We all know that one thing we love about DIY is how much time can be saved by doing-it-yourself projects rather than having someone else do them for us! The problem with this approach is often organization. We tend to collect so many tools over the years that finding what we need at any given moment becomes an overwhelming task. To help simplify your search, here’s a list of essential sewing essentials that will make sure you always have everything you need on hand where ever you go.
Before we get started on the tools, take a minute to view our guide to getting started sewing. It will help you with some of the terminology and give you a better grasp on the tools you may need.
A Good Iron
Ironing has never been easier thanks to modern technology. Today’s irons come complete with digital temperature controls and automatic shut offs to ensure safety while ironing delicate fabrics like silk. They also come equipped with sensors which automatically adjust heat levels based on material thickness, preventing scorching. Not only does this save energy, but keeps your clothes looking as good as new after repeated use.
With today’s high quality quilting irons, they last longer too – usually lasting up to 20 times more than older models did before them. And because these newer designs feature long handles, they’re perfect for carrying around easily. If you find yourself needing two hands to hold onto an old style iron, try holding it between your legs instead.
Any sewing machine is a valuable tool, but what many novice seamsters don’t realize is the difference between a high end and a low end model. While both are capable of performing virtually any task, the former has significantly higher stitch quality and range of produced fabrics. The differences become even more apparent when comparing motors of similar output. If you are new to sewing, take some time to find what features you need in a beginner sewing machine. This will not only save you frustration down the road but potentially some money upfront.
An Organizer or Peg Board
If you aren’t using a peg board yet, then chances are pretty darn good that if you haven’t already purchased one, you’ll want to buy one soon. These handy organizers offer plenty of space to store anything from small nails to larger scissors. You may even decide to put other miscellaneous screws, nuts, bolts, etc., right inside the organizer itself.
There are several different styles available including ones made out of plastic, metal, wood, canvas, vinyl, bamboo, glass beads, resin, and leather. Some organizers have multiple sections such as drawers underneath flat surfaces, shelves, hooks, pegs and rings. Others are just little cubbies without storage compartments. Whichever type you choose, they’re sure to become valuable organizational allies once you start taking advantage of all the hidden nooks and crannies they provide.
Scissors & Cutters (or Punch)
Having sharp cutting edges is absolutely vital when working with cloth. If your scissors look dull or worn down, replace them immediately. If your cutters don’t measure accurately, get a new set. When choosing either option, remember that the sharper the edge, the better. For cutting straight lines, circular shapes, curves, zigzags, and decorative details, consider investing in precision cutters. Otherwise, opt for standard cutters since they allow for wider cuts and won’t cause unsightly ragged edges.
Punch needles are used primarily for embroidery purposes. However, they can also serve as useful finishing touches to knits, sweaters, and cardigans alike. Make sure you pick up a needle case and thread holder along with whatever size punch you select. This way you’ll be able to reuse those precious threads until you run dry.
For making perfectly uniform borders within seams, pinking shears are ideal. Since regular scissors tend to tear fabric, you might not notice tiny pin holes forming at each corner of your project unless you zoom in real close. With pinking shears, however, you simply slide the blade through the desired width of seam allowance and trim away excess fabric. It doesn’t matter whether you sew horizontally, vertically, or diagonally across your garment — no corners will poke through.
Although these special scissors were originally designed to remove extra stitches from pieced quilts, they work equally well for hemming hems, closing buttonholes, and creating clean folded edges. As with all types of scissors, be careful not to push them down hard enough into the handle, otherwise, you could end up slicing pieces of skin while attempting to clip them.
Embroidery floss isn’t really something that needs explaining. After all, who hasn’t picked up a spool of colorful thread only to realize halfway through stitching that you accidentally grabbed the wrong color? In situations like these, you’d probably throw the entire strand of floss back on the shelf and continue searching for a matching shade. Thankfully, embroidery floss comes packaged in individual strands so you can rest assured knowing exactly which colors you own at any given point in time.
Not only is embroidery floss easy to identify by its unique hue, but it’s extremely durable as well. So unlike ordinary cottons, you shouldn’t have to worry about it fraying or breaking during extended periods of usage.
