I have been using, and recommending, binder clips as a sewing tool for a while now, but I hadn’t ever tried the Clover Wonder Clips* that the quilters and bag-makers like to rave about. (These clips are used to hold together layers that are too thick to pin, or when it would damage the material to pin it as in vinyl or leather, or to hold quilt binding in place while sewing.) To give them a fair chance, I procured a set. They’ve had a chance to duke it out in my sewing room for a couple of months now and this is how it went down…
Wins for Wonder Clips
- The Shiny Factor – Opening a box of Wonder Clips* is like opening a box of shiny glowing jewels. Wonder Clips are puuuuuurty. Let’s just stand up and admit it. k? We sewists love our rainbows of measuring tapes, our floral handled shears, and our aqua rotary cutters. We are visual people. There is no shame in wanting our tools to be as lovely as the things they help create!
- The Fumble Factor – I found it a bit easier to take the Wonder Clips on and off. Binder clips tended to spring out of my hand when I tried to open them. Or maybe it was just me? Even so, Wonder Clips won in this department.
- The Smooth Feed Factor – The flat bottoms of the Wonder Clips don’t catch on the corner of the machine bed while you sew. This is, hands down, the biggest advantage Wonder Clips have on binder clips. Compare the above photo with the one below to see what I mean.
Wins for Binder Clips
- The Price Factor – Binder Clips typically cost less than ten cents a piece. Compare that to Wonder Clips which range from 30 to 60 cents depending on the size of the package. If my sewing budget was tight and I had to choose between fabric and Wonder Clips, I would choose fabric.
(screen capture of the amazing bag class)
- The Pro Factor – I am working my way through “Making Leather Handbags” with Don Morin. He uses specialty tools I had never heard of, like a “nylon brayer” and a “skive”, but Don busts out the binder clips to hold many thick layers together. If its good enough for the industry pro that writes “Bag’n-telle“, it’s good enough for you.
So which one wins? It really depends on the size of your sewing budget, and how often they would be used. If finances are tight, binder clips will get the job done. However, Wonder Clips* could be a fun, pretty, and useful addition to your sewing stash. I am happy I have them in mine.
Are you on Team Wonder Clip? Or Team Binder Clip?
Erin Twirl says
I like to use the flippy hair clips instead of either choice. 🙂 Not sure what the actual hair clip is called but it is the one that you bend back and forth to open and close. Cheap, colorful and easy to use.
Me too (and no, I don’t know what they are called, either). I feel that they are more gentle with the fabric.
On the other hand, I’ve used binder clips to hang quilts from wall hooks, when I am too lazy to sew on something more permanent, or I’m worried about the beadboys tugging on the quilts. I have them in pretty colors, too, so I can coordinate with the fabric!
If you search for “snap hair clips” you will find what you are looking for.
One other difference between the two, at least with the binder clips that I use, is that binder clips have a slight gap where they close so you can’t get a good secure hold if you’re not working with enough layers. Anything below the thickness of about 4 layers of quilters cotton? Forget it, grab the wonder clips.
Team binder clip! If only because I already have a million of them in a bunch of different sizes (left over from my abandoned career as a lawyer), and I am loathe to spend money on the Wonder Clips if I have clips that will work nearly as well already. The Wonder Clips are super cute, though!
Of these two choices I’d like the Wonder Clips because to me the only con is price. I have decided that tools are worth it to me, and I’d rather have great ones and cut back financially someplace else. We all make choices. For me it’s skip haircoloring and go quilting. But I completely understand somebody else’s perspective. Binder clips are multi-taskers, cheap and easy to find anyplace.
I haven’t got any Wonder Clips yet, and have always loved the plain metal hair barrettes Erin mentioned for binding. But maybe I’ll experiment with them for some pinning applications. I certainly have every pin on the market, and I can see where maybe the clips would have been a better choice to use when teaching my daughter and her friend to sew pillowcases recently–no stuck fingers and no worries about them in the carpet. My daughter’s friend the athlete decided she hates sewing, but she stuck with the project so I’m proud of her. However my girl loves and it wants to progress, which is thrilling to me.
