Are you thinking about making your very own handmade items?
Whether it starts with a simple bow or maybe a skirt or dress, there are a few sewing essentials I think you can’t do without. I would also love to show you our dear machines and tools we use almost every day.
A sewing machine
Okay, a bit of an open door, but bear with me. And please don’t get afraid of this machine that can make strange noises and is equipped with a pointy needle. Before you know it, it can actually become your most trusted pal for sewing. When you’re starting out with sewing it’s absolutely unnecessary to have the latest modern sewing machine. As long as it has a good straight and zigzag stitch you have great basics to work with. Ask around in you family, maybe your grandmother, aunt or your mother has one laying in the attic collecting dust? Perfect!
To be honest? I started out on my grandmother’s machine, which was in her time very modern (’85), but guess what? The thing is unbreakable, sturdy, sews straight as a line and is still used in our workplace. So don’t let looks deceive you.
My sewing machine comes from our local sewing shop in Utrecht, called ‘Matson‘. They have great beginner machines as well as luxurious, advanced machines but also plenty of great secondhand deals. They also take care of repairing our machines in case something is broken.
When starting out with sewing I started on my grandmothers ‘Pfaff’ from ’85 and when I got more experienced and it was time for an extra working beast in our workplace, I went for a new Pfaff machine.
It’s the Pfaff Expression 3.2 and is my absolute best friend in my workplace. It works great with very thin fabrics (like chiffon and organza) but also handles thicker fabric (wool and multiple layers). Next to this, it has a wide variety of stitches, not only decorative but also suited for various fabrics. Over time more and more stickers have found their way onto my machine ^^, including a super cute girl from MadModesty.
This one is absolutely unnecessary when starting out with sewing, so why am I telling you about it? Well, once you want to work on bigger garments and maybe make something for your friends or you want to sell it, it’s a lifesaver. A serger is used to nicely finish off the inside seams, not only making it more sturdy but also preventing that the fabric will unravel. It also cuts off excess fabric for a clean finish.
Our serger is from ‘Lewenstein’, this particular model came with us along with my Pfaff Expression. It has 4 threads and two needles, but can also be used with 3 threads and 1 needle. It has many other options than just serging, so it’s a versatile extra help in our workplace. Sergers do take a bit of practice, especially with putting the threads in.
The buttons on the side and on the top are used to adjust the settings to any particular fabric you are using. A very soft and thin chiffon needs different setting than a few layers of sturdy cotton.
What is lying around your sewing machine might look like small clutter, but they actually make the job a lot easier:
- A small and sharp pair of scissors, to cut off your threads in between sewing
- A measuring tape
- A seam ripper, because nobody is perfect and some seams need to be redone
- A pincushion, mine is actually one of my first sewing projects and still serves me today
- Plenty of (hand) sewing needles in different sizes for various fabric thickness
- Clover Wonderclips, they are perfect to keep multiple layers of fabric in place instead of using pins, great for thick fabrics but also delicate fabrics like chiffon
Mean Steam Machines
One of the best tools in sewing, especially when you are just starting out is often overlooked. Honestly, I don’t know how much time I could have saved when I started with sewing if I just used my ironing machine earlier. You might think it’s just that silly thing to get your wrinkles out of your frilly dresses but it’s a great tool for sewing as well. Pressing is actual a very crucial step of sewing, here’s where you use your ironing machine for:
- Flattening you seams
- Shaping your seams to the right direction
- Press your hems before stiching
Just keep in mind always test the heat of your iron to a piece of leftover fabric. Sometimes (synthetic) fabrics can shrink of even melt, and we wouldn’t want that on our project, now do we?
Recently we’ve picked up a little brother for our sewing machine, a hand steamer! We can take this little fellow along with us when visiting events and iron our collection on the spot.
I hope this gave you a bit of insight in the sewing supplies needed when starting out and as you can see, many of it can easily be borrowed from friends and family or you already have it lying around in the house! It was really fun to photograph some of my own sewing supplies as well and show them to you. If you have any more suggestions for essential sewing supplies or want to read more about sewing from our perspective, please let me know!
– x – Miss Summer