Even those new to sewing need a few basic supplies to make their needlework creations as lovely as possible. Sewing expert and pattern-maker Steffani Lincecum gives her top 10 basic sewing tools (and one for good measure).
Image from Rmarmion / Dreamstime.
1. Really good scissors, Lincecum's favorite are the Fiskars 8" Softtouch Scissors.
2. A sewing machine in good working order. A good cleaning on your Mom's old machine will do wonders for it. A technician will blow out all the old debris and lubricate the machine making sure it forms a nice stitch before you get it back. This makes a world of difference.
3. Owner's manual for your sewing machine. You may think you remember how to thread it, or know how to thread another one, but if you don't know exactly how yours works, there may be cussing. Pretty much any machine in existence has a manual that you can get on line if you don't have the original one.
4. Straight pins. Lincecum's favorite are the Dritz Size 1 3/4" Quilter's pins. They're big so you use less of them, and they are bright yellow so they're easy to see when you are picking them out of the carpet!
5. A Grabbit magnetic pin cushion. Makes putting the pins in the pin cushion easy, you just have to toss them in the general direction and the magnet grabs them. Big time saver.
6. A regular tomato type pin cushion for your needles. These pin cushions are divided so you can mark each section with S for Sharps, D for Darners L for leather and so on depending on which needles you end up using a lot.
7. A gridded ruler like the C-thru so you can easily mark alterations and hems or add seam allowances quickly.
8. Tailor's chalk also called tailor's crayon. The white wax kind. It's all Lincecum uses. A box of those would last you a lifetime. Order a box and share it with a couple of friends.
9. Nice big Safety pins for fitting, the biggest ones you can find. Nobody wants to get stuck with pins after you've marked everything and they're getting undressed. And then they don't fall out if you have to transport the project and you don't get to the work right away.
10. Thread snips. Lincecum likes the Gingher G-NS-4 4-Inch Featherweight Thread Snips. Everybody has their favorite, and she's used these for years. Why? Because you can thread a nice piece of black twill tape through them and just wear them all day and they look really sleek and cool. Also, they are super sharp and tiny for snipping open buttonholes and clipping into tight corners.
11. Ok, she couldn't stop at 10, but you really need a seam ripper too. She likes the good ol' big Dritz ones myself, they are not too pointy on the tip so they are less likely to damage something you don't want to tear and they are affordable enough to have plenty. Lincecum has one at the machine and one at the cutting table and one at the ironing board and well you get the idea...