I really like the wonder clips myself. The binder clips are almost too tight and leave an impression behind on the fabric. I buy the wonder clips just a few at a time when they are on sale at Jo-Ann’s or I have a coupon. So far I only have 10… hopefully will be getting some more soon! Else they will be at the top of my Christmas list this year. 🙂
Helen pringle says
I agree the wonder of going in your space with specific gadgets for sewing. Bought my wonder clips at half price for fifty small clips
Wonder clips! I wanted them for years but didn’t want to spend the extra money. Not long ago the 50 pack was super cheap on Amazon so I ordered and have loved them from the start!
I”m on team wonder clip. But I’m commenting to say that if you watch them on amazon for a bit you can find them on sale big time. Pick up a 50 pk on sale and split it with a friend! 🙂
I’m definitely on Team Wonder Clips. (Especially now that the jumbo version exists!)
Of course you would be, O Queen of Notions, (ps thanks for linking up!)
I’d never heard of Wonder Clips before I saw this post linked from the Make blog and it had never occurred to me to use any kind of clip for sewing – duh. I’ll be looking for Wonder Clips but binder clips will still hold a place in my heart, not to mention all over my house.
I discovered Wonderclips about a year ago and have been in love ever since! I have no idea how I managed to do bias binding at all before them…
The reason Don Morin probably uses the binder clips is this: when working with very heavy material, it stretches out the clips. I do custom nylon gear for a living and it is not uncommon to be putting 4 layers of heavy weight nylon (made for tactical gear and back packs, not the thin ripstop) and 2 layers of Velcro at a time – I throw out a LOT of stretched out binder clips. If I was working on normal weight materials (i.e. garment weight leather) I would go for the Wonder clips but if what you are clipping is more than 1/4″ thick, go with the binder clips.
Good to know! Thanks!
binder clips- not frequently used enough to warrant the pricier product!
Though I love binder clips, I have fallen in love with the Wonder Clips. It helped that I had a 60% off coupon at the craft store, and the clips have measurement markers on them.
I never understood the pull of wonder clips, until I used them for hand-binding recently for the first time. I had never really liked the metal kind or gotten them to work right. The wonder clips made the whole binding process faster and easier, and saved my hands from aching.
Hillary Wehrle says
Where did you find a Nylon Brayer for the “Make a Leather Bag” class and what is it? I just typed it into ebay & got nothing! What does it do? Also, Just an FYI, if you ever want to make another bag, Kyson (?) Leather (the 1st one recommended on the supply list) has a special ebay store for smaller pieces of leather called
leatherpartials with excellent prices & customer service. (No, I don’t work for them). I just bought an 8′ piece of red & a 6′ piece of black and they combined the shipping for me so it was only $45- that’s w/ Priority shipping! They were so nice that I had said could you fit it all in a large flat rate box & they said they would fit it in a medium, which is what they use for only one hide. I actually wanted some spare black to try to do other things with. I just thought I’d fill you in on this $ saving tip I learned. Great site BTW. Take care.
P.S. If you add Wonderclips to your shopping cart on Amazon.com & then save them for later & check every so often you can get them for rock-bottom prices. Just watch out for the shipping. Oh, and always check the Used section first because that is where the Amazon Warehouse deals are. They are the best! Never got a bad product from them. Worst thing I ever rec’d were Post-it notes that were not in their original bag! Oh, the horror ; )! Def. worth checking first. Lastly, just found out last night that Amazon has TONS of coupons for you to e-clip for things one would actually use.
