What is it “AWL” About? | Madam Sew

What is it “AWL” About?

I’ve been sewing/quilting for a few years now but when it came to binding…I made my own…the hard way…without bias tape makers. When I saw the MadamSew Bias Tape Maker Kit makers would be…but the “Quilting Awl” was the one item in the kit that REALLY intrigued me. So, I made it my mission to find out what else this neat looking tool could do.

If you are new to sewing/quilting or haven’t used a “quilting awl” before, read on…You just might decide you can’t live without this nifty tool. If you have used one before, read on as well…you might find a new use or maybe you’ll have something to share that I didn’t find and our readers would love to know.

awl sewing tool

How to use a quilting awl…. let me count the ways…

2. It’s handy for guiding fabric under the sewing machine needle. (When I started sewing, I used pins or the tips of my scissors. I wish I knew about the quilting awl then because it’s much easier to use.) And sewing those thick seams…no problem, the awl can help guide those under the needle too!

machine needles

2. Need to pick out a few errant stitches and either don’t have a seam ripper or have it nearby? No worries, your quilting awl can be used to undo those stitches instead.

seam ripper

3. If you are doing applique and turning under your seam allowance, yep you guessed it, the awl can be your turning tool.


 4. Ever tried to line up two pieces of fabric and get them sewn together without them shifting? Awl bet you guessed the quilting awl could help. (Yep, corny joke.) An awl is also useful when your seams go in opposite directions. Not only can the awl keep them lined up, but it can keep them from flipping and being sewn down the wrong way. (That’s happened to me before and it’s very frustrating.) You might even decide that using an awl is easier than pinning your blocks. Give it a try.

keep awl line up

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5. Are you using tear away paper for your project and need to remove it? The awl can help you tease it out so you can remove it more easily. (It works a whole lot better than your fingernails!)

tear paper project

 6. When you need to make a hole in your fabric (think button, grommet, pattern, etc. holes) use your quilting awl. It’s better than scissors because it won’t shred the fabric or make a cut line when making your hole.

make a hole

7. And if you are making your own bias tape. The awl can help you feed the fabric through the bias tape makers. A quilting awl is included in the MadamSew Bias Tape Maker Kit.

bias tape
bias tape marker kit

So, if you haven’t used a quilting awl before, I hope you’ll give it a try.

If you have used a quilting awl, we’d love to hear about the ways you use it and how it has helped make your sewing/quilting life easier especially if there is a way you use your quilting awl that we haven’t mentioned in this blog!

Quilting Blogger for MadamSew.com

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I have an all-metal one that I’ve always called a stiletto. But it works the same way of course, and as I like sew my quilt bindings by machine, I don’t think I could manage without it anymore! And as you and others have mentioned, it has lots of other uses too!
Nice article, well written.

Suzanne Gabel

Fantastic blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers?I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you propose starting with a free platform like Wordpress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m completely overwhelmed .. Any tips? Kudos

Joseph Donahue

They are wonderful also in other crafts as well! My grandma had one in with her crochet stuff, I queried her on it and she said never be without one! She used it sewing, knitting and crochet. She even had 2 in the kitchen! She used it to poke holes in towels to crochet toppers on and she also used it for if she was going to sew a topper on a towel because she like to use a thicker needle and she would poke a hole first so the opening would not get to large or tear the towel. In the kitchen though, yep, ice crushing. Go figure!


OK, I haven’t tried this awl use as yet, but, you inspired this possibility: To cut open a button hole with out risking cutting the stitches, poke a hole at each end of the button hole plus one or more in between. Use your sharp pointed embroidery shears to cut from hole to hole. I will definitely be trying this technique with my next buttonhole application! thanks!

Cathy Ervin

I am looking forward to the day when you offer the awl alone, as a separate item I’ve already purchased your bias tape makers separately. Thank you!

Maureen Abele

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