- Small scissors – Get yourself a sharp pair of small embroidery scissors, these are useful for snipping thread ends without damaging your work.
- Dress Making scissors – Remember to buy quality here, as you will be cutting your fabric will these and blunt scissors can tear finer fabrics. Keep these in a piece cloth, so that they avoid rusting.
- Pins – Pins are essential to hold fabrics in place while you work. Just be careful that you take these out before you sew over them!
- Measuring tape – This is another piece of essential kit.
- Stitch unpicker/ripper – This is a tool I always have in my box. I mostly use it for those wonky seams and the occasional freehand element that didn’t work!
- Dress making chalk – to outline your patterns, before you cut your fabric.
- Hand sewing Needles – A stock of varying sizes is always good to have on hand, just in case you need to finish a dress hem, or buttonhole by hand.
- Needle Keep – This just needs to be a scrap of fabric, where you can keep all of your spare needles in one place. There are also plenty you could buy, or your could even make your own.
- Spare sewing machine needles – I always keep a spare box of basic needles and some with more specialised tips for example stretch fabrics, or leather. You probably are best to start with the basics and see how you go from there.
- A scrap of fabric – I always test my stitches on a scrap piece of fabric before I start, just to make sure my machine tensions are correct. I usually use a simple cotton, or piece of calico. I don’t recommend synthetics or sheers, as these are too delicate to get a feel for the machine.
- Spare bobbin cases (the thread holder for the bottom thread of your stitch seam) – Just in case I need to change my colour threads in a hurry and don’t want to roll off new bobbin.
- Bondaweb (or fusible interfacing) – you can buy this in most haberdasheries and you will find it useful for holding fabric permanently in place whilst you stitch (like appliqué designs), or to line collars and waistbands.
- Soft HB or 2B pencil – for finely tracing edges, or marking pattern notches. You could always use the pens whose ink disappears when you wash your item, but I personally prefer a pencil.
- White and Black cotton reels – these are you basic colour threads, which you will probably use more often especially when practising a new seam or technique.
- Note pad & pen – I always keep a notepad and pen with my work, just in case I am running low on something I can write the correct codes for colour threads, etc.
Always remember to have an iron and ironing board set up, you will need to lightly press pattern pieces and sections of clothing as you go. This will help your work look more professional and well finished.
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