My little sewing box has a few necessities like thread, needles, pins,
pin cushion, seam ripper, measuring tape, etc. I'm wondering what
everyone here considers essential to have on hand? Is it good for a
beginner like me to get one of those pre-fab kits with the basics, or
buying separately (probably wouldn't hurt to replace a lot of the items,
which I've had for a long time)? And do you like the old-fashioned
baskets, or something like a tackle-box style container?
Regarding thread, I've tended to stick with the Coats and Clark
poly.cotton blend, which people have usually suggested to me as a good,
quality thread for most general purpose sewing. Is that a good choice,
or is there something better to look for?
And one more question. Are there any special tricks to sewing with
My "sewing box" is a dedicated 10' X 12' X 8' room. :-) In
addition, I have another equally large room dedicated to my
embroidery machines. But I live alone now in the home we
bought for our family of four, and I have spread out.... in
more ways than one. ;-}
I use C&C DualDuty for almost everything. I use 100% poly
(Gutterman's) occasionally, and I have 100% silk thread for
basting kilts (no marks after pressing).
For knits, you need either a good zig-zag or (better) a
serger. I sewed knits satisfactorily for years with my
Singer 401A using a narrow zig-zag and short stitch length.
But,... once I got a serger, what an improvement! More
stretch, nicely finished edges, just a world of difference.
I would never go back.
I gave my 'real' sewing box to one of my GDDs, and she actually uses it
whereas I only looked at it from time to time. I don't like to travel with
my sewing any more.
Like Beverly, I have a nice sized room, and a giant-sized drapery-cutti
ng table, which has spoiled me. I tend to leave everything lying around. No
t having to put projects away is the biggest boost to being able to produce
Every now and then I do try to corral things. Those cheap plastic totes
with handles, for cleaning tools, are nice for scissors, rulers, screwdrive
rs, pliars, a small hammer, (useful for flattening and/or softening jean fo
lds before hemming.), and the like. Oh--a scrap of wood on which to beat th
e jean hem. The tote is good for scooping all the tools into when I do need
the whole length of my table.
I have lots of tools in the sewing room, plus a T square, half-dozen yar
dsticks, stapler, scotch tape,and a small clamp affixed to the end of the t
able. A couple of cheap, small wooden dowels for turning tubes of fabric. A
stock of tailor's chalk, interfacing in different weights, buttons, snaps,
a stock of basic zips, stuff I might need at midnight, when the sewing sho
p is closed. A small industrial vacuum. Thread racks.
I propped a cheap cork bulletin in a corner, and stick magazine clippin
gs and ideas on it. One of these days I'm going to find room for a flannel
sheet to throw fabric squares onto, for quilt designing.
Baby wipe tubs are great for holding elastic and notions. Dollar stores
sell many different containers, but why pay when you can ask friends to sav
e the tubs they throw away?
A word about sergers: they can be found on the secondhand market, and s
ometimes you can luck out and find one at a yard sale. (Score: a three-thre
ad for $5.00. Got it home, and found a silver dollar stuck inside it.)
You have had some good advice on what to put in your sewing "box". As I
am mainly a quilter I also have fade away and wash away markers and lots
of stripey (variegated) thread. Always have spare needles for your
sewing machine in different sizes and use the needle that suits your
fabric and thread combination - it really does make a difference.
If you are sewing t-shirt knits on your ordinary sewing machine you will
get better results with a jersey or ball point needle that is designed
to sip between the threads of the fabric. A sharp needle can cut the
threads and lead to little ladders. Universal needles are neither fish
nor fowl and I never use them. Packs of sewing machine needles are not
expensive in the scale of things and you can build up a range as you
need them. As a brand I (and my machine) prefer Schmetz.
I also use a room for my sewing box.A sewing stash of fabric and
supplies grows of it's own volition. Sort of an insidious kind of
thing.I have little boxes, big boxes, rolling cabinets , and a host of
things looking for a place to be put in some kind of container.
Here's a link to some basics in sewing fabrics. I find it helpful.
Her fabrics are beautiful,but expensive. I hate knits from Joann's. There are a lot of good sources for knit fabrics on line. You just have to search a little. I like
and this one
but there are a lot of other good ones. I always look up the sites that are posted here and check out the ones others like. I also love my serger for sewing knits. Juno
Thanks for the suggestions! We live in a 1-bedroom apartment, so no
separate sewing room for me I will have to use my portable machine,
and keep my notions in a sewing box or basket, that can both be stashed
When I go shopping for scissors, I will check out the notions to see
what they have that I might want to pick up.
I'm thinking that before I tackle hemming my skirt, I might want to get
comfortable with my machine first by doing a couple of small craft-type
projects. Any suggestions, or maybe websites with some simple projects?
Aprons!!! I love making custom aprons, and machine
embroidering person-specific designs on them. But you
probably don't want to invest in an embroidery machine just
I'm serious about making aprons, good practice sewing hems
and seams, maybe gathering, turning straps, etc. And you
can always give them away as gifts.
:Thanks for the suggestions! We live in a 1-bedroom apartment, so no
:separate sewing room for me I will have to use my portable machine,
:and keep my notions in a sewing box or basket, that can both be stashed
:When I go shopping for scissors, I will check out the notions to see
:what they have that I might want to pick up.
