Last week I re started my #TuesdayTips post and we talked about Sewing Machines. This week I've basically emptied out my Sewing Box and will show you what is inside. Everything you need to get started! (plus some other random bits and bobs I have in there!)
First you need a good pair of fabric Scissors. And by good, I don't mean that they have to be expensive, just something that cuts fabric well and that you can get a good grip of. It doesn't matter whether you have "fabric scissors" or "fabric shears". (The difference being that shears usually have a blade length of 6" upwards - where as scissors can be any size) The weight of the Scissors also needs to be factored in as well. This may sound crazy, but if you've got little hands, you don't want a great heavy pair of scissors. Because your hands will get tired! Trust me!
Always handy! It doesn't matter if it's in cm or inches or even if you got it out of a Christmas cracker! You will need one even if it's just to drape around your neck so you look the part!
Pins can be a bit of a minefield. Mainly because they come in so many pretty designs now! Just a standard box of silver flat head pins will be good if you're a beginner. The longer the better preferably because they're easier to use if they're longer. You can also get "pearl" head pins. (There's a few sticking out of my pin cushion in the photo) These are easier to grab hold of than the standard plain silver pins.
This isn't a necessity because I didn't use one for years. Until my sister bought me this cute Cupcake Pin cushion one Christmas and it changed my life! I used to spend ages picking pins up off the floor or chasing them across the table for them to disappear down a crack in it. Pin Cushions are so much easier for jabbing your pins into and getting them out much easier when you need them.
Another game changer! You can get all kinds of washable pens / pencils and water based markers nowadays, but I like good old fashioned tailors chalk. If you don't know what it is, it's a lump of chalk (usually in the shape of a triangle) that you used to draw on your fabric to mark on notches, grain lines etc. It either brushes off or washes off. You can get it in several different colours. It tends to always be the same size but it can differ on density. I prefer a more crumbly chalk because it draws a better line. (hence why the chalk in my photograph has a chunk missing - it crumbled away!)
Completely different to fabric scissors because they are much smaller and have longer, more pointy blades, This are a must for cutting loose threads and unpicking stitches that have gone wrong. Plus they come in all sorts of fab designs - mine are gold storks!
YOU WILL NEED ONE OF THESE! It will save you so much time and energy. I always joke that it talks 20 seconds to sew something and 20 minutes to unpick it. Unfortunately this is true! We all hate unpicking! But this little gadget (actually known as a "seam ripper") unpicks your bad stitches and rips the treads down the seam in an instant. This cost pennies and really are a must!
Thread choice is important! Thread can be cotton, nylon, polyester...the list goes on! It can be mixed with things (cotton + polyester) , it can snap easily, it can become brittle if it's an old bobbin, It can fray and then knot and not sew properly. So a good thread to begin sewing with is a must. "Drima" and "Guttermann" are well known, good brands! They can be a little bit pricey. So if you're on a budget, a good "polyester" thread is the way forward. This is what I use most of the time. It doesn't snap as often as cotton and still sews the same. Plus it doesn't cost the earth and you can get decent sized bobbins of it.
Probably a random thing to talk about bit something that does matter! You will need a few spare, empty bobbins in your sewing kit. For those times when you need to use a different colour thread and your other bobbins are all full. It didn't used to matter which bobbins you used in which machine (as long as they were metal or plastic (depending on your machine!) It didn't matter which brand they were and you could bulk buy them cheap. Well not anymore! Certain machines do need to have branded bobbins. I have a Singer machine and it doesn't like cheap plastic bobbins. No, it likes expensive Singer bobbins! You can bulk buy them in packs and they will last you forever, but just be aware that your machine may require a certain brand of bobbin.
Those are the main items covered (except for things like fabric and your machine)
A few other bits and bobs that I have in my Sewing Kit are: Tweezers - These are mainly for my Overlocker (another machine I have that I will talk about in a few weeks!) but they are handy for your Sewing machine if you get a piece of thread trapped inside your machine or you need something steady to help thread a needle.
PaintBrush: Really handy for giving your machine (particularly around the bottom bobbin) a clean every now and again. Different fabrics give off different amounts of fibres / lint and underneath your machine can get clogged up with these fibres. Fleece is a nightmare for shedding fibres so it's good to give your machine a dust from time to time, and a small paint brush is good for doing this.
Hand Sewing Needles: You never know when you might need to hand sew and sometimes it's easier than machine sewing, especially if it's a tricky area that you cant get under your machine easily. I also find it's easier to hand stitch some things (pompoms, lace, trims) into place before I machine sew them.
Safety Pins: I mainly used these for hooking onto my elastic or ribbon and threading through fabric channels if I'm making something like a waistband or a draw string pouch. You never know when you might need it but they're really handy for when you do.
Sorry if I went on a bit but I think I've covered the basics. There are all sorts of other bits and bobs that come in handy that I will talk about in future posts. But there you have it....A beginners Sewing Kit!