Often times I hear women say that they would love to learn how to sew but they don’t know where to start. The amount of products and resources available is so vast that instead of sparkling their initial interest it makes them feel overwhelmed and discouraged.
Of course cost must be factored in. No one really wants to spend a hefty amount of money into starting a hobby only to realize soon after that she has absolutely NO interest in!
So in an effort to dispel any myths you may have encountered during your research I have conducted a list of the items that I consider essential to start sewing. The “buy the best quality that you can afford” rule applies in sewing too. Good quality tools will help you have a better overall experience. But that doesn’t mean that you have to spend a fortune.
Each project has unique features and every fabric must be treated a certain way. The best way to prevent frustration is to buy needles of different sizes. Both for hand and machine stitching. This way you will most likely have the correct size for your project so you can skip the extra trip to the shop.
For those of you who might need a visual. I totally destroyed this skirt because I used a needle too thick for my fabric. I was sure that I had the changed the needle. Turns out my memory needs updating! And yes this skirt is beyond wearable.
Same goes for your thread. It is imperative you buy the best thread that you can find. Thread is what makes pieces of fabric a garment. Low quality thread can snap when stretched (and embarrass you in the worst way possible) or wear way faster that your fabric. In both cases you will have to re-stitch your garment partially or whole. Which is no fun. Ask me how I know!
Your fabric scissors should be used only for fabric to help them remain sharp for longer. Nothing like cutting through multiple layers of fabric with dull scissors.
There is a wide variety of pins as of late: Long, short, with glass heads etc. A pack of plain old fashioned pins will get the job done. Later on in your sewing career you can pick the ones you believe fit you best. Flat headed ones for me. But I always, always have plain ones nearby.
Tailors chalk & fabric markers
And yes I suggest you buy both. Chalk is my preferred method of marking because ut is cheap, accurate, erasable and comes in a variety of colors. Choose one light and one dark so your markings will be visible for all shades of fabrics. Fabric markers must be used with caution. Always test the ink in a piece of scrap fabric to ensure that it won’t damage it. I use washable markers from craft stores.
“Measure twice, cut once” Couldn’t be more true! Measuring tapes come in many forms and sizes. I suggest buying one that is at least 80” long. The ones from IKEA is the one I reach for the most since it has accurate measurements for both systems.
And last but definitely not least the sewing machine.
Although you CAN sew clothes from woven fabrics by hand I have never met someone who does myself included. Choosing a sewing machine is a whole chapter by itself. To sum things up choose a machine within your budget that can do a straight, a zigzag stitch and a buttonhole. These three functions are fundamental.
So there you have it. A list of the must have tools to get you started in creating your own handmade wardrobe.