Sewing Essentials

This is part of my beginners guide series which I am slowly compiling so watch this space for more additions, and check out the Beginners Guide Category on the right hand side.  This guide is on sewing and a list of sewing essentials (AKA things to buy) before you start.

Sewing Essentials:

  • Needles
  • Thread
  • Scissors

Needles are very cheap and fairly ubiquitous, you may want to invest slightly in the thread as the super cheap stuff will break easily.  As for scissors you need proper sewing scissors which you will only use for cutting fabric because cutting paper with them will blunt them, and is very naughty (mine cost about £10 from my local market).

  • Seam Ripper
  • Chalk or Fabric Pen
  • Tape Measure and Ruler

Seam rippers are not just used to rip seams to but to unpick your stitching if when you go wrong and a lot easier than using scissors.  A tape measure obviously for measuring and very useful for making clothes but rulers come in handy too for measuring fabric for smaller projects on a flat surface.  I advise you to get measuring tools that have both inches and centimetres because modern patterns use cm more but a lot of older stuff still uses inches (seam allowance is often still given as 5/8 of an inch which always seemed a clumsy amount to me).  And chalk is used to make pattern markings onto fabric which then washes out easier you can now get it in pencil form as well as the traditional triangular chalk form and in several colours.  You can also get fabric pens which wash out too.

There you are- all the essentials!

With these things you can do quite a lot but you will of course be limited, especially for larger projects.  The list below is a list of optional essentials (if that’s possible) that will probably be necessary should you wish to complete anything larger than an iPod cover.

Sewing (almost) Essentials:

  • Sewing Machine– I heartily recommend investing in a sewing machine. I despise hand sewing, it is my most hated enemy; it takes frigging ages and never comes out neat enough.  Sewing Machines can be very expensive but all you need is a basic machine that can do a running stitch (that’s a straight line) and zig zag stitch.  Alternatively, wait for your mother to upgrade hers and inherit one that is older than you are- that’s how I got mine anyway.
  • Iron– A lot more important than you’d think!  Iron the fabric before you start, and iron all the seams you sew, and then iron the finish piece at the end.  It makes a big difference to the finish look of the clothing, and is worth investing a little time and money into.

Along the way you’ll pick up more cool stuff that you buy for a specific project such as buttons, elastic, fabric glue etc and find come in hand time after time but they’re not really essentials.  You’ll also need fabric of course but it may not be an essential as you may be sewing a button back on a shirt or mending a ripped seam as your first foray into the sewing world.  Also the type or fabric you’ll need for each project will vary loads so it’s hard to prescribe it.

Hope this helped!