6 Essential Items for your Basic Sewing Kit

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Now its nearly time to sew, here is a quick list of my top 6 essential items to bring with you to your lessons….

1) As a dressmaking tutor I have always suggested that students use the skills they have learnt in my Sewing Machine Skills lesson to make and fill their own pin cushion. However, I love this iconic little tomato pin cushion which some of you might recognise from my lessons! Did you know that the ‘baby tomato’ attached to the pin cushion is, infact, as pin sharpener? It is filled with micro-sized stone beads which, when you insert a pin and twist and pull back and forth will come out sharp. We all know in sewing (and in engineering) that a ‘sharp tool is a safe tool’ and by that I mean that you do incredible damage to fabric if you use blunt pins by breaking the woven threads or damaging the knitted construction of the fabric if jersey is used. So this little classic is useful as well as attactive addition to your sewing kit!

2) Now, folks, this is the surprising part. Who would have thought that something which is more often found in your home First Aid Cabinet would be one of my six essential items in your basic sewing kit? Yes! I introduce the humble safety pin….!!! But to us dressmakers it serves as a bodkin (like a needle) on which we attach string or elastic and work this systematically through a casing to create an elasticated waisted skirt or a draw string bag

3) A flexible tape measure. A ruler will not do! Preferably 150cm long!!

4) Glass headed pins and flat headed pins. As a dressmaker, I find it is useful to have some of each kinds of pins. The flat-headed steel pins are useful for distributing gathers across the seam allowance of fabric, and the round glass-headed pins are fun (colourful) and easy for complete beginners to use.

5) Dressmakers scissors depending on whether you are left or right-handed (picture, below). Here are some left-handed fabric scissors. that you can order, if you are left-handed. Generally, I find that the more expensive the scissors the better they are and there are much, much more expensive scissors than these ones, but I find them to be perfect for beginners. If you are not able to bring a pair along to your lessons, I have an assortment of scissors (included left-handed versions) for you to use in-class. But remember, to only cut fabric with these scissors or you will damage the precision sharp cutting edges.

6) You will be working from commercial paper patterns in my classes so you will need to make sure you have, besides some decent fabric scissors, some precision craft or paper scissors like these ones Precision craft scissors . As mentioned above, fabric scissors should never be used to cut paper so keep a pair handy just for that job!