If you are just beginning to sew, you may be unfamiliar with all the different tools that people tend to use when they are engaged in the hobby. While there are many different types of equipment available to the sewing enthusiast, these 10 pieces are certainly the most essential. So, whether you are an amateur or a seasoned professional, the following are the most needed tools in any sewing kit:
1. Pincushions Full of Pins
A pincushion is nothing more than a receptacle in which you can stick your pins and needles while you are in the midst of a project. Many times, it is shaped like a tomato, with a tiny strawberry dangling from the top. However, pin cushions can come in any shape, size, or color.
The classic variety is filled with a combination of wool roving, which contains lanolin that prevents the rusting of inserted pins, and saw dust and/or crushed walnut shells. The strawberry, if available, contains fine sand. You can insert pins and needles into that piece and the abrasiveness works to scrub away dirt and debris, keeping them sharp as possible.
2. Sewing Shears
Designed ergonomically to prevent hand fatigue, sewing shears also ensure that you cut your fabric with accuracy and precision. You just must remember to use them on fabric only, because any other material will dull the blades. This may not seem to be an issue, but continued misuse can cause uneven cutting and shredding once they are used again on fabric.
It is important to spend a bit of extra money to ensure you have a great pair of sewing shears and to keep them hidden from other family members that may misuse them accidentally. Also, be sure to oil your shears and clean your blades after every few uses. This will maximize their life.
3. Needle Threaders
It can be difficult to thread needles over the course of a large project, whether you have eyesight issues or are just simply tired. With a needle threading device, this becomes much easier.
You can use the threader’s wire to pass simply through the needle’s eye. It should open and a large opening for the thread is created, and then you pull the wire and the thread straight through. As long as the needle has an eye large enough for the thread you are using, you shouldn’t have an issue, however, if the eye is too small, you will be forcing the wire and it could break.
4. Tape Measures
You most definitely need a tape measure, or multiple tape measures, in order to basically sew properly. The retractable types also come in handy in a pinch, so you may consider investing in one of those as well.
Try getting the standard tape measure with metric units on one side, such as centimeters and millimeters, and American units on the other side, particularly inches, feet, and yards. They can be used to take body measurements, but they are more commonly used for more everyday tasks such as measuring fabric in accordance with patterns.
Though it is not necessary, a bodkin can come in handy. It is simply a tool that is used to thread elastics, drawstrings, and other items that are encased or enclosed. They tend to appear to be oversized needles and come in multiple sizes and shapes to be used with different fabrics.
To use, the particular item that is being pulled through a casing is threaded through the needle portion and pulled straight through. If the casing is quite tight, a tweezer-like device is instead used to pull the item through. Both are still considered bodkins, though designed differently.
6. Seam Rippers
None of us is perfect, and seam rippers exist to easily remove stitches that are not needed or placed by mistake. They contain a fine tip on one side that allows you to pull out one thread at a time, if needed, and a round tip on the opposite side that rips and removes full seams while preserving the fabric.
7. Tools for Pressing
While the simplest pressing tool is, of course, an iron, there is actually a plethora of items used to keep fabrics crisp and wrinkle-free. They are as follows:
- Ironing Boards – Better than just ironing on your table, this board can be placed anywhere and it is thinner and much more accessible.
- Press Cloths – This keeps your material from scorching when you accidentlly apply excess heat. There are also see-through press cloths, and press cloths of different weights to coordinate with different fabrics.
- Sleeve Rolls – These cylindrical items allow you to press seams and curves without causing other parts of your item to crease.
8. Seam Guides
A seam guide is printed on the throat plate of most sewing machine models. They are placed there to aid you in sewing consistent seams. Along with the machine’s foot, you should be able to sew accurate seams, regardless of how narrow the allowance may be. You can also purchase an attachable guide, usually adjustable, that is raised and prevents you from straying past it mistakenly. However, these work much better with straight seams than with curved seams.
9. Hand Sewing Needles
Hand sewing needles are needed in certain situations when a machine is not only unnecessary, but not really helpful, either. They are great for small jobs and minor repairs.
With a selection of points and an assortment of sizes, hand sewing needles are quite varied. Most commonly used are “sharps,” or medium-length needles with rounded eyes. They work well on almost any fabric, so they are extremely handy to have. However, you should use heavier needles on difficult or thick fabrics. Just remember, the smaller the number, the larger your needle will actually be.
10. Rotary Cutters
A rotary cutter can cut fabric with precision and speed. However, if you choose to use this tool, you must also get yourself a cutting mat, otherwise you can destroy the surface that you are cutting upon.
Just remember, the rotary cutter is very sharp, and you need to keep the tool capped with its cover when it is not in use. After all, if the tool falls, it can easily knick, which means it will be unable to cut correctly and will need to be replaced. You must also sharpen the blade periodically and refrain from using it on any material besides fabric, not unlike cutting shears.
In conclusion, the best way to get started as an avid seamstress is to provide yourself with the right tools. The items listed above are not the only utensils needed for all jobs, but they are the basic building blocks for a good, thoroughly-stocked sewing basket. And, with the right tools, and great advice, you can begin your new hobby confidently.