Is your sewing kit a treasury? Do you have every size needle on the market and a rainbow of threads? Variety is brilliant and in the constantly evolving world of tools there are plenty that will speed up your sewing techniques.
Our must-haves are listed below but if yours are different let us know in the comments.
First up is a sharp pair of scissors for cutting ONLY fabric! I can’t stress this enough, if you use it to cut paper patterns, you’ll feel the bluntness when you return to cut the fabric. So here goes, the range of fabric scissors is vast – which ones will you choose? There’s a huge range out there, from traditionally shaped varying in length, to pinking shears and easy-action scissors to help your aching hand muscles. A Handy Guide to the Best Scissors for Sewing from craftsy.com explains the options available for different tasks and materials, take a look to get some ideas for your perfect pair of scissors.
As my grandmother used to say, a workman is only as good as his tools and if your needles are not up to scratch your sewing won’t be either. So when you’re buying needles for hand or machine sewing, consider the quality of the needle as well as the size you need. There are needles available not only for different fabric types but also for the style of sewing. Check out Sew Essential’s blog on How to Choose the Right Sewing Machine Needle or this simple guide on Hand Sewing Needles from the Sewing and Craft Alliance.
Again, this may seem like a simple task of picking up a tape measure from any counter but you’d do well to spend a little more time considering which one measures up to your tasks the best. Perhaps a simple flexible tape measure would suit you best, or for larger jobs maybe you could consider the retractable kind. Some retractable versions even come with added extras such as a keyring so you won’t put it down and lose it!
Pins and Safety Pins
Believe it or not, there are a variety of pins for different purposes. This short blog from Thread Magazine explains some of the different pins and their uses. Whatever project you’re doing, pins are essential pieces of equipment for your sewing kit. Holding fabric, patterns and waddings in place, they help make your measurements and your sewing more accurate. Make sure you choose the right pins to make your projects easier to manage.
Owning the right pins for the task is just the beginning of holding your project together. The humble pin cushion has evolved dramatically since its rise to popularity in the Victorian period. You can choose from practical, cute, vintage or ornamental to name just a few. Arguably, the most useful of all the pin cushions on the market has to be the magnetic variety. Whether you opt for a magnetic dish or cushion, it will be guaranteed to save you time and hassle from spilled pins! If you’re interested in making your own, try out this easy way to make a magnetic pin dish from Makery.Com.
Most sewing machines come fully equipped with a supply of extra bobbins but there’s not a lot of tasks more deflating than having to unwind the cotton from one because you’ve run out of spares. Spare bobbins for your make and model of machine can usually be picked up for a small price either online or in stores. As an added essential look up some crafty bobbin storage ideas for personally styled organisation.
When I started out sewing, the range of threads available had me baffled and it took some research to find out which ones were worth buying. I soon learned that the cheaper ones snapped easily and caused unnecessary problems. Start Sewing have a great guide on Choosing the Right Thread that gives tips on the qualities to look for. On top of thinking about quality, there’s also the decisions involved in choosing colours! Again, not as simple as it sounds. There are reasons to choose contrasting colours, matching colours or colours to accentuate patterns within the material. Take a look at this guide on Choosing a Thread Colour from Sewing School for a detailed explanation.
Everyone makes mistakes but when you’ve sewn your project and those tight stitches need unpicking you’ll be in for the long haul cutting them out with a scissors! Essential to any sewing kit is the time saving, precision cutting seam ripper. You may be fortunate enough to have one included with your sewing machine kit but if not you should definitely invest in one. Being able to cleanly open seams at any point, allows for mistakes to be fixed without tears, and often without any trace.
Don’t turn your fingers into a pin cushion. Invest in a thimble to give you protection and a chance to start a collection. Thimbles come in a range of materials, such as metal, ceramic, leather and rubber. They can be decorated, colourful and collectible! As well as thinking about aesthetics, consider the need to feel what you’re doing. With a decreased sense of touch you risk making your sewing difficult to control and less precise.
Sewing Kit Bag
As your sewing projects increase in quantity and variety, so will your tools! A well-organised kit bag is essential to protect them and make them easy to find. You could choose a basic tool box to hold all your supplies or you could be creative and make your own. Going for the personalised option, you could include roll-up bags for your scissors, little cases for your tape measures and cotton reels… Planning spaces for all your sewing equipment will make it more compact and purposeful, and certain to increase your productivity!
A list to start you off, although your “essentials” will expand and become tailored to the projects you choose to sew!
Enjoy building your Sewing Kit!