Over the past few weeks, I’ve been doing a lot more sewing. I’ve finally been tackling some of the projects that have been sitting around for a while. As I’ve been working, what’s really occurred to me is that pretty fabric isn’t enough when making something, you need the tools to do it right.
If you’re starting out, it’s easy to walk into a fabric shop/ haberdashery and be overwhelmed by all of the tools and gadgets. So in this post, I’ll be providing a run down of my sewing essentials.
Pins and Needles
I own a lot of pins, and a lot of needles. I have about 3/4 different pots of pins and a number of pin cushions scattered around my sewing space. This means that I can keep one by the iron, one where I cut my fabric, and another by my machine. I hate having to carry things backwards and forwards when I’m sewing!
I also have a couple of pretty pincushions (like this biscuit one from a Nikki McWilliams kit), but I also have a few that I’ve made with small offcuts of fabric and some stuffing. These are perfect for using up little scraps of pretty fabric.
For my hand sewing needles, I like to keep them in this little Liberty case so that they are all in one place.
Cut it out!
I’ve found that cutting things out well makes life so much easier and ultimately results in a better end product. I have four cutting tools which I rely on:
- Fabric scissors. My black fabric scissors used to belong to my Granny, and I treasure them. They are by no means the most expensive scissors, but they are light, easy to hold, and so sharp! I only ever use these to cut fabric. I use some cheaper kitchen scissors for interfacing, fleece, and wadding, so that my fabric scissors always stay super sharp.
- Pinking shears. A birthday present from my Mum. I use these to quickly neaten seams on things like bunting. Again, these only ever touch fabric.
- Small embroidery scissors. Primarily used for hand-sewing and finishing off. I actually have a few pairs of these as I tend to lose them quite frequently!
- Rotary cutter. I adore my rotary cutter, and it really made life easier when mass-making for my wedding. I use my cutter when I need to cut a few layers of fabric, as you can easily cut them all at once.
Measure twice, cut once
A tape measure is an essential piece of kit. I have a basic one and also a fancy retractable one. I tend to use the more basic one if I’m pressing a certain width with my iron as the numbers are much larger and easier to read.
If you are using a rotary cutter, a metal ruler is a must! You can also use a quilting ruler, but these are generally a bit more expensive. If you are starting out, a cheap metal ruler can be picked up quite cheaply.
I know that there are plenty of fancy fabric pens on the market, including washable ones and air-fading ones. However, I find these quite pricey and for the majority of things, a good old basic pencil will do. I use a normal pencil for lighter fabrics and white/yellow for darker colours. Just be sure to mark the wrong side of the fabric!
So what do you NEED to buy?
If you’re starting out, keep it simple, a basic pencil, some pins, and a pair of scissors is a good place to start. There are lots of gadgets available these days, but invest in the basics and you should be fine. Save your money for fabric, where I generally think it’s better to spend a little bit more.
What’s in your sewing stash? Is there a crucial bit of kit I’ve missed?