Monday, April 21, 2014

Sewing Basics | The Basic Tools and Supplies

Sewing for beginners | Tools and Supplies |
Sewing Basics-Tools and Supplies

You'll need several types of scissors when setting up your home sewing studio. You need scissors that specialize in different tasks. Yes, even scissors can be highly specialized. The basic scissors you'll need to get started are fabric scissors and paper scissors. The nice to have scissors are embroidery scissors and a rotary cutter. 
Sewing Basics | Tools and Supplies |

Fabric Scissors / Dressmaker's Shears: 8” bent dressmaker’s shears are by far the best tool for cutting fabric. It is super important to only use them to cut fabric. Also, it's best to keep them sharp. Most sewing machine dealers will sharpen scissors and I think even some local fabric shops can take care of business. My favorite dressmaker's shears are Gingher 8" Knife Edge Dressmaker Shears.
Paper Scissors: Any old scissor will get the job done. You will use these scissors to cut paper and tissue paper patterns, but never fabric. Something like this pair of scissors will do just fine. 
Embroidery Scissors:These guys are optional, but hand to have around. They come in handy trimming threads, clipping corners, or opening button holes. Same as the dressmakering shears, I am a loyal Gingher customer and wouldn't recommend anything else. The one's I have in my studio are these 4" embroidery scissors. But, these 4.5" thread nippers are pretty awesome too! They just don't serve much of a dual function.
Rotary Cutters: Oh joy! What a time saver this handy tool can be. It works great for cutting just about anything, except of course really intricate curves and corners. I love Fiskars Roatry tools. It is best to use a ruler for straight lines and you will definitely need a cutting mat! You can purchase a set of rotary tools to save a few bucks.
Seam ripper:s I am including this in the cutting section because I don't know where else to put it. A seam ripper is a small, pointed device with a super sharp blade. It is used to pick unwanted stitches (read you really messed up). Or, to open seams and/or button holes. I think it's best to spend a few extra bucks and get an ergonomical seam ripper from Dritz. Your hand will thank you after you have to pull apart your first seam! 
Sewing Basics | Tools and Supplies |

I cannot stress how important measuring is when sewing. Sometimes an eighth of an inch makes all the difference. Seriously, I speak from first hand experience! The good news is that you don't need a bunch of expensive or fancy rules, like you do when pattern drafting
Sewing Basics | Tools and Supplies |

Tape Measure: I think the plain ole' plastic coated tape measures work the best. They won't stretch and they have proven themselves tried and true over the years. You'll use this to obtain body measurements, or to measure round curves.  Most tape measures are yellow and are 60" long by 5/8" wide. Dritz makes my favorite tape measure
Seam Gauge: This handy tool isn't a deal breaker, but it's nice to have. It works well when measuring and marking button holes and hems. It's a 6” ruler w/ a adjustable slide that moves up and down. How cool is that. I can't tell you how many times I've used a seam gauge in my day! 
Clear plastic: This guy is great for home décor, measuring just about anything, and cutting straight lines (with rotary cutter).

Marking your patterns and fabric is also important. When putting a garment together, it involves a lot of steps and specific orders of operation. So, keeping everything marked and in order will come in handy!
Sewing Basics | Tools and Supplies |

Disappearing chalk: This chalk will disappear on its own after a few days or with the heat of an iron. 
Wash-out pencil: This marking pencil is best sued for dark colors. It will wash out w/ a drop of water.
Vanishing Marker: This marker is best for light colors. I like it better than a pencil because it is a felt-tipped marker. I also prefer the one that has two sides, the 'disappearing ink' and 'marks be gone'. One side disappears in 12-24 hours and other side will wash out.
Tailors chalk, rotary: Tailors chalk is another one of those ole' tried and true dressmaker's tools. You can get a neat chalk holder to go with it so you don't get your hands all chalky. I am also a big fan of the rotary chalk pencils. They are filled with a powdered chalk and have a wheel that dispenses the chalk nicely. I love this rotary chalk pencil from Clover.

Ironing. Again, just like everything's oh so crucial! It really makes all the difference when trying to create professional looking garments.

Ironing board: Umm...self explanatory, no? You can get a smaller table top version or a traditional free standing ironing board. Make sure it's padded though. If it not padded  you can scar your seam and/or fabric. Not good. I like the covers that are cotton or muslin because they aren't as slipper or keep as much heat as the reflective covers. 
Iron: You’ll need a good Iron. Like, seriously. A good iron is crucial. I prefer Rowenta. Which ever brand you choose, it will need a variety of heat settings so that you can adjust per fabric requirements. 
Press cloth: While not a necessity, it's nice to have a press cloth. Press cloths act as barrier between iron and fabric. Make sure to use a 100% cotton or linen tea towel or just purchase a press cloth.
Seam roll: This is a funny little, sausage shaped fabric cylinder. It's about 12” long by 3” wide and it isgenerally used to press open seams. 
Tailors ham: Yes, that is its actual name, ham. It is a stuffed, triangular, ham shaped pressing tool that has several curves that simulate body shape. It helps to press and shape curved seams like darts, side seams, sleeves, etc. 

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At April 21, 2014 at 10:14 AM , Anonymous Liz said...

You make me yearn for my sewing machine again. I tried learning when I went out on a limb and purchased a sewing machine. However, my bobbin would constantly tangle and eventually break my needle or just cause a big mess in general. I never could figure out if it was me or the machine so I eventually sold it! I still wish I knew how to sew. I have so many ideas of things I could make!

At April 21, 2014 at 12:14 PM , Anonymous RuthLoiacano said...

Oh no Liz! I'm sorry to hear that! Bobbins can be a real pain in the bum! I always have trouble with my serger and I feel like I have to re-thread it ever time I use it! I have one of the Brother PRW machines and I have NEVER had a problem with it. You should check it out! Link below. I hate to see people give up on sewing! You can make so many cool things! It's really easy, stick around and I'll teach you! We'll work our way from the basics to advanced!!!!

At April 21, 2014 at 1:22 PM , Anonymous Charlotte said...

Oh my, Ruth, this is SO helpful! I am keeping this post in a safe place (aka pinterest) for when I finally decide to take the plundge. Thank you so much! :)

At April 21, 2014 at 1:59 PM , Anonymous RuthLoiacano said...

Thanks Charlotte! I am planning on refocusing my blog back to the original concept, sewing! It's what I do ... and I want to share this knowledge w/ the world. So, stay tuned for more follow up posts! It'll take me a while to build...But, I'll build it from the ground up!

At April 22, 2014 at 7:34 PM , Anonymous Alli Maxwell said...

I would love to have a seam gauge, it seems like it would make things so much easier!

At April 24, 2014 at 4:35 AM , Anonymous Lucy Parsons said...

This is such a helpful post! And it makes me so excited about sewing. Having the right tools for any job is so, so important.

At April 25, 2014 at 12:21 PM , Anonymous RuthLoiacano said...

They are so handy, you should pick one up sometime soon!

At April 25, 2014 at 12:22 PM , Anonymous RuthLoiacano said...

That is so true, Lucy! Glad you enjoyed it!

At September 17, 2014 at 1:52 PM , Anonymous Andy said...

Hey, do you have any idea how is called the tool that you use for ripping jeans ?


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