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You can use WHAT for sewing? A Thang?

As someone who loves to keep up with the latest sewing gadgets, I recently came across a new tool called “Purple Thang”. At first, I was skeptical. How could this simple stick be useful? It seemed too basic to be of any real help. Despite my initial doubts, I decided to give it a try and purchased one.

To my surprise, once I started using the Purple Thang, I discovered just how versatile and practical it is. This unassuming tool quickly proved its worth in my sewing toolkit. From guiding fabric and checking seam allowances to turning out corners and threading elastic, the Purple Thang has countless applications that make sewing easier and more efficient. It’s amazing how such a simple tool can have so many uses.

You can use WHAT for sewing A Thang fb

Read on to discover the many ways this handy tool can transform your sewing experience.

But before we begin, I have to say this: despite being called “purple thang” the tool is often not purple. I am not sure why but I have a hard time associating “purple” with something that is blue, pink or orange. I like pink, it is the easiest color to see for me, so I tend to use the pink one. What should I say then, “my pink purple thang“? So in the following text I will simply refer to the thing as “the thang“. Which is by itself a weird name!

Mastering Fabric Control With The Thang 

When working on sewing projects, one common challenge is managing fabric that gathers and bunches up under the presser foot, which can create unwanted folds and pleats. As you can see in the image, sometimes the fabric starts to gather and create small folds because the fabric is not feeding evenly through the sewing machine. If you continue to sew without addressing this issue, you will end up with a small fold or pleat in the seam, which is obviously not good.

the fabric starts to gather and create small folds

This is where the Thang is very helpful. It’s specifically designed to ease the fabric through the presser foot, especially when dealing with bulkier materials. This is what I use the Thang for the most.

So, how to do it? 

Hold the Thang with the slightly curved end facing the fabric. Use the curved end to gently push the fabric forward toward the presser foot. This action helps to align the fabric and prevent it from bunching up.

Use the tool to nudge the fabric forward every time it moves under the presser foot. The key is to apply consistent, gentle pressure to keep the fabric moving smoothly.

Continue this pushing action multiple times throughout the stitching process. Each time the fabric moves under the presser foot, use the Thang to guide it forward. This consistent action helps maintain an even feed of the fabric.

use the thang to align the fabric and prevent it from bunching up

As you sew, you’ll notice how the fabric remains flat and smooth without any folds or bulk under the needle. 

This makes it an essential tool for quilters, crafters, and sewists who often work with complex fabric arrangements.

Whether you are working on a delicate quilting project or sewing thick layers of fabric, this multifunctional tool provides better control over your fabric.  

While the Thang is great for this task, you might also consider using a walking foot for similar situations. Both tools have their place in a well-equipped sewing room. The Thang offers quick, precise control for smaller adjustments, while a walking foot provides consistent feeding for larger projects or more challenging materials.

✅Related tutorial: How to use a walking foot

If you want to buy the Thang, you can purchase it on Amazon. It usually comes in a multi-pack. This is good for someone like me, who tends to lose small tools in the chaos of my sewing room. 

Note: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This means I will receive a commission if you order a product through one of my links. I only recommend products I believe in and use myself. 

That Purple Thang Sewing Tools 5Pcs for Sewing Craft Projects Use Thread Rubber Band Tools by Windman
That Purple Thang Sewing Tools

Thang Sewing Tools Accessories Thread Rubber Band Tool Sewing Craft Quilting Tools 5 Pieces for Sewing Craft Projects (Pink, Orange, Blue, Green, Purple)
Thang Sewing Tools

Using The Thang To Ensure Accurate Seam Allowances

The Thang also has a square end, which is precisely 1/4 inch. This makes it an excellent tool for checking seam allowances quickly and accurately. Here’s how you can use it to maintain perfect 1/4 inch seam allowances, especially when turning corners. 

For example, you’re sewing your fabric with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. As you approach a corner where you need to turn, you need to stop at the right point to ensure the next side of your project maintains the same 1/4 inch seam allowance. So, to determine where to stop and start turning, use the square end of the Thang. Place the square end at the edge of your fabric, aligning it with the seam you’re sewing. This helps you see if you’ve reached the 1/4 inch mark.

use the square end of the Thang to ensure equal seam allowance

If you see that you haven’t sewn close enough to the corner (i.e., the Thang shows that it’s more than 1/4 inch away), make one more stitch. This ensures that your seam allowance is exactly 1/4 inch.

Once you’ve verified with the Thang that you’re at the correct point, you can turn the fabric and start sewing the next side, knowing that your seam allowances will be consistent.

Use the same method to check and adjust at every corner. This ensures that all your seam allowances are uniform, leading to a more professional and precise finish for your project.

✅Related tutorial: Seam Guide Tutorial: how to sew a straight line and keep seam allowances equal

The Thang is Like an Extra Finger for Safe and Precise Sewing

The Thang can act like an extra finger, providing you with greater control over your fabric without the risk of placing your fingers near the needle. This is especially useful at the end of a stitch, where fabric can often bunch up or shift.

So, as you near the end of your stitch, hold the Thang end touching the fabric. This prevents the fabric from bunching up or moving out of place as the presser foot goes over it.

hold the Thang end touching the fabric as you near the end of your stitch,

Another practical use of the Thang is for safely removing pins from the fabric, especially those that have gotten a little too close to the sewing machine needle while you sew. 

Leaving it in place could potentially damage your needle or disrupt your stitching. So, take the Thang and use the curved end to carefully pull the pin out. 

use Thang is for safely removing pins from the fabric

✅Related tutorial: Types of sewing pins and their uses: all you need to know about straight pins for sewing

The Thang as a Finger Presser

In addition to guiding fabric and checking seam allowances, the Thang can also be used as a finger presser. The square end of the Thang is perfect for finger pressing seams, offering a convenient and safe way to flatten seams without damaging your fabric or fingers.

