Let’s continue, shall we?
Measuring tape is a very useful tool used for measuring… well, anything. You can get a retractable version that is always neat and tidy or opt for the loose version that you can hang around your neck.
A ruler is great to have around. A metal ruler with a cork bottom stays put, while quilting rulers are wider, clear and made for precision.
A sewing gauge is a mini ruler. It has a sliding bar that helps your mark things like buttonholes, hems or pleats.
At some point you’ll need to transfer or make a mark on your fabric, but you’ll want something that disappears when your finished. Tailor’s chalk and marking pencils can be rubbed away while some marking pens can be washed out or erased.
A tailors awl is a pointy tool that you can use to punch holes into your fabric for things like snaps or grommets.
But that’s not all! There are a few things that you’re going to need if you want to sew with a machine…
One of the keys to a smooth sewing project is choosing the right sewing machine needle for your project. As with hand sewing needles, machine needles come in different thicknesses and points each suitable for a different kind of fabric or thread. The shank of the needle will be flat on one side. Check your machine manual to see how to insert your needle.
The size of sewing machine needles can seem a little bit weird. Basically there are two numbers; one American size and one European (example 14/90… US/EU). The needles get finer as the size number gets smaller. So a 10/70 would be finer than a 14/90. There are a whole bunch of different kinds of sewing machine needles, but we’ll get into that later.
A small screw driver set is super handy when it comes to sewing machine maintenance and cleaning. Stay tuned for a future post on cleaning and maintaining your sewing machine.
Bobbins are special spools that sit inside your sewing machine. Your machine will come with a few bobbins, but we recommend picking up more. Most sewing machines will wind the bobbin for you with a few adjustments. It’s a good idea to wind a couple bobbins in the colour you’re using so you don’t have to un-thread your machine to wind a bobbin in the middle of your project. Bobbins come in a standard sizes and can be plastic or metal. Check your manual to see which kind of bobbin is compatible with your machine.
An iron and ironing board are essential for making sure that your sewing project looks sharp. You’ll press before you sew and throughout the sewing process to fuse interfacing, press seams or pleats. You might be tempted to skip pressing, but it can make fabrics easier to handle and your finished product will look better for it.
If you know anyone who is thinking of learning to sew, a basic sewing kit makes a great gift!
Next week we’ll help you pick out a project!