I know, I know, you have already read hundreds of posts about “sewing boxes”, but hey, this wouldn’t be a proper sewing blog without one, right? 🙂 Apart from that, you maybe discover a tool you have never used before and that can help you with your sewing so… should we give it a go?
1. CUT. I hate cutting. That’s it, I’ve said it. It is the worst part by far for me when sewing. I dread it and the ready-to-sew pieces of fabric never (NEVER!) look as good as I would like them to. And if we are talking about rayon or any kind of fine slippery fabric… AGHGHGHGH (this is me screaming). Anyway, best advice ever if you straggle with cutting? Get a rotary cutter. They are easy to handle and you just need to remember to press the “safety” button when you are not using it and check the thickness of the blade (mine is 45mm which works well with cotton, not very thick wool and fine fabrics). Oh! And get a cutting mat 🙂
As well as a rotary, I would go for two more tools. A pair of dressmaking shears for cutting fabric and another one for the little threads and more detailed work. These two are from Fiskars. I don’t have a reason in particular for choosing this brand, but my mum has always had these since I remember, so maybe it runs in the family? Haha. Also, the fact that they are lightweight is a plus for me. Having to handle heavy (but, yes, very beautiful) traditional tailor shears was not a very appealing idea. The last tip? Get a sharpener. This one works with any brand and you will avoid running around your city with a pair on your handbag (feeling already like a murderer) searching for a knife-grinder (at least in London I couldn’t find anyone who did it!).
2. UNPICKER. Ohhhh my good old friend the unpicker. What would our lives be without an unpicker! Glups, don’t want to even think about it. The unpicker or seam ripper does just that, unpick the mistakes we all make when sewing, slicing along a stitch on a garment and allowing us to breath again. What you may not know is what that little ball it comes with is used for… Well, it helps you if you want to unpick a whole row of stitches, rather than only one. This way it is done smoothly and without damaging the fabric.
So if you don’t have one on your sewing box… What are you waiting for woman (or crafty man)? Just run, NOW! Leave everything you are doing and get one ASAP.
3. THREADS. Duh, right? My recommendation here is to get the basic colours first as you will use them more (navy, white, black) and also go for the “sew all thread” polyester type that will almost always do the job. The cotton natural thread is nicer and softer (and more expensive) so I would only choose this if you are using 100% natural fabrics, for quilting or embroidery.
4. PINS, NEEDLES AND MEASURE. Sometime ago I asked on my Instagram account which type of pin you usually use as I think some people are either round-head-pins or flat-head-pins. I love using the round head ones as they are easier to handle and you can unpin a garment much quicker using the little heads to take the pins out. The flat ones are apparently more “dressmaking-serious-professional” pins but I just think you should use the ones you feel more comfortable with.
When choosing needles (and yes, we always have to do some hand sewing at times), the best option is having a whole repertoire. The very thin ones (be careful when threading these as you might get blind 😉 ) are perfect for fine and delicate fabrics. Choose longer and thicker ones for using with heavy garments such as wool or even leather or suede.
Tape measure? I will go for a non-rigid, with both metric and imperial systems and a non-stretch one (this helps the measure to always be accurate as some tapes stretches with time). Another tip? Don’t use the first centimetre to measure as it has this bulky metal thing on and it is not accurate. Start at 2cm.
5. MY SEWING MACHINE SAVIORS. Even though this is only a post of my sewing box very basic tools, I wanted to add these two bits that have made my life easier. Always have another set of needles for your sewing machine with the standard measurements (and maybe another one to use for stretchy fabrics and denim is also a good idea?). I still remember the day that ALL my set of needles, and I repeat, ALL of them broke!
Apart from this, one of my favourite foots ever that yes, it looks pretty scary and too big! is this walking foot. It works wonders with knits and fabrics with a stretch as its movement helps the fabric move as well smoothly. If you don’t know how to attach it to your sewing machine this video can be very helpful.
6. MARKING. When transferring a sewing pattern onto pattern paper (when I buy a physical pattern I always copy my size on paper pattern and then cut. When using a pdf I just cut directly from the printed pages) this white tool called tracing wheel is great. You need to use also carbon copy paper to copy the lines from the physical pattern to the pattern paper. And choose the blunt one, not the serrated type as this one it is used on pattern cutting.
Pens and pencils are also good to make small marks on fabric BUT! be careful as sometimes it does not come off. Try it always first on some scrap fabric. The traditional piece of chalk or even some dry soap (my mum used to do this) is a good idea although for me not very accurate. These two are good for marking hems and similar.
And that is all guys! Hope you have found this interesting and don’t forget to comment down here and also use the hashtag #mysewingbox on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram tagging me (@cocowawacrafts) so that we can all share some essential tools around!
Thanks for reading and see you here next week!