Guest Author - Tamara Bostwick
Here are a few more basic sewing tools that are essential to being able to sew efficiently and effectively.
|An iron is integral to the process of sewing because not only do you need to press wrinkles out of fabric before you cut it, but you also need to press seams as you sew them and press shape into your projects as you construct them.|
The majority of irons sold today have a safety feature which shuts the iron off automatically if it is not moved within a certain amount of time. I understand the necessity of this feature, but for sewing, it is a pain because the iron usually shuts off about a minute before you want to use it again and it has gone cold so you are left tapping your fingers waiting for it to heat again.
The iron shown to the left is a high-end model (it is actually the official iron of Project Runway!) made by Rowenta. This iron has a separate steam chamber which creates high pressure steam for quicker and more efficient pressing. It was one of the only models that I could find without that dratted auto-shutoff feature. I have used many irons over the years and this is truly the best iron that I have ever used. I also like that that you can't knock it over like most irons. Not that *I* ever do that.
|Along with the iron, you need a surface to use it on, namely, an ironing board. Ironing boards are basically padded platforms on top of collapsible legs so that they can be easily stored. They are available in a variety of styles: standard (as seen here), table-top (small boards for use on a table top), over-the-door, and wide top boards. The ironing board shown here has an added platform to hold the iron which is a very nice feature to have. |
Select one based on the kind of space you have to use it in. Do stay away from the bottom dollar ironing boards because they tend to become difficult to open and close after a short time and who needs that aggravation on top of having to iron, right?
|Another essential sewing tool is the tape measure which is a narrow, flexible tape with measurements marked on it. They are typically 60 inches/5 meters long and are marked with inches on one side and centimeters on the other. The flexibility of the tape measure makes it possible to measure curves (such as on patterns) and mold around body parts. |
There are flat tapes as shown here or retractible models. Tape measures are inexpensive, but you do want to invest in fiberglass, if you can, because they tend to stretch the least. Fabric tape measures can stretch over time, leading to small inaccuracies in measurements. They also come in longer lengths such as 96" and 120" which can come in handy if you are working on draperies or other projects requiring long pieces of material.
I hope you have enjoyed this introduction to some of the most basic sewing tools. I will have addiitional installments discussing more sewing tools that have specific applications such as in garment construction and sewing notions and accessories that can help organize your sewing area.