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Essential Sewing Tools and Notions

Guest Author - Tamara Bostwick

There are a number of sewing tools and sewing notions that are essential to have in your sewing inventory in addition to a sewing machine. Some items are more necessary while others just make sewing a bit easier (and quicker). In addition to the basic sewing tools, there are also specialty sewing supplies that are used for specific types of sewing such as quilting or clothing construction.

Gingher ScissorsFirst and foremost, you will need a pair of scissors for cutting fabric. Do yourself a favor and invest in a good pair of scissors. It will save you time and frustration in the long run. My particular favorite pair of sewing shears are made by Gingher and feel lovely in your hand. They also make left-handed shears as well.

TIP: To reduce wear and tear on your fabric scissors, be sure to also keep a pair of basic craft scissors on hand as well to use for cutting paper and other non-fabric items. If you live with other people who don't understand the value of sewing scissors, and you don't happen to have a safe for locking up your good scissors, HIDE THEM. Your lower quality craft scissors can also serve as decoy scissors. Display them prominently on top of your sewing table or drawer so that they can be easily found FIRST.

Seam RipperThe next important item to have in your sewing basket (or drawer) is the humble (and sometimes hated) seam ripper.

I remember my 7th grade home economics teacher had a banner in her sewing room that said "As ye sew, so shall ye rip" which I have always thought was a clever play on words, even as I have been dismayed to discover just how often I would be ripping over the years. Seam rippers vary slightly in size and style, but typically have a sharp point that leads to a bladed section. To rip out a seam, you simply (hah) insert the point under the stitch and slide the ripper forward so that the thread is cut on the blade (this action is sometimes accompanied by tears of bitter frustration).

TIP: Seam rippers should only be operated when in possession of all of your faculties (i.e. sober) and in a calm state (rage ripping is a bad, bad idea (or so I have heard *cough*)).

Silk pinsOn a happier note, let's talk about pins and needles. Pins are not created equal. You want them to be long and sharp. Cheaper pins can be dull and snag your fabrics and tend to rust easily. For my everyday sewing, I prefer pins that have a flat, petal shaped head because they lay flatter against the fabric than the round headed pins and they are easier to see. And, for working with fine fabric, I definitely recommend investing in silk pins. They are thinner and sharper than regular pins so they don't snag the fabric.

TIP: I keep my silk pins in a container separate from the general population that lives in the pincushion next to my sewing machine. This not only makes them easier to find when I need them, but keeps them sharp because they are used less frequently.

While you can store your pins in a box, this is not always the most convenient way to access them. Pincushions are small, stuffed shapes that are firm enough to keep pins upright and ready to be grabbed. When I think of a pincushion, the tomato is what pops in my head first, but there are many other shapes of pincushions out there. In fact, they are very easy to make and if you are interested in making one for yourself or as a gift, I have an extensive list of free pincushion patterns for you.

Needles are used for hand sewing and for most sewing, any basic hand sewing needle assortment will serve you well. While there are many types of sewing needles, sharps are the most commonly used hand sewing needle type. They are medium length and are appropriate to use on most fabrics.

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Content copyright © 2015 by Tamara Bostwick. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Tamara Bostwick. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Cheryl Ellex for details.


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