These days, when you can see six amazing things on YouTube before breakfast, it’s bold to use the word "wonder" in a product name. So when we got our hands on a set of Clover Wonder Clips from our friends at Fabric Depot, we wondered what could be so special about a little plastic clip to merit the W word in its name. Then we used them. Within minutes, we had to come up with a revised title for our review: To Have And To Hold: How Clover Wonder Clips Beat Pins And Make Sewing Easier.
First of all, we are big fans of using clips and little clamps in sewing. It can be like having an extra hand. When you’ve begun folding layers of fabric along an edge, you want a way to just hold it there so you can continue to work your way down the fold.
You can’t pin through more than a couple layers, because either the pin has to bend or the layers have to ripple. And you can’t have an assistant on hand all the time. So clamps do the trick
Our thanks to Fabric Depot for introducing us to Clover Wonder Clips and giving us so many pretty colors and sizes to play with. There is a full selection of Wonder Clips online at Fabric Depot, ranging in size, quantity and price from $5.56 to $46.99.
Check out all the options, and remember you can use coupon code FDNEW1014 at checkout for 10% off your first order with Fabric Depot.
We've heard of people who have used clothespins, mini hardware clamps, even little binder clips from the office supply store. Each of these will hold fabric layers together with varying degrees of success. But the one thing you have to do with all of them is remove them as you sew your seam. They’re too bulky to get near the presser foot and, more importantly, you don’t want something metal sliding across the bed of your sewing machine. You can end up scratching your needle plate, which can eventually cause your fabric to catch.
So here’s the first thing that’s WONDER-ful about Clover Wonder Clips. You can leave them clamped onto your project as you sew.
They’re flat on the back and made from a clear, non-scratching plastic that allows them to slide over your sewing bed easily and without damage.
As far as gripping power, they have a strong spring that’s easy to open...
... but holds firm when released.
Where the ends of the clip come together, the top piece has a smooth "tooth" that fits into a lower groove when closed. This allows the clamp to hold your fabric quite firmly, but without leaving a mark.
The second WONDER-ful thing about Clover Wonder Clips are the measurement lines on the back. As mentioned above, the bottom piece is made from clear plastic. So when you clip, you can easily see on the back side how far it’s "biting" into your fabric. This allows you to measure the depth of your fold or fabric edges while you’re clamping. That’s like having two extra hands – one to clamp and one to hold the ruler.
The regular size Wonder Clips have markings for 3/16", ¼", and ⅜" (5 mm, 7 mm, and 10 mm).
The Jumbo size clips have measurements at ¼", ½", ¾", and 1" (7 mm, 14 mm, 21 mm, and 28 mm).
How to use Clover Wonder Clips
The true list of uses for Wonder Clips in sewing and craft projects is probably endless. But here are a few of the major ones.
Sewing fabrics you can't easily pin
With fabrics like vinyl, laminates, leather, silks and satins, a pin hole is permanent. When working with them, you have to do all kinds of tricky maneuvers to keep your pins in the seam allowance where they will be hidden. Clover Wonder Clips, which hold firmly but don’t leave marks, are a perfect solution for these kind specialty fabrics.
Putting on binding
As our technology friends like to say, this is the "killer app." When you’re sewing the binding on a quilt or other layered project, you first sew one side of the binding to the top edge. Easy enough (but even easier thanks to the clamping power of the Wonder Clips).
But then there's the tricky part. You have to bring the binding over to the back so it covers the raw edges of layers, fold under the edge of the binding to cover the initial seam, then flip the project back over, and stitch the whole thing from the front... hoping and praying your seam is accurately catching that folded edge of the binding on the back.
It’s so much easier with Clover Wonder Clips. After you’ve sewn the first step, you clamp your binding from the back, leaving just enough room to stitch past the end of the clip. Then you sew from the front side, keeping close to the end of the clip, and knowing the seam is exactly where it needs to be.
Because sewing the back edge of your binding is so tricky, lots of people do this part by hand. Clover Wonder Clips allow you to bind confidently with your machine, saving you a ton of time, but retaining the lovely finished result.
For all your sewing tasks, that ability to sew with the Wonder Clips in place is excellent.
Teaching young children to sew
When you’re helping a little one learn to sew, you teach him or her about the dangers of the machine needle. But they’re probably ten times more likely to get poked trying to put in a pin. Or they knock the pins onto the floor where everybody gets the chance to be poked.
Avoid all this by using Clover Wonder Clips instead of pins. They’re easy for kids to set in place without getting pricked. They can’t sew over them like pins and risk breaking your needle. And when they get knocked onto the floor, their bright colors make them easy to find... and fun to pick up!
The springs are tough, but still easy for little fingers to manipulate.
And, a professional endorsement
We asked one of our local sewing machine dealers about Clover Wonder Clips. Are they really all that different from the other clips on the market? "Oh, yes!" she said enthusiastically. "There’s nothing like them."
She went on to explain that when she first started carrying them in her store, word spread quickly among her quilting customers. As more and more of them began using Wonder Clips to do their bindings, the dealer had trouble keeping them in stock! People were buying multiple 10-packs at a time.
Since then, Clover has come out with a variety of bigger packages, and now her customers are buying them in 50-packs and even 100-packs. When she has a binding class, Clover Wonder Clips are on the supply list.
More Colors, More Styles, More Uses
Fabric Depot has a great selection of all the colors and sizes, including our favorite: the brand new 50-piece assorted color box. Several of the larger assortments come in a handy plastic case that snaps tight to close.
In addition to the Standard and Jumbo clips, there's even a pretty purple clip for for knitting and crochet, but you can use them for sewing too - in case you just happen to love purple.
These colorful little clamps are the newest must-have in our Sew4Home sewing arsenal. We encourage you to give them a try as well.