The Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl… My Favorite Tool

sewing awlThe Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl is my new favorite tool.  I have been using one for quite some time, and have decided to share some interesting things about this useful tool.

The speedy stitcher sewing awl is an American invention that dates back to the beginning of the 1900's.  The sewing awl was invented by Francis Steward, who won the patent for it in 1909. He introduced the speedy stitcher to the world and it has been in circulation ever since.  It is still used today and remains a family-owned business based in the state of New York.

The sewing awl is used with: sails, canvas, outdoor furniture, sewing bags, thick leather, and shoes.  If that is not reason enough to own one, I can tell you it gives you the fulfillment of hand-sewing along with the convenience of an efficient tool.


As it turns out my sewing awl is made by Tandy Leather, another American company based in Texas that has been in business since 1919.  Today it is no longer a family business, but a corporation managing 100 stores spread throughout the UK, Spain, and Australia.

The speedy stitcher sewing awl answers my need to work with my hands and allows me to explore different kinds of material for special projects.  Plus it fits well in a suitcase, making sewing a traveling hobby as well.

Do you remember the bucket bag or the small backpack?  Both projects have given my machine a run for their money.  In the small backpack project, I could not add a handle to the bag, the sewing machine was not strong enough, but using the sewing awl I could punch right through the tough layers.

The same bag, I just varied the sizes.

I really do recommend the speedy stitcher, it is both fulfilling and convenient.  Not only do I get the satisfaction of handcrafting, but I am able to do things that I couldn't with only the use of a normal machine.  Plus it's great for traveling, making sure that I can stay creative on-the-go.

Funny how that is, a small gadget that I actually found in an outdoor market for just two dollars, and all the happiness that has brought me.

If you'd like to try your own Speedy Stitcher, here's a good place to get one:

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126 Responses to The Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl… My Favorite Tool

  1. foster says:

    Have to get one now

  2. foster Dagima says:

    Have to get one now

  3. Quim says:

    Muchas gracias, compre un punzón no se para que y ahora ya se como utilizarlo

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      Pues a hacer de todo! es una pieza excepcional que te permite el uso de telas mas gruesas y cueros y terminas haciendo muchas cosas interesantes. Saludos!

  4. Stacy says:

    coolest thing Ive ever seen! thanks again for wonderful useful info 🙂

  5. Suzanne says:

    I have one that was my father in laws, it’s over 50 years old it has the instructions but I never used it. It will come in handy because my hubby accidentally ripped the pillow attached to our leather couch and I wondered how it could be fixed, now I know

  6. Helenanne Judisch says:

    I learned to awl stitch this year by watching a You Tube video. I found one in a box of sewing tools and notions that someone gave me when they cleaned out their Mother-in-laws sewing room. Very handy tool. I’ve done several mending projects with it and have in mind to make a leather wallet.

  7. Deborah J. says:

    It is so very useful. Bought mine in a discount tool/machine store (can I name it? Only $6 usd). It was fabulous for mending the edge binding of a rug.

  8. Mary Gomulinski says:

    Cool! JoA Fabrics sells it in the leather craft section but never understood how it worked. I love sewing leather so definitely adding it to my list. Thanks!

  9. Linda Kay Shultz says:

    Please demonstrate how to use it.

  10. isabela says:

    looks great, shopping for one know thanks for introducing it.

  11. Sherry L Brockman says:

    Great! Now all I have to do is find the one I’ve had for 40 years. I put it away because I’d forgotten how to use it.

  12. Wayne Thomason says:

    I’ve been using one for years, even before buying a machine. I have hemmed up several pairs of blue jeans using the stitching awl. That wasn’t as easy as using a machine but it did the job when I didn’t have a sewing machine handy.

  13. Marti says:

    Have never seen anything like that and I have so many “old” sewing tools (inherited). Will have to make a note for the next time I think about a “thick” fabric. Thanks

  14. Mcguff's Designs says:

    What a great gadget. I’ve got mine in my cart 😁

  15. C Hartlen says:

    very interesting gadget. I will source one in Canada.

