I have had several friends ask me what makes the perfect sewing kit and how much will it cost them? My response was – How long is a piece of string? There is no easy answer to this or a quick fix. That does not mean to say that you cannot have one at low cost.
Supermarkets and discount stores always sell some basic sewing accessories; however, you get what you pay for. Aldi and Lidl do crafty sets twice a year and can offer some good items, including 100% cotton fat quarters.
What is vital in a basic sewing kit, for those just starting out – in my opinion, others may vary – items, which are indispensable: needles, quick unpick (seam ripper), scissors, thread, pins, pincushion, thimble, a marking tool and a tape measure.
Let us talk needles.
What do you look for when purchasing needles? First, when looking at packets of needles, do they look like they can easily bend or rust? If the answer to that is yes then they are not a good long-term purchase. I would recommend you start with a multi-pack of assorted needles, as this will give you different size needles for different projects.
These are not a must would be of benefit. They come in plastic, china or metal. They save your fingers from those horrid needle punctures. You wear them on your index or middle fingers. Continuously pushing your needle through fabric, when sewing over time can cause the eye of the needle to make your fingers very sore.
Used for threading the cotton through the eye of the needle, not a must but would be of benefit. To use, you push the wire through the eye of the needle and put the thread through the wire, then pull the wire back out the eye of the needle.
Quickly over a quick unpick or seam ripper.
I discussed the usage of this in February’s blog: The Cheap Procrastinator – All the small things you can do; Shirtless.
Taking the snip at Scissors.
In the kit, you will need at least four pairs of scissors. One for small threads, one for cutting corners off fabric, one for cutting fabric and one for cutting paper.
I would recommend getting the best scissors you can for your money. However, if you are still new to sewing and you are still in doubt as whether it is for you or not then – you can purchase scissors from as little as £1 – and online you can purchase a good pair of fabric scissors for under £10.
These small pink curved scissors I purchased from Primark for £1 and I use them for cutting thread.
These larger scissors I purchased from a £1 from the Poundshop. I am testing them on fabric so see how good they fair. I will report on the durability in a future blog.
Shed that thread.
Some of these sewing kits come with thread and that is great for the small emergency mends. As a rule I usually discard them – I do not bin them but save for other projects – I purchase additional threads.
Okay so what thread do you need and what should it be able to do? Because I have a sewing machine, all my thread is suitable for those. Whether or not you have a sewing machine, I would recommend buying machine suitable thread.
Good thread should be strong enough to withstand a good pull without breaking too easily, yet it should break on a tough pull. The reason is if you make an item, the cotton should break along the seams and come apart and save the fabric from splitting instead.
There are varies brands and colours to choose from but I would recommend you have the following colours in your basic kit: White, Black, Beige, Cream and at least 3 shades of Grey. Grey blends with most colour fabric and therefore is a very versatile colour.
Mind that Pin.
Pins come in various lengths depending on their usage.
As a rule for either a basic kit I would suggest the beaded – glass or plastic – pins so if you drop them you can find them.
Do not sit on the Pincushion.
Some sewing kits have these in already but if yours does not they are simple and fun to make. We will be making a quilted one in next month’s blog.
Are you measuring up?
Depending on what you want to make will depend on what you use to measure with. I quilt so a quilting ruler is obligatory. These vary in price and a simple one can be inexpensive online. I recently purchased a set from Aldi for £12.99. However, a good tape measure and a small cheap ruler with work equally as well for a start.
Making your Mark.
You can use a variety of items from tailors’ pencils to fabric pens. However, my best purchase was a set of small tailors chalk in four colours. I have had these years so original cost or purchased location is not available.
Box it all up.
You do not need to opt for a fancy sewing box. They are great for the part time sewer but as your sewing kit expands so will your storage needs. So a simple plastic box from the Poundshop will do for now. I have been sewing for over twenty years and my sewing kit is in various boxes and a tool chest.
With all this new equipment, I am hoping you are ready to play…
…Next month we will be making a quilted pincushion using the shirt we took apart from last month and other fabric I hope you have been collecting since. If not please start collecting now.