I thought I’d start by taking a little look at some of the things I consider essentials in my sewing ‘kit’. Over the last 18 months I’ve managed to accumulate quite the collection of things and my kit is now substantially bigger than 2 emergency buttons, a needle and a safety pin.
So first and most importantly; my sewing machine. My lovely fella gave me this as an early birthday present last year when I moved to Liverpool to keep me busy if I was a bit homesick. By happy accident, I ended up with a Brother LS17. I’d originally had my eye on the LS14…but Argos cocked up and gave me a *much* more expensive one by mistake. Fine by me! This machine is brilliant, it has a heavy base, perfect for working on more substantial items and a tonne of different stitches to see me through any project. It threads easily, sits on my desk without taking up the entire space and is yet to see me wrong. I’d definitely recommend this as a starter machine at the top end of a beginners budget, although having looked to try to link you up – it is perhaps no longer available. The LS14 can be found here.
Secondly, my lovely haberdashery box, bought from Hobbycraft (here) as a gift for me last year and to be honest thank god for this box. It is enormous and has got a load of room inside for all the bits and pieces and odds and ends I’ve bought and not got round to using. My room would be in chaos without this box! It holds everything from zips and buttons to lace trim and fabric glue. It has a plastic tray that sits across the top, which holds all my bobbins, and a pocket and a pin cushion in the lid; I keep sticky dots in the pocket, but maybe I’ll save the reason for that for a post on cutting and preparing paper patterns. I love the colour and pattern of the outside too; I had a bit of a duck egg blue phase so this matches my room perfectly and it’s great to find a box like this that isn’t a bit mumsy!
Third in my list of essentials is something I’m definitely going to go into more detail about another day, but to give you a clue, it’s a sewing scrapbook that I’ve been keeping since I started sewing independently (aka without my mum breathing down my neck making me unpick every slightly dodgy seam!). I take a swatch of the fabric from each project and take a page to ‘review’ how it went. Not only is this starting to build up quite a nice looking book, it also helps me to chart my progress, with the projects either getting faster or more complicated as I go along. Plus it provides a good reference point for things like alterations and tricky bits that I know to watch out for the second time I come to make something.
Number four. Okay so this book is basically the bible. Written by Alison Smith and in beautiful full colour, I use this for something on nearly every project I do. It is the most comprehensive overview of every technique under the sun. There is nothing this book doesn’t know. I love it so much I recently bought a copy for a friend (buy yourself one!) who wants to take up sewing…there’s only so many YouTube tutorials you can watch before you have to admit defeat and check out the old-fashioned instructions!
Finally number five. We’ve talked about the kit, now let’s do the caboodle. Basically I’ve found that cute tins and little dishes have become extremely useful and valuable to me. Trust me when I say that you will find a use for every single one of them. The one featured in my photo has got cute little folding rabbit ears and came with a belly full of carrot sweeties…which I immediately scoffed so that I could fill him full of bobbins instead.
I feel like my scissors warrant having a paragraph to themselves. Here is my biggest, most important piece of sewing advice if you are just starting out. Okay. DON’T BUY CHEAP SCISSORS. They will go blunt and spoil your fabric. My pair has a screw joint so I can take them apart to get them sharpened and they are the piece of kit I definitely wouldn’t let you borrow. They’re left-handed, they’re sharp and they’re mine. Sorry. Also please. don’t. cut. paper. with. them.
And last but not least, pins, a pin cushion and some tailors chalk (ft another cute dish). Essential parts of your kit to get started, I use, abuse and lose pins like they are going out of fashion and marking the front and back of fabrics with my chalk has saved me a lot of unpicking more than once!
So there we have it, I hope you’ve enjoyed a little look into my kit and caboodle. Come back and have a read of my first high street dupes post – a suede a-line mini skirt with a saving of £8 compared to the high street version! Let me know what you think! E x