There are a bewildering array of sewing tools available for today’s sewers. Today I want to share with you my choice of what I consider to be the essential sewing ones. I don’t mean the latest trendy gadgets, I mean the basic, tried and tested can’t do without tools of the trade.
Tools of the Trade
If you are considering purchasing a machine for the first time, consider carefully what you actually want to be able to sew. Chances are you won’t need an all singing all dancing quilting or embroidery machine if you are just starting out.
I would suggest that you don’t buy a very basic machine because you will find you outgrow it rather quickly.
For most soft furnishing or dress making projects a mid-range machine, either computerised or mechanical will be suitable.
Most sewing shops encourage you to try before you buy, to make sure you find the right machine for you, so pop along to your nearest showroom and have a play. Ask lots of questions and think about what you really want to use your machine for.
You should try to purchase the best scissors you can afford. If you are left handed buy left handed scissors. Some scissors can be held in either hand, but left handed scissors have the blades the opposite way round making it easier to see what you are cutting.
The most important thing to remember about your fabric scissors, is only ever cut fabric with them. Cutting paper will blunt them and even if you sharpen them, they will never be the same again.
My preference are glass headed pins. Whatever type of sewing you do, you can be sure there will be lots of ironing involved and glass headed pins will not melt if you accidentally iron them.
These are a very useful addition to your craft room, as they protect your work surface from damage and are an absolute necessity if you use a rotary cutter.
They come in various sizes and are generally double sided; metric on one side and imperial on the other.
Originally they were all green but now they come in lots of lovely colours if you shop around.
This unassuming little tool is invaluable. It makes unpicking stitches a quick and easy task.
It can also be used to gently feed fabric underneath the presser foot and is extremely good for carefully opening buttonholes.
Depending on the job in hand, there are a number of options.
For large projects like curtain making, a steel metre ruler is the best option, it gives a true straight line and its large size makes measuring long lengths easier.
Plastic rulers specifically designed for patchwork and quilting make measuring and cutting easy. I would suggest a 6″ square and a 6″ x 24″ oblong ruler as a starting point.
For measuring seams and hems little hem guides are an amazing invention.
These come in a number of sizes and are ideal for patchwork and quilting.
They must always be used in conjunction with a cutting mat and with due care and attention. The blade should always be covered or retracted before the rotary cutter is put down, this helps to avoid accidentally cutting yourself on an open blade.
Always cut away from yourself and keep fingers out of the way. Only use patchwork and quilting rulers with a rotary cutter as ordinary rulers are not made to withstand their use.
You will definitely need a safe place to keep all of your pins. A pincushion is very practical because you can pick them easily whenever you need them.
Making your own is also a great use for your scrap fabric. They can be as fancy as you like, take a look on Pinterest for inspiration.
After spending time, energy and love creating your projects you want them to last. Using good quality thread means seams and finishes are more likely to stand up to everyday life.
Check out my post on choosing the correct thread for your project here.
As I mentioned before, sewing actually involves a lot of ironing but this doesn’t mean you have to buy a really expensive iron. When I upgrade my everyday iron at home, I put the old one in my sewing room.
Although, you may not use much steam for quilting and patchwork, it’s always handy to have the option for other projects.
I hope you find this list useful. If you have any comments or questions I’d love to hear from you.
If someone you know would find this list helpful, please feel free to share.
Until next time…