Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sewing Essentials

I've got my Dutch blog for over a year and after all my post on what you can sew and how you sew it, I only now realised I've never posted something about the essentials you need for sewing! Of course, you'll need your sewingmachine, sewingthread, sewingmachine needles and fabric. But that's not the end of it! Just keep reading and you'll find out what else you definitely need!

First of all: a pair of scissors. Not the blunt kind of type, like you'll need for cutting paper, but the sharp ones - to cut your fabric. You'll also need a smaller one to cut those loose threads when you're done sewing. Unfortunatly, your scissors don't stay sharp when you use them. So you need something to sharpen your scissors with. When your scissors get blunt, they can damage your fabric and make it difficult to cut thru thick fabrics.

A pair of scissors isn't the only thing you'll need. A flat-iron is very important. If you want to sew by the book, you'll need to iron every seam you sew. I have to admit, usually I don't do this every time. I tend to wait until I've sewn all the darts in, iron, sew the toppiece together, iron, attache to top at the bottom, iron, and so on and so forth. Without ironing your fabric, you'll never get your project to be exactly right. The darts will look funny, something will fit odd. No matter what you make, you'll always need a flat-iron. An ironing board on the other hand, isn't something you really need. Just put an 'ironing blanket' on a flat surface and your good to go. At least, when you're not ironing with steam.

Tracing your pattern
But before you can even begin with cutting and ironing, you need to make your pattern. For that, you need tracing paper. Tracing paper isn't always easy to handle because they come in HUGE papers (I believe 1m x 1,5m). So a large table is really helpfull here, although you can do without. The good thing about tracing paper is that you don't need to cut your original pattern to pieces. You'll be able to use it over and over again, making changes without ever losing your original. To transfer the pattern onto the tracing paper, you'll need four things: a pencil, a ruler, a (black) pen and a pair of paper scissors. With the pencil, you trace the paper onto your tracing paper. Afterwards, you use your pen to trace the pencillines while you use the ruler to make neat, straight lines. The paper scissors obviously are for cutting your finished paper pattern. Don't use your sewing scissors, because they'll become blunt.

Cutting your pattern
You've got your pattern transferred on tracing paper, but now you need to transfer it to your fabric. To do this, you need 2 things: pins and chalk. Pins are obvious, if you ask me: you use them to pin your pattern to your fabric and hold it there. Chalk. You can find it in every sewingstore, it doesn't cost a lot and you can find it in different colors. Still, I'm not a big fan of chalk. It wears off a bit too fast for my liking. Recently, I came across a special pen. Although you use both for the same purpose - transfering the pattern onto your fabric - I find that the pen won't fade as fast as chalk. It will disappear after a few days and/or when you wash it. Chalk on the other hand fades when you use your fabric. So when your sewing/cutting/or just moving your fabric, your tracinglines will disappear. The only disadvantages of the pen is that it's slightly more expensive than chalk, a bit more difficult to find and not available in as many colors.

Seam Ripper
Last, but not least: the seam ripper. This is a great invention wich allows you to easily remove the stitches when you stitched something wrong. It's something you really want in your sewingkit!  I know I couldn't live without my seam ripper :-)

VoilĂ , there you have it: the sewing essentials! There are some other things you'll need for sewing, but than we're talking buttons and stuff. Who knows, perhaps I'll write about those in the near future!

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