:I'm thinking that before I tackle hemming my skirt, I might want to get
:comfortable with my machine first by doing a couple of small craft-type
:projects. Any suggestions, or maybe websites with some simple projects?
What do you need? Or want? Do that. Making a pillowcase because
someone tells you it's a good first project isn't a good way to keep
 It is, if you need some pillowcases. Long straight seams, a
french seam (or felled, if you'd rather), room to make a mistake or
three. Room to make it complicated, by fitting a pillow tightly, or
adding a zipper, or ....
Put your bed on risers, and get some under-bed wheeled boxes to hide th
e goodies. That's also a good place to put a padded cutting board. At the v
ery least, get one of those folding cardboard cutting boards. Try to avoid
cutting out on the floor. It's very hard on the knees and back.
I've seen small closets turned into 'sewing rooms', with the addition o
f a wood shelf as machine table, a light, and a chair to pull up to the mak
eshift table. The question here would be, where do the clothes go? I think
people do this sort of thing when they have a guest room, and want to hide
the creative mess.
Other things I've seen: a cutting table which is hinged and wall-mounted
, so you can fold it up and latch it in place when not in use. (Art painted
/mounted on the underside.)
Check out allfreesewing.com for scads of projects. You don't need a serg
er to sew with fleece, as it doesn't ravel. Fleece hats are fun to make, an
d good gifts. Google other sewing projects.
A few random thoughts: Now, if I could find that link to the fabric pla
ce where I got so many good deals on beautiful fabrics--linens, cottons, so
me lovely imported goods for nice inexpensive prices. fabricmartfabrics.com
Cotton has been absurdly high-priced lately. It's an easy fabric for beg
inners to learn on, but try to avoid the cheap, flimsy goods from China.
Be sure to get on the mailing lists for whatever shops are in your area.
I usually wait until notions are 40 to 50% off before buying what I need.G
o online to sign up for Cloth World or Joann's.
On Mon, 10 Dec 2012 18:21:21 -0800, email@example.com (Diva
I use my spouse's foot locker from college. (Probably army surplus
from WWII; there was still a lot of it around at the time.)
I also have my grandmother's sewing basket, which I mostly use for
tools too nice to use. The lid broke, and she made a replacement out
of pine needles, incorporating a decorative string from the broken
And Dave's grandmother's sewing stand, which I keep beside the
living-room chair that has a good light. Uh, kept -- it's in the
workshop being repaired, and the tray and the stuff that was in it are
in a basket in the kitchen.
I also have needle, threads, and a single-edged razor blade in my
Sometimes I'll assemble a sewing kit in a sandwich bag and put it into
an overnight bag with a garment to be mended.
On Tue, 11 Dec 2012 11:53:59 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org (Diva
I got a superb Proctor-Silex ironing board for a wedding gift -- it's
the only board I've ever seen that's square on both ends, and it's
made of sturdy steel -- still going strong half a century later.
When we lived in apartments, I put my sewing machine on the ironing
board -- I could adjust it to the perfect height, and the ends were
available for pressing seams.
I think mine must be related, though not square on both
ends. I got it as a wedding shower gift. I had my DSIL
weld the cross brace on the front leg a couple of years ago.
All my pounding when I'm pressing kilt pleats wiggled it
loose. But it's still the best ironing board around.
Compared to the cheapies made today, it's almost
Good quality scissors. As a minimum, at least 2 pairs - a large pair for
cutting out fabric and a small pair for snipping/embroidery.
Is it good for a
Buy separately would be my advice and always buy good quality.
Lots of tricks but any good sewing book will tell you what you need to know.
The first trick I learned was that the stretch always, but always, goes
round the body.
A cheap plastic tablecloth with flannel on the reverse side works really
well for that purpose. I just stapled mine to the wall, and then when I
needed to do something else with that wall, pulled it down and folded it
with the squares still in place. When the wall is free again, I'll
staple it back up.
I still use her book when I'm not sure of something. I find her helpful
for somethings when I using wovens as well. I just wish her knits were
still available, the quality was excellent. When I was working in
hospitals I used her patterns for all my uniforms. People always wanted
to know where I bought them because they were not the run of the mill
"Pogonip" wrote in message
We used to sew knits on straight-stitch
Now that is a blast from the past. Keep tension/stretch in the seam whilst
I have ancient books put out by the only stretch sewing specialist in
Australia at the time (called Knitwit) and I still use them for a quick
revise if I haven't sewn knits for a long time. amazing how one forgets
even the basics.
I loved the patterns and books. Everything was straightforward as far a
directions and the patterns were so basic and easy to make design
changes in. When I took the course the only thing I never finished was
the bathing suit.Just never could get a good fit.
On Fri, 14 Dec 2012 11:10:55 +1100, "Farm1"
Made a pair of underpants today and yesterday -- had to look them up
on my own web site before I pinned them together. (Well, the note on
the pattern says it was last used in 2009.)
Interesting. The pair I just made of cotton jersey are very snug. The
hemp-jersey briefs made from the same pattern are loose.
The hemp briefs are worn out, and plant fibers tend to grow, but I
suspect that it is because the hemp jersey is much coarser.