  16. Sylvia Lanza says:

    I’ve one of these for 40 years, and it is indispensable. I got it either from Tandy or LL Bean. Just the other day, I trotted it out to repair some leather goods. Please note, the clever thing about this is the needle hole is at the point, like a sewing machine, rather than at the other end of the needle, like a hand stitched needle. This was the breakthrough invention of the mid-19th Century, enabling the sewing machine. Fundamentally, this is a hand powered sewing machine. I use either the waxed linen twine or wax-my-own nylon thread from defunct shoe manufacturers which I bought at a flea market.

  17. Gertrude Welsh says:

    This looks like something I need. Thanks.

  18. bakerskid1 says:

    I never knew how it worked until seeing your video…this is one little gadget I definitely need!

  19. Ruth Lunde says:

    I think it is something i may need to add to my gadgets

  20. Sewsmart says:

    I have one, too. I use it mostly for shoe repairs so far, but of course it can do more. It works just as well with heavy nylon thread as it does with waxed linen thread.

  21. Carleen Parlato says:

    no link shown for where to buy

  22. lynn bourgeois says:

    That is useful, and it is my first introduction t the sewing awl. Thanks

  23. Melody B says:

    I’m interested in this. The link for “a good place to get one” is missing though. I presume this would be an affiliate link for you and wanted to go through it.

  24. Lesley says:

    Thank you-I have had one of those Sewing Awls in my inherited sewing box for years. I knew it was a think of purpose but the instructions were not clear and the needle was missing. Made in Hong Kong and supplied by Gilinsky of Sunderland. Cant be that old as the suppliers address has a postcode. Now I have a chance of finding replacement needle etc. and using it.

  25. Very Interesting. I will have to keep this in mind.

  26. Pingback: Tool tips - budget or quality? The Bodkin - So Sew Easy

  27. Cheryl Wical says:

    I found my speedy stitcher (Quick Stitch Sewing Awl by SHIPtoSHORE, # 91812) at Harbor Freight for $5.99. It looks just like the Swift Quick Hand Sewing Awl above, with a hardwood handle, 4 steel needles and 180 yards of upholstery thread on a spool. The bobbin is inside the handle.

  28. Adrian Miller says:

    Thank you for this article, I too have had one of these tools for many years and didn’t know how to use it. Having found it in my father’s workshop after he passed away, he probably used it for fixing sails and it was one of the very few tools he never showed me how to use. I have been starting leather work projects and i’m excited to try using it soon. Thank you again.

  29. R says:

    There is a YouTube video put out by Tandy Leather using this awl.

  30. Deni says:

    OMG!!!! I’ve owned one for years (inherited it along with a bunch of sewing tools) and never knew how to use it! I’m so excited to try it now that I know what it’s for. Thank you, it’ll make my projects not just easier but doable.

  31. Karen says:

    After my mom passed away I was faced with the daunting, but interesting task of cleaning out her massive sewing room. Lo and behold I found this tool but never really knew what it was used on or how to use it… so thank you for your helpful post and showing me a new(old) way to sew 🙂

  32. Velvet Bliss says:

    These advertised on Amazon don’t look like the one in your picture (no bobbin holder). Do they still make the one you have pictured? Cool tool!!

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      The suppliers sometimes end up selling all the stock, which happened when I posted this lick. Try Tandy Leather direct, the one in the picture is from them. I am told there are easier to use, so don’t disregard the comments. I find mine hard to keep the thread in the bobbin from coming off, but that may be because I have not mastered the tool or a keep watching a movie while sewing. The latter might be the reason…:(

  33. Lezlie says:

    I have scrolled all the way down and don’t see a link for your video.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      yes it is not a video at this moment just a GIF. The video I am editing. When I am done. I will publish. Stay tuned, please 🙂

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