Some Sewing Tools are Essential
There are some things that you just have to have when you first begin your sewing journey. Once you have your machine all ready and waiting and a project in mind what do you actually need?
Scissors– A good sharp pair of shears will make cutting out all your pattern pieces a smooth process. At first I used the pair of scissors that came with my sewing kit. I didn’t know much about sewing and I was cutting cheap fabric and old clothing anyway. But once I upgraded to a new pair of scissors I noticed the difference. Soon I could tell when my scissors needed replacing , they weren’t cutting smooth straight lines in multiple layers of fabric, so they had to go!
I wouldn’t advise you to go out and purchase a pair of Gingher’s for your first project,But something reasonably priced that does the job. And Remember to reserve your scissors for cutting fabric only !
Pattern or Tracing Paper – This will become something you use all the time when you are sewing. If you buy a sewing pattern and are making it for the first time Its a good idea to trace the size you think you are instead of cutting into the original pattern, once you do this there is not going back. I like to preserve the pattern so I can go back and trace a different size or grade between sizes if I need to.
I used some sew-able tracing paper that I found on amazon for a few years but it was a bit pricey and it didn’t last me as long as I would have liked. Although it’s worth it since it can be sewn and act as your muslin once you trace the pattern At the moment I am using a large roll of tracing paper that I bought from A.C Moore. It has lasted me quite awhile between me tracing existed patterns and drafting my own. If you are really on a budget newspaper works just fine for really simple patterns. I have used it when I ran out of tracing paper.
Pins or Pattern Weights – You will need to hold those pattern pieces on the fabric while cutting them out and also hold them together while sewing. Some like to use pattern weights for cutting fabrics and some like to use pins. I happen to be team pins. It’s just the simplest way for me since I have been using them for so long, and I figured if it works for me I won’t spend any money buying, or time making pattern weights. Some delicate fabrics can actually be damaged by pins . so If you do not have fine pins .in this case you can use anything you have on hand to weigh down your pattern or even a temporary fabric spay adhesive. I have small metal pins and larger ones with plastic heads, However I have had trouble with the plastic heads melting when ironing so just be aware of that possible mishap. Glass head pins are suitable to iron over and a safe choice. they are still on my list!
Needles and Thread – Your sewing machine should come with the various size needles you need to get started and sew fabrics of different weights. It is also good to have some hand sewing needles for certain finishing touches. Many times it is better to sew hems by hand using an invisible stitch such as a blind hem stitch or catch stitch. Hand sewing techniques are very valuable and will help you give your garments a professional finish ( more on that later) .
Thread of different types are used for different purposes, For instance, I have heavy duty thread, for heavy weight materials, denim thread,serger thread, elastic thread (for shirring) and top stitching thread. You will develop a collection of many colors and types of thread as you move ahead .
Iron– This is a sewing essential that I neglected to use for too long .Nothing helps more than pressing seams, hems,pleats, collars,and cuffs when sewing. It is also a great to iron your fabric before cutting out your pattern pieces. Once you are done sewing a good ironing will make your garments look clean, professional and ready to wear.
Tailors chalk or washable marking pen – A must for transferring markings from your pattern to your pattern pieces. I cannot stress how necessary it is to have markings like darts marked on your pattern pieces. As a beginner you may find it helpful to mark your stitching lines so that it is easy to stay on track and keep and even seam allowance. I found it was so crucial to mark the top stitching lines on the front fly .
Measuring Tape – Gotta have it for recording your measurements.
Sewing Machine Attachments – There are many attachment that you can add to your machine to help you with different functions. Most sewing machines come with a few basic ones .
Zipper Foot– For attaching zippers
Narrow Hem Foot– For creating a narrow hem on lightweight and medium weight fabrics
Blind Stitch Foot– For creating an invisible hem.
Overcasting Foot – For finishing exposed edges of fabric to prevent fraying. This is a must when using a fabric like chiffon. I made the mistake of not knowing this and ended up with a frayed mess!
Buttonhole Foot -For creating buttonholes.
I was lucky to get a machine that came with all of these attachments and a couple more I have yet to use.
Some Tools are Recommended
I would highly recommend some tools but I don’t think they are necessary for everyone
Tailors Ham – For pressing rounded seams like princess seams and collars.
Walking Foot– For sewing knit fabrics. It makes the fabric feed smoothly and not stretch out of shape. I would highly recommend this foot if you do not plan on buying an over locker.
Edgestitch Foot– used to get a nice straight line of stitching.
Invisible Zipper Foot– For inserting an invisible zipper.I have found a regular zipper foot could be used to do this as well.
These are a few tools on my list that I think would make my sewing life easier.
Bias Tape Maker-To make your own bias tape from any fabric
Flat Fell Foot– Makes it easier to create flat felled seams.
Bias Binding Foot– To attach bias binding easily.
I hope you found this post helpful to get you started without spending all your money on tools you may not end up using.