Sewing Basic Equipment list

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I’ve been asked by some people what things you should have in your sewing kit.  So after some thought I figured it merited a short blog post.  Here it is.  My list of basic sewing equipment.

 

Basic Sewing Equipment

1. Needles.  I have a small pack of various needles actually bought in a supermarket.  So these don’t have to be super expensive.  I like the ones with big ish eye openings as they are easier to thread and sometimes I use embroidery thread and this won’t fit through a small eye.
2. Pins.  I have two packs.  One is fine dressmaking pins that are 0.6mm thickness the other are these pretty glass headed pins that are 0.65mm. I think they are pretty and great for most fabrics.

 

3. Scissors.
I use 3 scissors. A small pair of needlepoint scissors that are pointy and sharp. An ordinary size pair mostly for normal use. A large pair of dressmakers scissors. Flat bottomed perfect for cutting fabric. Most bought on ebay for an average cost so again not expensive ones.

4. Threads.
I tend to use Gutterman or similar quality threads as I am putting them in a machine. Why? Because cheap threads tend to shed fluff more which clogs up inside your seeing machine. I have a huge collection of colours as I am fussy about matching threads to the material I am using.

5. Measuring tools.
Tape measures and rulers. I don’t have expensive quilters rulers and measure rulers I used 2 clear flexible rulers that I had in school. I also have a variety of tape measures but my favourites are these wind up tapes with a button that snaps them back into their case. Saves time winding.

6. Marking pens
You occasionally have to make marks on fabric. I have a tailor’s chalk wheel which is fab and works well on fine fabrics and dark colours but I use washable felt tips most of the time. I buy super washable and they are just perfect.

7. Seam Ripper.
Remember not to hack away with one of these as they are pointy and sharp and you can end up with holes in your fabric or items in places you didn’t want far too easily.

8. Hem / Seam gauge.
This might not be absolutely essential but I find it so useful as a small measuring tool. It also has a pointy end great for pushing corners out in sewing Eg collar or cushion corners. It’s designed to help measure hems and seams. For me it’s part of my essential kit.

If you are using a machine you will also have feet and bobbins and other bits but I think they need their own entry. So watch out for my sewing tips post 2.


Pirate cosplay costume

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My son’s school summer gala is Pirate themed.  They have the Pirate of the Carribean theme as the main song so when it came to planning a costume I knew this one would be fun. 

We searched the pattern websites and found a Burda pattern for a boys pirate costume.
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My son said straight away that he wanted the jacket. So I ordered gold braid and a deep red velvet fabric from eBay sellers and awaited delivery.
And waited. And waited. Hmmm sometimes the problem with eBay is things don’t arrive on time or when expected or at all. The gold braid arrived but no fabric. Clock ticking I opened a dispute with seller of fabric and had to make an emergency fabric purchase.
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So here we are. Deep red with black pattern swirls and gold braid at the ready.
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The pattern pieces are quite straightforward so that part was easy. I also found I had thread a perfect colour. So the next step is to start sewing.
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Came across a problem with the gold braid. As soon as you start to cut it the whole thing frayed and unravelled. I had a great idea to use glue but this made the braid stiff and hard to sew. In the end my mum came to my rescue with the idea of sewing across it before I cut. Phewwww I was about to give up on the braid!
image I also changed the pattern slightly and decided in some places to have the braid go from seam to seam rather than in short lengths. This means the ends are enclosed in the seam and less bulky plus less likely to fray.
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I did this on the pockets and then on the cuffs I alternated which in the end I think will look fab.
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Once I had started to assemble I could begin to imagine what it will look like and am loving the red fabric. I sewed the braid onto the fabric with a single line of stitching down the middle of the braid using black thread.
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I must confess I sort of ad libbed when it came to placement. The only thing I did find was it’s thinner and less weighty than the velvet would have been so it needs interfacing to stiffen it a bit. The cuffs and inside facings had iron on interfacing anyway but I also decided to sew in medium weight interfacing on the jacket front.
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This should mean the jacket will feel more like a jacket than a shirt. I left it un interfaced on the back as then it won’t be too hot and I decided the stiffness wasn’t so important on the back.
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I finished up with all the pieces ready to assemble with the braid all sewn on. At this point I had to take a break ( go to bed) getting to this point has taken better part of the day. Probably about 5 hours.
part two assembly
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The first stage of assembly was sewing the pocket flaps on. Because of the braid I decided to top stitch the pocket flap down too so that it lay flat on the jacket front.
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I am chuffed with the sleeve cuffs. I will confess I also deviated from the pattern here too. I top stitched the top cuff seam again to hold the braid more securely and also to create a professional finish. Then I stitched the bottom of the cuff inside out so there was no hand at Itchington and no seam inside.
In fact I decided to top stitch all around the front seam to finish the seam and make it lie flat. I also decided that to hide where the braid had been folded and stitched in short lengths maybe buttons would work. Out came my nana’s old button tin.
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I think all nana’s probably have a box or tin of old buttons. I found some fab metallic buttons that will add a lovely finishing touch.
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I sewed a few on and they do indeed look great.
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The jacket was then finished according to pattern instructions and I am chuffed with the end result. At the last minute I decided to cut up an old white shirt and create sleeve ruffles to go underneath. The whole thing is great. About 12 hours of cutting and sewing in total.
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New things

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I am not a fan of pink.  Let me just put that out there at the start to be clear.  I am also against the sexual stereotyping of kids toys.  I totally believe girls can like cars and dinosaurs and boys can want to play kitchen or love arts and crafts.  I have two kids.  A boy of 8 and a girl of 2. He loved things that he could work out and plan like lego and blocks and anything that went like cars and trucks and if they came apart and went back together all the better.  Now at 8 he loves computer games with strategy and building like minecraft.
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  My daughter has developed a pink obsession and loves basically anything pink.  Cars and dinosaurs would be ok if they were pink. She also loves pretty shoes and dresses and animals especially if they are fluffy and cute.  So much for my anti sexual stereotypes eh! 

So bowing to a certain amount of pressure I’ve done 2 things this week that I swore I wouldn’t do.  I’ve ordered pink fabric and adopted a cat!  Ok so actually it’s a 10 week old kitten and it sleeps purrs and plays which my daughter loves. 

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He will happily sit on her knee which is just purrrfect. I must confess he is cute.  We have named him. … wait for it. … “Cat” which mummy made into Kitcat.

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Much to my chagrin I actually quite like him and he’s settled in wonderfully.  Despite being hauled about and captured often very ungainly he seems chilled and more than happy to sit on my daughters knee and take part at nap time. They do look cute napping together.

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Meanwhile I await my pink fabrics from America.  After some research I found what I wanted in stock and on sale at this American store online http://www.fabric.com. Always one for a bargain I have placed my order and even if I pay an import charge I will still have saved myself about a third on the price that is normal in the UK.

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They are all Michael Miller designer fabrics so I know the quality will be good.  Ah it’s a mum’s job to sometimes make compromises in her life for her kids and a grown ups job to admit when they were wrong and eat their words.  So watch this space for pink dresses lol.