It’s a roller used to flatten seams and attaching various mounting tapes. You can see a pic here: http://bagntell.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/leather-tools/
Ana from The Lost Apron says
Team Wonder Clips. These also work wonders for little hands learning how to sew. You can easily scoot them along when sewing when you are not ready to remove them completely. See my necessary supplies:
Louise Richardson says
Wonder clips all the way! But for what they are – very expensive. Because they are so small i keep losing them. i honestly have about four left.. and i find them in random places around the house too!
That’s because everyone thinks they’re pretty and nick them out of your sewing supplies 😉
Thank you for this post! I had seen the Wonder clips online and just didn’t see what made them so special. Then I saw the price in store and REALLY didn’t see it!
But laying flat while going through the machine is definitely a big difference.
I purchased my 50-pack of Wonder Clips on Amazon for less than $15. They are SO SO worth it! I make a lot of bags, wallets, zipper pouches, etc. and they are so fabulous I don’t know how I lived without them. They are so much gentler on fabric, too.
I just found Weekend Designer… Thanks Don, for returning, and helping the rest of us. I will be watching both blogs now. As for binder and Wonder? I have always used binder, with what I have read here, I will be watching Amazon for their pricing. Thanks to all for your answers, I think it’s time for me to give wonder clips a try.
Just found 100 count wonder clips on Amazon for 8.99. That’s cheaper than the binder clips right now. I have used binder clips and with leather and vinyl they tend to leave a bit of a mark/indent. I have also found they can catch on the machine when I use them. I have one comment as a pro-binder clip person though….SIZE. When I use them for embroidery or quilting, I use the giant binder clips to hold the bulk of my project out of my way then use tape, pins and smaller binder clips for the small stuff. I am hoping to use wonder clips for regular sewing since my straight pins keep migrating to someone else’s work area. Do they work for regular garment sewing?
I buy Wonder Clips from eBay (China) and pay under Aus $5 for 50 clips including postage. I have to wait a little while but at that price it makes me very happy. Also giant wonder clips by the dozen for under $4 Australian, again including postage. I think the wonder clips win hands down. I never liked the metal of binder clips hitting my sewing machine and also found they would fly away at will.
I use. Wood clothes pins,cheap I tell you and binderclips
Wonder Clips- bought a package this week.
Love them enough to go to Amazon and buy some more. Love the prices on Amazon too.
Well don’t own wonder clips but do Wonder how many have tried the Taylor Seville clips that have a truly flat top and bottom section with seam guides as well.
I saw video on what I thought would be Wonder clips but what she showed were Taylor Seville clips and I went wow and went back to check if wonder clips had an extendable section to them and she had just failed to mention this fact.
No wonder clips/magick clips do not they have a flat bottom but that flat bottom is raised so in fact you do not have fabric as flat as possible. In fact pins would make flatter option.
I actually love the coloured clips, I am going to contact video maker who used Taylor clips to ask if she has compared them.
There are a plethora of clips out there.
With Covid 19 causing a rush on all things sewing I found clips scarce in local stores or costly by my estimate and without being able to handle clips to see if they are too tight for me or something raises red flag I am not willing to pay up to $20 for six clips (Australian).
So I did my first face mask using bulldog clips and what is called here a binder clip.
I got 8 silver paper bulldog clips for $2 in dollars and sense and figured cheap enough to test out.
They worked fine, so did binder clips but I took both off as I sewed more out of habit than anything else.
There are the curved hair clips that snap open and closed but there they are a bit scarce and then there as long metallic slide on clips with seam guides that look like they would be hard to slide over more than two fabric layers and not suitable for slim seam lines.
They reminded me of flattened Bobby pins, which are in my opinion likely to do same job as you can buy regular length and long ones dirt cheap.
For masks right now I am finding fabric I am trying out all sit nicely on top of each other without the need to pin or clamp. Those of you used to sewing fast however may find it faster to clamp then sew en masse.
If you want the seam guide check with sellers online as not all images are clear enough to show you if clips have them I noticed today.
Thanks for doing the comparison.
Thanks for various options suggested too