Basic material and tips: Spoil yourself with a nice, vintage of course, sewing box. All your stuff together in one place is quite handy! Any box will do actually, if you don’t want to spend money!
Ideal would be your very own sewing room (where you can leave stuff and pick up later), reality for most of us: our kitchen table! The best is a big one, as that is easy to spread out all the materials you’re going to use, to measure and so on. A good mat with measurements on is ideal, but your table and ruler will do!
Don’t be tempted to buy an expensive sewing machine from the start, use one from a family member (who tucked it away and never uses it) or go for a very simple one. When my daughter started sewing, I gave her a cheap one from Lidl and now, about 9 years later, she still uses it. Golden tip: keep your stitching machine manual safe, READ IT!!! It is golden advice and will help you to work with your very own machine. If you got your machine from a family member and she lost the manual tsss, go online, write to the manufacturer and get your own!
Always (tip from my nan) put a piece of fabric under your needle when not using your machine! It protects your needle (changing a needle is not a thing you love doing, but make sure you have spare!)
Scissors are sacred: nobody touches your sewing scissors! You use it only for cutting fabric, never ever, don’t you dare, cut paper with it! That is a golden rule! Keep one in your sewing box for paper (patterns need cutting), so make sure it has a different colour and yes put your name on your scissors. Whenever you follow a course or people are in the house, they are yours only, not to be touched. My husband already says: “ Oh, I know!” Make a habit of cutting off loose threads immediately after stitching!
Pincushions are so pretty and an easy help on the table, but my advice: keep a magnet (any magnet will do) in your pins’ box, pins have a tendency to fall and jump everywhere when sewing! Even putting your sewing needle down and not remembering where you put it, will be avoided with this trick. A magnet is easy to keep pins together or pick them up all at once, as they’ll surely one day will fall to the floor. Better even are the big magnet devices: put your pin box on it and pins and needles are as glued to it!
If you have to buy pins, buy quilter pins (long ones), if you have pins, start with the ones you have!
Buy decent thread, don’t save on this one! Don’t be tempted to stitch or sew with old or cheap thread, it’ll surely break in the middle of your work in progress, just at that part of your stitching work, where it will show.
All you now need is a stitch cutter / seam ripper (the yellow thing)… I’m sorry, but yes, you will make mistakes and will have to undo your fine stitch work (do it, you’ll regret it, in case you continue with mistakes).
The old fashioned chalk marker (pencils or soap form) is the cheapest and easiest method, to draw a pattern on your material. If you use a pencil, keep a pencil sharpener in your box!
Carbon sewing paper is easy to have in the house when you’re not an artist, to copy/ transfer a drawing onto fabric.
A good set of needles (different sizes) is of course basic! Make sure you always have reserve ones for your machine and practice putting in the needle in your machine following your manual! Important here is where the long groove is, towards you or not (so don’t take out the broken needle before verifying that!). Needles have numbers e.g. 60 – 70 very fine material, 80 – 90 heavier material, 100 – 110 heavy material (jeans for example).
Nice to have is a great ruler (Omnigrid), measures in inches and cms, but you can buy that one later when you’ve got the hang of sewing. (To be able to draw straight lines when working, yes, I would honestly advice you to buy a decent rectangular quilt ruler as soon as you can!)
Last but not least: a small dustbin! Any pot you have in the house! Easy to be put on the table: a small container for all the threads you’ll cut off and small waste. It avoids vacuuming afterwards and can easily be emptied in your dustbin later.
Now it’s countdown till January. Then again, I will give you a hint for buying/searching fabric in a later post, so you’ll have all you need in the house ready to go. The first exercise lessons will not be on your nice fabric, but on a piece of paper (yes!) and later on some leftover fabric. Don’t hesitate to write and ask questions, before buying!
Big hug, hope you feel excited!
smiling as always!