I get emails from time to time asking me exactly what must have items I have in my sewing box. Here is a short list of items I’ve collected over the years that I simply could. not. live. without!
1. Sharp Scissors:
I have a nice pair of Gingher Shears. They were a bit expensive, but they can be sharpened over and over so they should last for a lifetime of sewing. Before I bought these, I had a series of cheap scissors that worked great when they were sharp, were miserable when they got dull, and really couldn’t be sharpened. Sewing is no fun with dull scissors.
2. Seam Ripper:
This item probably should be #1 on my list! Thank goodness these are cheap because I’ve gone through a bunch of these in my lifetime. I’ve even dropped them down the heater vent, only to have them roll somewhere deep into the inaccessible reaches of the duct work under my house. Of course, you won’t need one of these if you’re a perfect seamstress. The rest of us however, use these all the time.
3. Magnetic Pin Cushion:
I started using my Magnetic Pin Cushion when my kids were crawling babies. Just drop the pins over the magnetic surface, and they jump right on. If you drop pins on the floor or any other surface, just wave this little baby over the top of them and it picks up all the stray pins. This is so much easier to use than a regular pin cushion.
4. Good Light:
I love my OTT-LITE Task Lamp. It’s portable and really makes working on detailed projects easier. It also doesn’t get hot, so it’s easy to work with. I got mine at Michael’s with a 40% off coupon.
5. Rotary Cutter, Mat and Clear Ruler:
I love these tools! I use them to cut both fabric and paper. They are indispensible if you want to make straight even cuts. I upgraded to an OLFA Self Healing Mat last year. I use it all the time for so many different types of crafts.
6. Seam Gauge:
A seam gauge is basically a ruler. It features a special slider which can be used to mark a desired measurement. When using a seam gauge, you can set the marker to a specific measurement and use it as a quick visual point of reference while pressing, pinning, or sewing a seam. Definitely a time saver.
7. Fabric Markers or Tailor’s Chalk:
I use a number of different items to mark with depending on my project. If my fabric’s dark, I usually use white tailor’s chalk. It’s easy to use, easy to see, and easy to remove. On light colored fabrics, I use a Mark-B-Gone pen. I always test first to make sure the ink will come out of the fabric I’m using. If I’m marking long lines or darts, I use a tracing wheel and tracing paper.
8. Iron and Ironing Board:
When I first started sewing, I neglected this important step. It really makes a difference in your finished project if you press between steps! Now, I iron every single project that has anything to do with fabric.
9. Tape Measure:
You need one of these soft, flexible tapes designed to wrap around yourself, your kids or anything else you measure that’s not flat and straight.
I always have several yards of muslin, or other inexpensive, clearance fabric around. It’s a cheap way to test out your ideas and patterns before you commit your nice fabric. You can buy muslin wherever they sell fabric.
That’s my top ten. What’s on your list?