The idea of learning to sew is a thought that many have. And I can promise you now anyone can sew but knowing where to start can be tough. In a world where we are told that you need an app for everything, I like to get back to the basics of what you really need to enjoy this pastime. I am going to share my list of what is needed with you. You needn’t spend a fortune, try op shops, vintage shops, garage sales or you might have an aunt that will loan you her machine.
My sewing history is not based on an expensive education or a mother who was a seamstress. I am self taught, trusting trial and error and any resource I can get my hands on to hone my skills. So essentially practice, practice, practice. My grandmother taught me how to thread a needle, basic hand stitches and how to tie a knot at the end. Basic sewing machine use I learnt in grade 8 home economics which is the case for most people and the rest I figured out myself.
So here’s what I believe is important to the home sewer.
*Firstly, a sewing machine. You can spend $50 or $5000, find a machine that you like/ understand, you needn’t go over the top. I sew on a 1959 singer that was gifted to me by my husband our first christmas together. I had it given some love by a sewing machine repairman. It is very basic only goes forwards and back in varying stitch lengths and may be haunted by it’s original owner but I just adore it. I have collected attachments for buttonholes and ruffles which I haven’t used yet (I promise I will share when I do).
*Decent scissors, you needn’t spend a fortune but keep these only for cutting fabric. Admittedly I do cut tissue paper/ patterns with mine which would have a lot of purists rolling in their grave (sorry guys). I also adore my pinking shears this is my favourite method for finishing seams, so retro!
*Tape measure, easy to source and sometimes its worth having more than one. I have several that float around my sewing room.
*Rulers, 30cm, 1m and a curved ruler. I only procured a 1m and a curve ruler in the last 6 months and I love them both but went for years without them just fine.
*Pins, Pins, Pins. I have all kinds; long, short, glass heads, round heads, ones with love heart shaped heads and recently some lovely long quilters pins with large flowered heads. You only need a basic pin though to start and figure out what you like. Nice steel ones are perfect, buy two packs though before you know it you will have lost some to your carpet and a large project will need a few.
*Thread, there can be many kinds of thread depending on your project and it’s colour. I will expand on this topic in the future.
*Tailors chalk or pens that will wash away. I now mark anything with stitches or snips in the seam line but I definitely started out drawing on everything until I remembered it all.
*And lastly something to sew, pick yourself a project. My first project of my own accord was a halter neck swing dress of red and white spot fabric when I was 15 that I sewed on my cousins machine. You may want to start with a tote bag or a cushion or tackle a basic skirt or dress. It’s up to you but pick a project you are interested in and can see yourself getting excited about working on.
In my next sewing post I will go through the basics of threading my machine and how to source information and learn how to thread yours. Happy sewing supply shopping.