I was asked a question from a friend on my FB Page (https://www.facebook.com/Siri2Siri), she wanted to know what are the 5-10 essential tools you should have when beginning to sew?
At that time I was working on a project (drafting a skirt pattern for a client) and I thought of my handy dandy mechanical pencil. When drafting patterns to me, a good quality mechanical pencil is a must have. This small thought got me to thinking about my first time sewing and the various tools used. I also asked myself, “Are there different types of tools for advanced sewers vs. beginners?”
I am a shopaholic when it comes to sewing supplies. I always make sure my “stash” is not low (mental note: I need to buy more yellow quilters pins). That means I should have plenty of zippers on hand in various sizes and in the basic colors( white, black, beige or nude, navy, brown). I should have plenty of thread on hand in the basic colors. Plenty of bobbins, my personal pet peeve is to stop what I am doing to wind up another bobbin. I usually have 2-3 pre-wound with the color I am currently using. I alway make sure I have more than 1 tape measurer. I tend to loose them, I mean misplace them. I also, keep at least 2-3 pairs of snippers at arms reach. 1 snipper at my sewing machine and 1 at my serger. That way I wont have to keep stopping and looking for my snippers. Another tool I keep at my side, is my metallic pin cushion. When sewing it seems as though I always drop a pin on the floor and I never seem to find it again! I also make sure I have plenty of sewing machine needles. YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TO MANY NEEDLES! EVER! I keep on hand at least 1-2 packs of 14/90, 11/75 and ball point needles.
So If I had to make a list of basic must have tools for a beginning sewer. My list would look like this:
1. A good pair of Fabric scissors (Gingher is standard 8-10 inch blade)
2. A pair of paper scissors to cut the paper pattern. NEVER USE YOUR FABRIC SCISSORS TO CUT PAPER. This will dull the blades.
3. Several pairs of snippers, they are sometimes called thread clippers. Use them to trim the thread from the fabric
4. A large quantity of pins used to pin down patterns. I actually have two sets. I use the quilters yellow head pins for pinning fabric together. I picked up this tid bit from an article years ago from Threads magazine. The author explained they are easier to see when sewing and when they fall on the floor. Been using them for the last 15+ years. I also use the small silver ones when I am draping fabric on the mannequin.
5. Basic colored thread for the sewing machine. Often time you will see various colored thread sold in a pack. That is a good buy. When I sew I use Tex40 thread. This is the thread manufacturers use in production. If you are a home sewer, craft projects basically. I would invest in gueterman
6. 2 tape measures. Make sure they are the extra long ones 120″ , acrylic ruler and/or measuring gauge for hems.
7. A quality tracing wheel and transfer paper. (actually I feel this is for advanced sewers, but everyone is differenct)
8. A pin cushion (metallic just because they are cool. Yes that is my professional opinion)
9. Fabric Markers. Preferably washable
10. Ironing board and a quality Iron. Yes spend the extra $20 on that iron. The last thing you want is that iron from family dollar that stops working after 5 uses!
11. A good sewing Reference book. I have found one that I really like on Amazon called:
12. 1-2 packs each of your basic sewing machine needle 14/90 or 11/75
13. A couple of seam rippers. Trust me you will always loose 1 or 2.
14.A good sewing chair
15. the best lamp money can buy!
A well lit sewing room is essential, you need to see what you are sewing.
Well I hope that helps my friend and anyone else who is interested in sewing. I have added a few sites that I felt would be helpful… Enjoy and remember KEEP SEWING!