As a beginner seamstress (or beginner tailor), getting all the accessories you need to learn how to sew requires money and method. Making a “shopping list” to buy the necessary accessories for your sewing box is not easy when you have just taken your first sewing lesson.
All the new information can be overwhelming, especially since you will need to optimise your haberdashery purchases if you want to save money. Whether for sewing, embroidery or mending, to make men’s or women’s clothing – all of these activities require different sewing accessories.
Before learning to sew and taking sewing lessons, you will need to:
Some like to get a craft kit for their first project, as they have everything you need to finish the project: fabric, sewing pattern, cutting tools, assorted threads – everything you need to make learning how to sew as simple as possible.
It doesn’t take long to figure out that hand sewing is a significant time-eater, especially if you want to do home dec – sewing your own drapes, pillowcases or throws – or if you want to make your own clothes (jeans, trousers, skirts, child’s dress, bib…) and that a sewing machine is a good investment. Or you might even want to venture into machine embroidery for exciting, colourful motifs to liven up a bag or pouch.
The right sewing machine will make your life so much easier. Photo by normanack on Visualhunt
So what sewing machine should you choose? What type of machine is right for you, and what brand should you buy: Singer, Pfaff, Husqvarna, Brother?
Here are some of the criteria they should consider when buying a sewing machine:
On the one hand, you need to reflect on what you will be using your new Bernina sewing machine for – no need for an overlock sewing machine with 150 different stitches and costing over £1,000 if you just want to learn how to stitch cute totes.
Indeed, you will need a different sort of stitch or presser foot depending on whether you are sewing zips, a silk dress, making a bear-claw quilt or to simply hemming a trouser leg. A computerised sewing machine will be more expensive, but easy to use for beginners since all the adjustments are done automatically.
However, a mechanical sewing machine is better for smaller budgets but generally requires certain basic sewing skills, since all the adjustments need to be done manually. This also gives you a lot more possibilities for your sewing projects.
Finally, you should look at the different options offered by the different sewing machine brands: number of stitches, automatic buttonhole stitch, length and width adjustment, threader, different presser feet.
|SilverCrest SNM 33||Singer Starlet||Husqvarna Viking E10||Singer Simple 3232||Pfaff Smarter 160 S||Janome Skyline S3||Pfaff Expression 3.5|
|Number of stitches||33||16||20||40||23||120||200|
|Buttonhole stitch||Automatic, 4 steps||4 step||4 step||1 step||1 step||7 steps||16 steps|
|Weight||6 kg||7.5kg||6.3 kg||7.5 kg||6.3 kg||10 kg||10.6 kg|
For a beginner, a fairly inexpensive sewing machine is enough to have fun and see if you want to continue sewing as a hobby.
When starting out, finding the right beginner sewing project kit could be a good alternative to sewing classes and buying out your local haberdasher’s. As a beginner sewer, you know as much about sewing as you do about quantum physics or evolutionary biologist (unless, of course, they are a quantum physicist), but if you want to sew a dress or make your own purse rather than buy it, a beginner sewing kit might be just the thing.
There are basic sewing supply kits that contain everything you need to start sewing and are optimised for all the basics: tacking, cutting, basting, small sewing craft projects, hemming, mending…
Or you can try sewing craft kits. There are many reasons for deciding on a sewing kit:
There are a lot of haberdasheries offering beginner sewing creative kits, such as:
Thanks to various beginner sewing kits, children as young as 7 can learn to sew – just the right age to start sewing, when their neural plasticity is at its highest. Craft kits include felt monsters, stuffed animals, pencil cases, headbands…
Craft kits offer chamring sewing projects for children as young as 7. Photo by Growing a Green Family on Visual hunt
Rather than buying things in the supermarket, children will learn to make their own clothes and work their imagination. Even for adults, there are creative sewing kits exist for different levels of skill, from complete beginner to advanced – letting you progressively add more sewing skills without feeling discouraged.
The most expensive thing about sewing is very probably the fabrics. Every sewing shop and online haberdashery offer a wide selection of fabrics of all colours and sizes. But bolts of new fabric cost dear. So turn instead to thrift stores and flea markets!
Here are some tips for finding bargain fabrics:
Look for fat quarter and scrap projects to save money on fabrics. Photo by sweetjessie on Visual Hunt
Everything depends on what you are trying to make.
A nice bag with sequins, an evening gown, a blouse with little white buttons – it’s probably best to buy new fabrics to get exactly the look you want. Fabric off the bolt is generally sold by the metre (or yard in some places). It comes in many variations: gabardine, linen, velvet, patchwork fabrics, polka-dots, japanese prints, imitation leather, wools, jersey, muslin…
Here’s a little list of some online fabric shops:
So now you have your sewing machine and your fabric – what else do you need to get started?
A sewing box is made up of many different sewing tools indispensable to any dressmaker or seamstress – a little like a plumber’s toolbox.
For his sewing projects, a good tailor should have:
A sewing machine, a bobbin of thread and a cut of fabric do not yet a purse make. You need marking accessories, tools for cutting and pinning, something for ripping seams when you make a mistake and some hand-sewing tools for basting and finishing.
When learning how to sew, basic sewing accessories will make your life easier. Photo by Hegemony77 – 1/6th scale clothes on Visual hunt
Let’s start with the most basic of sewing supplies: the measuring tape, a fundamental tool for taking measurements and finding out the length of cloth you will need.
Other useful measuring accessories are:
To know exactly where to cut and sew, it’s important to mark your fabric. A marking pencil or pen and some dressmaker’s chalk are perfect for tracing a pattern on cotton or wool. A white pencil is best for dark fabrics; dressmaker’s chalk better for light ones. Pencils and pens are also better than chalk for precision markings. Once you have transferred your sewing pattern and marked your pleats and gathers, it’s time to cut out your piece. This is where tailor’s shears come in.
Your scissors are going to be your new best friend for years to come. We recommend always using new scissors (buy new ones frequently or have them re-sharpened by a professional). Use your dressmaker’s scissors only to cut fabric – avoid using the same pair of scissors as garden shears, paper scissors or craft scissors as this dulls the blade.
Pinking shears are used whenever the fabric unravels easily. Is this it? Well, no. Here are some other useful tools: