Can you believe we're coming up on Valentine's Day already? It seems like just yesterday I was dragging my tree out to the trash. And before you know it, we'll be dyeing the eggs and eating all the candy. Bring on the Cadbury eggs!
This post is an introduction to tools you need to sew up the all the magical things. Cue sparkly unicorn music. This is a long one, here we go...
It's not sewing unless you use the seam ripper
The almighty seam ripper is a tool I reach for constantly. Sad, but true. So, get yourself an affordable one that you love. You'll be using is a lot.
Let's go shopping because you're going to need a sewing machine.
There are so many options to choose from when searching for a sewing machine. Some of my friends bought the $99 Singer on a Black Friday deal. You can find used ones on sites like OfferUp. I wouldn't go that route unless you have experience or a friend/ family member who can check the machine out for you. Big box stores have them as well as Amazon and other online stores.
I prefer Brother machines. I've had lots of luck with the ones I've purchased and you get a lot of bang for your buck. Most have automatic threaders, speed control, drop in bobbin and thread cutters. They cost a tad over the black Friday deal machines, but you get a few more bells and whistles.
I have a serger I use for finishing my seams and sewing knit fabrics.
You do not need this. If you find that you love sewing, then this could be a future purchase option. The zigzag stitch on any sewing machine does the same work and your machine probably has a that stitch.
These are some of the tools you'll want to invest in. Some items are fun extras while others are a necessity.
Clockwise from the top:
1. Pin cushion. I made mine by cutting a piece of fabric and closing the open end with a rubber band. I filled it with flaxseed and it's worked for years. You can buy a classic tomato at your local craft store too.
2. Pencil, chalk marker, and air soluble pen. You need something to write with on paper and draw patterns with. I prefer a pencil so I can erase marks easily. You also need something to write on fabric with. Air soluble pens are nice to have, the ink disappears after awhile. Chalk markers are one of my faves though. Always reliable, they don't dry out and a little water washes the markings away. Win-win!
3. Rotary cutter. These fall into the "nice to have" category. You won't get a better straight cut line than with a rotary cutter. It's a pizza cutter for fabric. You do not need one of these, but they make life wonderful. :)
4. Clear ruler. This is another "nice to have" item. I'm not a quilter, but I use my clear ruler for everything. It's wide, long, and has grid lines. Great for making square or rectangle things. Think skirts, bags, wallet, scarves, pillows, curtains, kids pants, etc. You can get one at the craft store, or in the office section at big box stores.
5. Thread. Oh look at all the pretty colors! So many to choose from. Is there really a difference? Yes. You can sew most things with polyester thread. Cotton thread is used mostly for quilting and silk thread is used for specialty items as well. I mainly use polyester. I purchase larger spools in black and white. I buy all the pretty colors in smaller size spools.
6. Pinking shears. These are old school, seam finishing shears. Think back to when you were a kid and had those fancy scissors that cut your paper with a scallop edge. These do that, but in a zigzag pattern. You can find these at a craft store.
7. Seam gauge. This fancy little ruler isn't a necessity, if you have a clear ruler. Sewists love their seam gauge because it's great for creating a perfect hem. It has a fancy little blue slider that stays in place when you use it for a hem to make measures easy. Sewing joke ;)
8. Bobbins. This is the plastic or metal piece that holds the thread under the needle. Mine are clear plastic, but they come in a few different sizes and some are metal. Your machine comes with at least one or 2. Check your manual for sizing info and to learn how to wind your bobbin. You will use the same thread on top and the bottom.
9. Chopsticks. No, not the song you learned to play on the piano as a kid. This is for turning points and poking out corners. They sell point turners at craft stores, but I love my chopstick. It's red and makes me happy. Do not ever use scissors to poke out a corner, you will cut through the fabric. I know these things, trust me. Get yourself a chopstick.
10. Scissors. Ahh, this is my favorite category. I love all the scissors. You want a pair ONLY for fabric. Mark them, draw on them, tie a ribbon around the handle, attach them to your soul, do whatever you can to protect these beauties. Do not use these on paper for cutting patterns, ever. You'll want to use a separate pair for cutting paper. Paper dulls scissors faster than anything. I also keep small ones to clip threads and make notches. (In the above photo, the pair near #5 is a pair of thread clips) Those are nice for cutting threads. But not a necessity. Again, find all these at the craft store or big box store in the craft section.
11. Pins and clips. Pins are a necessity for keeping fabric pieces pinned together. There are multiple types of pins as well. Match your pins with your fabric. I also use clips. You can use cute little ones pictured above or binder clips. They all do the job. These bad boys are great for holding slippery fabric such as minky or multiple layers that pins can't poke through.
These are other items you'll need as well. Hey, sewing magical things is fun, and having all the gadgets and gismos makes things easier and run more smoothly. #sorrynotsorry
You'll need an iron, ironing board and spray bottle of water. I like using a separate spray bottle when I iron. The spray nozzle on the iron is small and doesn't spray as much water as I need.
Needles for your machine and boy are there a lot of different ones. Match the needle with your fabric and thread.
Pattern weights do just what the name implies. I use large washers from the hardware store. And, my phone, scissors, the tape dispenser, a bowl, anything I can find really. Use what you have.
And don't forget the bestest part of sewing!! The fabric. All the fabric. The glorious, beautiful, fun fabric that brings all the joy to your world. Take me to the fabric store and I can spend hours looking through everything. I'm also like a kid and have to touch everything. Don't take me to a glass shop. Eeeek!! I'd want to touch everything.
Oh and there are so many different types of fabric. Quilting cotton is more fun with all the novelty prints. The baking, flamingo and trailer fabric above are quilting fabrics. They make cute bags, pillows, and headscarves but aren't great for garments. They are usually 100% cotton and have zero stretch. I do make gathered skirts with them though. Woohoo!!
The green and white polka dot is a garment fabric and has stretch. I'll be making a St. Patricks Day shirt with it soon. Stay tuned, it will be a March post.
The black tiny floral fabric is an apparel fabric. That will be my next blog post. Pics have been taken and the garment has been made. Sign up for my newsletter to get notified when it gets posted.
Hi there, I'm Annette and I love eating and sewing. I usually have a cup of coffee or tea with me, but not next to my machine because I'd probably spill it. I am the reason we can't have nice things.