I wanted to right a little bit about some tools I’ve found really useful to have in my kit. There’s just so much out there and I get totally overwhelmed when I I’m in a haberdashery and I just want to buy everything, even if I don’t know what it does.
Here’s a little run down of my favourite tools for beginners, and the things that I have in constant use.
1.5’er, or its posh cousin, the Sewing Gauge/Seam Gauge
Super useful little tool for marking out seam allowances, just a little strip or card with 1.5 cm or 1 cm marked on it that you can keep to hand when you need to check how much to fold or sew. It’s probably my most used piece of kit. It’s also useful to have a sewing gauge, which can be long like a ruler with a little slider on it, or flat like the one above. These are great to have at hand as they’re accurate and don’t slip or stretch like a tape measure.
Update: I melted my sewing gauge with the iron, so stick with the cardboard!
I have a love-hate relationship with my seam ripper, it’s annoying to rip the stitches out, but so so satisfying. I have a jumbo ripper (shown above in comparison to a normal size), with a rubber handle that’s aimed at arthritic old ladies but I love it. It’s huge so I never lose it!
I use a children’s bamboo chopstick for poking things through, but if you’re doing this refularly you might want to invest in a loop turner (great for straps and belts) or a proper collar point turner if you’re sewing a lot of collars. Try and find something made of wood with a blunt end.
Really useful for keeping fabric still, books open and paper rolls flat. Good for lining up several layers of fabric too, and functions as an extra pair of hands if you need it!
Use your old tweezers to get rid of lose threads and cotton from the stitches you’ve unpicked (hopefully not too many!). This can really help with fiddly bits and tidying up your work at the end of a project. Also good for fishing out snapped threads from your machine.
Useful for drawing circles and squares – you can pick these up really cheap this time of year, or you might have it left over from school! The set squares are useful for drawing accurate squares for skirts, and the compass will be useful for circles skirts and covered buttons. A clear ruler is also very useful for measuring seams allowances and the distance between buttonholes or snaps!
If your house is anything like mine, there will be loom bands everywhere you look! Squirrel some away and use them to keep your ribbons, ric rac and bias binding together really neat and tidy. They’re also useful for sliding over your free arm and marking which line you’re using to measure your work against (if, like on my machine, they aren’t labelled). If you’re careful not to twist it, it should lie flat in the groove. You can of course use rubber bands for this as well!
So, those are a few of my favourite things that I always have to hand, what tools do you use in your sewing kit?