27 June 2013

What’s in Your Sewing Kit?

When I was 11 years old my father gave me a tool box. It wasn't to be used for tools, well not the type of tools that would normally go into a tool box. It was to be my sewing box.

I still have it and use it's contents at least once a week to fix a hem or stitch on a button or some dressmaking or sewing. Over the years my sewing box has saved us from a lot of embarrassment (no one likes to wear a shirt with a button missing or a skirt with the hem down, or worse still, sticky-taped in place).

To be perfectly honest though, I never really enjoyed sewing until I had to. When Disaster Struck and money was so tight we couldn't even afford op-shop bargains, learning to sew meant I could keep us all well dressed without spending a lot of money. I've been hooked ever since, and an afternoon at the sewing machine is one of my favourite ways to relax.

Having a well-stocked sewing kit can save you a lot of money. Home sewing seems to be a disappearing skill but you can save a lot of money by learning a few simple basics of sewing; you don't have to be an expert tailor in order to perform a few basic sewing techniques. Not only will this save you money on your tailoring bills, it will save you time, as well; however you must start with the basic sewing kit.

Needles – It is always a good idea to have various cards of needles in different sizes on hand. Some cards come with a variety of needles. This is important, as some projects will necessitate a stronger needle for heavier fabric while others require smaller needles for delicates.

Thread – The most basic colours are the best to have on hand. Plenty of spools of black, white, brown and navy blue are essential to the basic sewing kit. You can always pick up spools of thread in various alternate colours as you go along, especially if you find them on sale. However, having plenty of basic thread colours is important since you never want to run out of these.

Pins – An assortment of various sized pins will come in handy depending upon what type of sewing you will be doing. Smaller pins are great for projects that are more delicate and sturdier pins will be a better option for heavy-duty projects. I have large safety pins for holding heavy fabrics (and quilts) together and extra long and fine pins for large projects and shorter.

Buttons – It is just amazing how a simple lost button can wreak havoc on your entire outfit just minutes before stepping out the door. A lost button on a pair of trouser pants can spiral into something of a fashion tragedy. If you don't want this to happen, have plenty of buttons on hand. Blouse buttons that are more delicate and come in neutral colours and darker, sturdier buttons in darker colours are essential. Just think how a missing button in the middle of your blouse can cause you to try to find an entirely different outfit and make you late to an event, as well.  I have a jar full of buttons collected over the years. Clothes are never relegated to the rag bag until the buttons (and zips) are carefully removed and stored in the button jar.

Thimbles – It is a good idea to have a thimble or two lying around. If you are involved in a scenario like above where you are rushing around to get somewhere and you pop a button, rushing and sewing do not go hand in hand too well. A thimble will save you a prick or two of the needle especially when you are in a rush. I have metal, plastic and leather thimbles in my sewing box. I use the metal thimble for hand-stitching heavy fabrics like denim or cord. The plastic thimble is perfect for lighter fabrics and the leather thimble I use for embroidery work.

Scissors – A good pair of sewing scissors is a sewing kit’s best friend. There is nothing more frustrating than a dull pair of scissors that cuts or frays your fabric. You can also purchase a small scissor for cutting thread and a better, sharper pair for cutting fabric and materials. Mark your fabric scissors so they are only ever used for fabric. Good fabric scissors must never be used for cutting anything but material. I have fabric, paper and ribbon scissors and they are all marked so anyone who uses them knows exactly what they can be used to cut.

With these basics you will be well on your way to making your own repairs, saving money and saving time with sewing.
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