|Sat May 25 @10:00 - 04:00PM|
Cathedral Village Arts Festival
Getting started in sewing can seem easy in some ways, but daunting in others. Depending on what you want to do, you may only need a few small tools you might already have laying around the house. For some bigger projects, your tools might get more specialized, but what do you need to get started? And what do you do with all these things?
Step One – Get a box. Or a bag. It doesn’t have to be very big or fancy, but this will be your “tool kit”. There are some very fancy sewing kits available in stores, but they often come with a scary price tag. Don’t feel pressed to go out and buy anything like that, chances are you’ve got something at home that will work just fine:
Or if you want, your first sewing project could be something useful like a tool roll (Tutorial coming later). Any way that you decide to go, find something to contain your stuff so you won’t be hunting for odds and ends anytime you want to work on a project.
Step Two – What do you put in it? These tools are some pretty common pieces that you can get at your local fabric stores or online. Some of them might seem strange at first, but they will make your sewing a much easier experience. Don’t feel that you have to buy all of these at once, but once you do have them, keeping them in your tool kit will have them readily available when you do need them.
Needles: This is clearly a given, but there are many different types of needles. There are specialized needles for embroidery, darning, sewing, leather work, beading, etc. Don’t fret too much on this, most are labelled pretty clearly as to their purpose and a standard multipack of different sizes will be sufficient to get you started.
Thread: A couple spools of black and white sewing thread are always good to have on hand. While it might be best to match the colour of the thread to the colour of your project, black thread will often work just fine in a pinch on dark fabrics and white thread will have a similar tolerance for light fabrics assuming your stitching is on the inside of the garment. Try to avoid going with cheap or weak threads that will snap or fray too often.
Bobbins: Do you use a sewing machine? Make sure you have sufficient bobbins for your particular machine and store them in a bag or container so they don’t get lost.
Bent Arm Fabric Shears/Scissors: These are scissors with a bend where the blades meet the handle as opposed to straight blade scissors. The reason for this is it allows you to cut out patterns and fabrics on a table much more easily and they will save you from too much strain on your wrist.
Paper scissors: Why have a different pair of scissors for cutting paper? Paper dulls the blades of your fabric scissors very quickly; having a cheap pair to cut paper or trims will prolong the life of your fabric shears. Taking care of your tools is crucial if you don’t want to have to replace them all the time.
Stitch/Seam Ripper: These are little hand held points with a hooked, slightly bladed end. You will use these for removing stitches, mistakes or basting. They can also be used to rip open button holes after the edges are stitched. Be careful to keep the cap because they can be sharp and pointy.
Needle Threaders: These often come with a pack of needles and feature a tiny bit of wire at the end that you push through the eye of a needle and use to draw a thread through.
Chalk/Tailor Pencil: Chalk or a tailor’s pencil is useful when you have to draw on your project, making temporary marks that you want to be able to brush or wash away once the project is finished.
Thread Wax: This is a product found in most fabric shops that aids in hand stitching. Running your thread over the wax cake will help make it run through the fabric more smoothly and help fight tangles in your work.
Tape Measure: A tape measure is a cloth or vinyl tape that may or may not come on a retracting spool. This is used to take measurements for clothing and projects.
Ruler: Also used to take measurements like a tape measure, but better for flat surfaces and markings. Can also be used when drafting lines in a pattern.
Pins: Used for pinning project pieces together and they come in various shapes and styles. The most common ones used for garbing are the straight pins with colourful round heads.
Pin Cushion: Used for storing the pins, needles, etc.
Awl: A metal spike, usually with a plastic or wooden handle, used to poke holes in fabrics for making lacing holes or setting grommets.
Almost all of these items should be available in local fabric stores, or online. You don’t have to buy the most expensive pieces either, just make sure that you know what you’re buying. I’ve found that while the dollar stores are useful for some pieces like paper scissors, tape measures and chalk, they aren’t the best sources for things like pins, shears and cutters.