The right sewing app for your iPad or smartphone can make life so much easier for the home sewist. Imagine sitting comfortably at your sewing machine with all the fabric, findings and tools you need to complete a project. Now, imagine it is your first time trying a certain technique or making a particular item and you’re easily following the step-by-step tutorial you found on an iPad sewing app.
It’s hard to believe so much is available now, especially if you grew up sewing without access to all of the wonderful resources that are now right at our fingertips. Beginners aren’t the only group of sewists that benefits from the sewing apps for Android, iPhone and iPad. Those of us who have been sewing for a while can find apps for organizing sewing patterns and supplies.
The following are some of our favorite apps on the market. As always, please let us know in the comments if you have a favorite app we haven’t mentioned.
FabricU is available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. It has information about 120 of the most used fabrics, including videos that describe the projects for which a particular fabric is best suited.
This app does not provide detailed information about the fabric’s fiber origin, tensile strength or other technical information. However, it is a great app for beginners who want to learn more about fabrics and those experienced sewists who wish to explore new fabrics and can’t afford the excellent fabric reference series by Julie Parker
Have you ever been in a fabric store and fallen in love with a fabric which comes in a width not listed on the back of the pattern package? If you shop for fabric as often as I do, it happens all too frequently. Yardage Calculator will do the math for you!
This is an especially nice tool to have if you use vintage patterns since those packages don’t have the same amount of detailed information on them as our modern versions. Yardage Calculator is available for the iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad.
With Fabric Stash in the palm of your hand you will never buy duplicate fabric again! I have bins of fabric in my sewing room and can’t bear to part with them, but I certainly don’t want to add to them if I don’t have to. Fabric Stash is a great way to help organize your sewing supplies and will certainly pay for itself the first time you don’t buy fabric you already own.
Of all the apps available this is the one I need the most. I understand that an iPhone isn’t necessarily going to give an image that allows for a perfect color match in a store, but It can let you know how much of each fabric you have so you don’t buy the 3 yards of gray wool for a jacket when you already own 3 yards of gray tweed that would work just as well.
Fabric Stash is available for iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad. The price is $3.99.
The Sewing Guide is an app that contains very basic information. It has proven buggy for some buyers and experienced sewists may not find as much value in the elementary instruction and advice.
The Sewing Guide is an Android based app. The price is currently reduced to $0.99.
Dress Making is another app for beginners that explains how to properly fit different figure types, how to choose a pattern, how to pick the right color and fabric, and much more. There are even more basic sections with dressmaking terminology as well as information on stitches and threads.
Dress Making is available for the iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad. The price is $0.99.
Pattern Pal is made by the same company that brings us Fabric Stash and is on my list of must-buy apps. I have hundreds of patterns, some dating back to the early 1900s. Imagine being able to shop for fabric without carrying a stack of patterns around, or having to stop and search through the pattern books to try and find it or something similar.
Sometimes, experienced sewists are comfortable enough adapting old patterns and don’t want to buy new. Pattern Pal gives you the chance to save the information about all your variations so you can buy just the right amount of fabric for the job.
Pattern Pal is available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The price is $4.99.
How is the best way to access all these great apps?
For visibility, an iPad is the most convenient computer for accessing sewing apps. It is small enough to fit near your sewing machine and large enough to get a good view of the videos and step-by-step instructions included on most apps and many websites.
If you want some information on finding an inexpensive iPad you can find good information at ConsumerFu.com, a consumer help website. As mentioned there, if you buy a refurbished iPad, make sure it is an Apple Certified Refurbished. These iPads are sold with the same one year limited warranty that come with new iPads and the refurbished products are also eligible for Apple Care.
Not sure what to buy? Most people can get by with far less machine than the newest product on the market. Ask in forums and check all the apps you are interested in to see what they require.