After sewing a seam, use the square end of the Thang to press the seam open. Simply run the square end along the seam, applying gentle pressure. This helps to flatten the seam. It protects your fingers from the repetitive strain of pressing seams by hand. This is especially beneficial for patchwork.

the Thang can also be used as a finger presser

Turning Out Corners With The Thang

The Thang is also helpful for turning out corners, especially acute corners often found on collars. Let me demonstrate how this tool can make the process easier and more precise.

When sewing an acute corner, such as the point of a collar, here’s a technique to ensure crisp, professional-looking results.

As you approach the corner, instead of turning the fabric immediately to sew the next side of the collar, do one additional stitch to “cut” the corner. This stitch helps create a smoother turn and reduces bulk. It has nothing to do with the Thang for now.

using the thang for acute corners

After making the additional stitch, turn the fabric and continue sewing the next side of the collar.

Once the collar is sewn, it’s time to turn the corner out. Here is where the Thang is helpful. 

Insert the curved end of the Thang into the corner from the wrong side of the fabric. Gently push the fabric to turn the corner out to the right side. The curved end of the Thang is designed to help you push out the corner without poking through the fabric or causing any damage.

As you can see in the image, the collar would look pretty sharp.

curved end of the Thang used to push out the corner without poking through the fabric

Removing Paper When Foundation Paper Piecing

Foundation paper piecing is a popular quilting technique that involves sewing fabric pieces onto a paper pattern. After completing the stitching, easily remove the foundation paper using the Thang.

Use the curved end of the Thang to break the paper. The tool allows you to get under the paper without damaging the stitches or the fabric.

easily remove the foundation paper using the Thang

✅Related tutorial: Foundation paper piecing tutorial

Stuffing Narrow Items With The Thang 

The Thang is also useful for stuffing narrow items, such as tails on toys. This can be challenging with small, tight spaces where fingers can’t reach. Here is an example of how I used the Thang to stuff the tail of a cat toy I was making for my granddaughter. The tool made it easy to reach all the way to the tip of the tail and ensured that the stuffing was evenly distributed, resulting in a nicely shaped and firm tail.

used the Thang to stuff the tail of a cat toy

Begin by inserting a small amount of stuffing into the tail. Use the curved end of the Thang to push the stuffing down into the narrow space. The tool’s slim design allows it to fit into tight areas easily.

As you continue to add more stuffing, use the Thang to evenly distribute it throughout the tail. Push the stuffing gently but firmly to ensure that it fills the entire length of the tail without creating lumps or uneven spots.

Using The Thang As A Bodkin

The Thang has a small slot that can be threaded with elastic or ribbon, making it an excellent substitute for a bodkin. This feature allows for easy insertion into casings or eyelets. 

✅Related tutorial: What is a bodkin and how to use it?

Start by threading the elastic or ribbon through the small slot in the Thang. Ensure that it is securely held in place.

the thang is an excellent substitute for a bodkin

Insert the Thang with the threaded elastic or ribbon into the casing or eyelet. The tool’s slim and sturdy design allows it to slide through the fabric easily.

Use the Thang to guide the elastic or ribbon through the entire length of the casing. The tool’s slot holds the elastic or ribbon securely, preventing it from slipping out as you pull it through.

Using the Thang as a bodkin is very easy and efficient. For example, when making a crib sheet, fitted sheet, or even an ironing board cover, you often need to thread elastic through large casings. The Thang tool simplifies this process.

Additional Uses of the Thang 

The Thang  is a really versatile tool and can assist with various tasks. Here are a few more ways you can use this handy tool. 

  1. Pushing Thread to the Back: After threading your sewing machine, you can use the Thang to push the thread to the back from under the presser foot. This helps keep the threads out of the way and prevents them from getting tangled as you start sewing.
  2. Pulling Thread from the Needle: When threading your sewing machine needle, the Thang can help you pull the thread through the eye of the needle. Its precise tip allows you to grab the thread easily.
the Thang can help you pull the thread

3. Pulling Up the Bobbin Thread: When you need to pull the bobbin thread up through the needle plate, the Thang can make this task simpler. Insert the Thang tool under the presser foot and gently pull the bobbin thread up, ensuring it’s ready for sewing.

Did you find this guide helpful? If you did, make sure to save this pin (located below) on your sewing board so that you can easily access the article later whenever you need this information on this new sewing gadget. Also, don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest for more tips, tutorials, and inspiration.

You can use WHAT for sewing A Thang pinterest

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Wednesday 12th of June 2024

Thank you, I`v had mine several years and had no idea it could do so many thangs, could have saved me a lot of grief at times if i had known. I love the way you research thangs and share you knowledge. Again, Thank you so much.

Olga Balasa

Tuesday 18th of June 2024

You're very welcome! It's amazing how many "thangs" that Purple Thang can do, right? I'm glad I could help save you some grief. I love digging into these handy tips and sharing them with everyone.

Anita Alessi

Saturday 1st of June 2024

I probably got this about 20 years ago and it only came in purple. Never gave it the attention like you did. Thanks for a great guide on using it. Will definitely brush off the dust and start using it.

Olga Balasa

Tuesday 4th of June 2024

I did not really pay much attention to it either, but recently I discovered I knew little about some that things that I believed I knew everything about and this short movie is an example https://youtu.be/Q9UUHXTCveI. So I decided to write about this tool too since it also receives little recognition.

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