  Put together, all of these attributes make the Hemostats the perfect tool for turning.  That is, turning something from inside-out to right-side-out by inserting this tool into a small opening, grabbing the innards, and pulling gently.

It works perfectly for turning things like bags, most anything with a lining, and short straps.  They do come in different lengths, and I think I’ll keep my eyes peeled for a longer-nosed model for turning longer straps.  They also come in a slightly angled orientation; I can not speak to their efficacy.  Drop everything and run right out to your local Hobby Shop to pick up your own pair and then wonder why you wasted all that time with that chintzy ‘bodkin’ tool nonsense.  You’ll never look back, I promise.

Another studio must-have for me that came straight from my Doctor’s Office (not literally – I don’t advocate stealing) is exam table paper.  This lightweight tissue paper comes in either 18″ or 21″ widths, on a roll of way-more-yards-than-you’ll-use-in-a-long-time length and makes the perfect pattern tracing paper.  It’s cheap, stores nicely on the roll when you’re not busy whipping out patterns, and has one smooth side and one rough side.  I picked up the hot tip somewhere out there in sewing cyberland and had to look high and low for a place to buy it.  I ended up buying a box of 12 from a medical supplier, because that’s just how I roll, and sold the rolls I didn’t need.  Then I discovered that I could have bought it from Nancy’s Notions, practically a neighbor.  That Nancy is a sewing goddess, I swear. Check it out.

I think I’ll wrap up this series tomorrow with my Favorite Tool Ever, the one that caused me to drop everything, pack up my kids, and drive 30 miles to retrieve a bigger size.

Get ready to live.


The rest of the Tools of the Trade series is here.

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