Recently a friend of mine told me that she had bought herself a sewing machine. I was thrilled as sewing can be quite a lonely hobby and sometimes when I bore my friends to tears about my latest sewing project or what’s on my to do list, I can actually see their eyes roll! So it was great to hear that I may now have someone to discuss fabric and patterns with. I was having a look in my sewing patterns for any that will be good to get started with and I noticed I have acquired a lot of
crap sewing paraphernalia over the years. Some bits are essential, some I wonder where, when and how the heck did I get it. It can be a bit overwhelming not to mention expensive. So I have put together a list of the items I use that you may already have lay about the house that can come in very handy.
But…before I get to the list of unconventional there is obviously a few essentials that are needed.
- Good quality scissors. If you think £30ish is expensive for scissors, its an investment that is worthwhile as soon as you start to move onto fabrics other than cotton. I have struggling with rubbish scissors too many times and found it frustrating. When I got a big paid of Fiskars, it was so much easier.
- Seam ripper. I literally live with one in my pockets when I’m sewing. I even find them when I’m not sewing in dressing gowns and other random places.
- Good tape measure. Not necessarily expensive but needs to be accurate (not one that stretches from a Christmas cracker!) Otherwise the size of pattern you cut out will be off to what you need.
- Pins! Not the rubbish ones that I learnt with that had virtually no heads but ones with little glass balls on are ideal.
Ok not the random items from around the house.
- Greaseproof paper. Fab to use as a tracing paper if you are nervous about cutting into a pattern whilst learning about fit etc. Also good for pattern hacking. Just remember that you need to use a permanent marker as normal felt tip will rub off.
- Air blower. Fantastic product for clearing out fabric dust (essential for overlocker) Normally designed for clearing your biscuit crumbs from out of keyboards with compressed air.
- Masking tape. If you have millions of fabric pieces and the right and wrong side of the fabric is tricky to tell apart or the ties and the facings are really difficult to distinguish from each other, having masking tape to label the pieces is great for helping you keep organised and stop you from getting confused. Just label the tape with all details and pop it on the wrong side. The low adhesion of the tape means it comes away from the fabric easily.
- Soap for marking your fabric. Ideally plain as you don’t want to run the risk of coloured soap leaving stains on your fabric. It’s fantastic as it washes out easily and it can easily be sharpened with a kitchen knife. There is a line on the black fabric above although I think my flash is too bright to show it up properly.
- Pritt stick / Glue stick – Okay not everyone will agree with this but applied lightly, I find it works great to temporarily bond fabric for applique etc but I wouldn’t stick it where you are going to sew along as it may gum your needle.
- Biro – again not everyone will use this but I find it good especially for cotton/woven fabric and it can give accurate pattern marking. Be wary though as it may not wash out so no marks inside the pattern piece.
- Calendar stickers. I’ve had fabrics that have frayed like crazy and the notches have frayed away through handling the fabric. These tiny stickers are a great way of eliminating that risk. Two stickers for the back notches, one for the front, mark and the like. They are also a great way of distinguishing right and wrong side of fabric similar to using masking tape.
- And my last one is one that many sewers use – Washer pattern weights. I love that I can use my glittery nail varnishes to brighten them up too. Get bored, just paint over them for a fresh new look.
I’m sure there’s a million other top tips for kit from around the house, I wonder what I’ll use next?