Hand needles are specifically designed for blind stitching and creating quilt stitches by hand. Instead of having to lift up layers of fabric manually, you can quickly insert one needle directly above another to create strong running stitches together. Although these double ended needles are great for beginners, experienced sewer’s might prefer single pointed versions for intricate detailing. Regardless of which version you prefer, be sure to check that both ends are sharpened prior to purchasing.
While traditional wooden pins are still widely popular among amateurs, safety pins now account for approximately 40% of all pin purchases. Because of their convenience, versatility, and ease of pairing, safety pins are typically favored by professionals and casual hobbyists alike.
Thread snippers are similar to cutter blades in that they function as specialized scissoring devices for removing lengths of thread. Unlike typical pair of scissors though, these nifty gadgets consist of two separate halves joined together by a hinge mechanism. One half contains the blunt tip, whereas the other side features the sharp edge.
In addition to allowing for precise measurements, thread snips are also very convenient for pulling loose knots free from yarn. Plus, they eliminate the risk of splitting hairs due to excessive pressure exerted against them. Lastly, buying a pack of three allows you to alternate sizes depending on the specific situation at hand.
Thimbles are especially helpful for novice crafters since they act as miniature measuring cups. Simply place one finger inside the thimble to gauge the amount of flour needed for bread dough or sugar granules required for cake frosting. Likewise, you can fill water droppers and cotton swabs with various liquids by inserting them into the opening.
On top of being practical, thimbles also add flair to finished products. For example, if you happen to receive a gift box full of handmade buttons, you’re welcome to decorate it according to your preferences by gluing rhinestones or sequins right into the hole. Or maybe you would like to fashion a pair of earrings out of empty thimbles. All you need to do is paint them red, white, and blue to symbolize America’s flag.
Tacking Staple Remover Tool
Tackling stubborn staples requires brute force alone. Fortunately, tacks are manufactured with specially shaped prongs that prevent fingers from getting stuck. Unfortunately, this benefit only lasts so long. Eventually, if left unattended for too long, these prongs inevitably bend and break off completely. As a result, staple removers come in handy whenever you encounter stubborn fasteners in your next project.
Stapling removal tools come in the form of key chains, nail polish bottles, pencil cases, bottle openers, purses/wallets, and novelty glasses. Most importantly, regardless of which tool you purchase, be sure to test drive it beforehand to see how sturdy it actually feels.
Marking patterns and guidelines onto clothing, walls, floors, furniture, artwork, appliances, cabinets, doors, windows, ceilings, and virtually anywhere else on earth makes life so much simpler. Whether you plan to leave permanent markers behind or prefer temporary options, it’s best to invest in a nice selection of pens and markers to accommodate your needs.
Fibrous materials like denim, chiffon, nylon, wool blends, felt, velvet, and tweed are best marked with tailor made ink pads. Silk and synthetic fibers require liquid dyes. Paint works well on cotton and linen, plus chalk dust serves as an excellent choice for marking cardboard and paper. Don’t forget to include specialty marker sets designed for areas of the world outside North America.
When joining heavy fabrics, fusing them together helps achieve cleaner edges. By combining strips of webbing together under warm steam, you can fuse lightweight fabrics like muslin together seamlessly. Afterwards, simply press it firmly against a damp iron to seal the bond permanently. Once fused, lay the resulting product face down to dry thoroughly before turning it over to finish sewing.
Twisted thin cordage known as gimp is commonly sold in rolls ranging from 1 yard to 25 yards. While thinner varieties are suitable for general purpose tasks such as braiding, thicker strings are particularly effective for attaching fringe securely to garments. Gimp can also be fashioned into bows, ties, belts, necklaces, and belts.
While fabric glue is the most popular method of permanently fixing Velcro fasteners to garments, most people simply rely on scraps of double sided tape that they already have lying around. But what if you don’t have any? Fortunately, you can buy Velcro strips in bulk to complete projects quicker and with less fuss. If you’re short on time though, there’s absolutely no need to purchase a pair of scissors since a ready made set is readily available at your local craft store.
While there are many more tools available to the average crafter, these ten items should prove to be extremely useful in your next project. Most importantly, make sure you try each of them out before buying them or else you might end up wasting money buying an item that turns out to be useless.