Tools of the Trade | Commercially Alternative

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tools of the Trade


Sewing requires a huge arsenal of tools besides the obvious sewing machine. However, there are many options when you go to the store. Which are necessary and which are not? Here’s a list of supplies that I use for almost every sewing project.

  • A good iron
    • Here’s a tip: use bought distilled water in your iron. This will extend the life of your iron, as tap water will leave crusty calcium deposits that clog up your iron and get on your clothes.
  • Glass headed pins
    • Only get pins that say they have glass heads. This way you can pin something such as a narrow hem to your ironing board and you can iron right over the pins. If they are plastic they will melt onto your clothes.
  • Large scissors (I use Fiskars)
    • Do not use these scissors on paper! These are for fabric only. Paper will dull your scissors and make them useless.
  • Small scissors with a sharp point (again, I use Fiskars)
  • Hand needles
  • Bright neon thread for basting
    • This one is a personal opinion, but I love basting with my neon pink thread. It makes it easier to see what you are doing and what you have done. Moreover, it’s easier to take out since it (probably) won’t blend in with your fabric.
  • Pincushion or Pin magnet
    • Don’t put unthreaded hand needles into your tomato pincushion. I put one in and dropped the pincushion. Now there is a needle in the middle of that thing for all eternity. xD
  • Tailors chalk in white and blue
  • Marking pen
    •  While marking pens are very nice to use, I use mine sparingly. My projects tend to take a few weeks. As such, if I use a marking pen the ink will disappear the next time I pick up my project. In addition, it will even disappear by the end of the day if it’s humid out.
  • Measuring tape
  • A small seam ripper
    • Those big ones are just plain useless.
  • Tracing paper and wheel
    • I don’t use these as much as the chalk and pen, but it’s still useful every once in a while
  • Pinking shears
    • Another optional purchase, but I love them. This is how I finish all my seams, unless the garment is thin or transparent and the pinking will show through.
    • This is the method to use to finish seams on bias skirts. A zigzag stitch tends have bad results on a bias cut in my experience.
  • Cardboard fold out
    • I always use this. You can buy them at Joann’s for $20 or cheaper if there’s a sale. It turns my floor into an extra large workspace and folds away when I’m done.

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