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The Basic Sewing Kit

Martha Stewart Living, February 1997

Start with these sewing essentials, and add specialized supplies as needed.

Assorted fasteners: Hooks and eyes, small snaps.

Beeswax: A wax coating keeps thread from tangling during hand sewing; keep it in a plastic holder with slots to slide the needle and thread through.

Buttons: Keep a small supply in various sizes and colors.

Elastic 

Hand-sewing needles: With assorted sizes, you'll be prepared to work on different fabrics. Sharps are best for most stitching and mending; ball points should be used on knits.

Iron-on tape or patches

Needle threader: To use, slip the flexible wire loop through the eye of a hand needle, feed the thread through it, and pull the wire back out, bringing the thread with it.

Needles in assorted sizes: When it comes to sewing machine needles, general-purpose sharp-point needles are good for most woven fabrics. For knits, use ball-point needles.

Pin holder: A magnetic one can pick up scattered pins.

Pincushion

Safety pins: Store them on one pin so they don't scatter throughout the basket.

Scissors: For cutting fabric, a pair of good quality sewing scissors or dressmaker's shears is a necessity; you'll also need pinking shears to prevent fabric from fraying. There are several types of sewing scissors, each with a specific purpose.

Seam binding

Seam ripper: This tool opens seams almost effortlessly.

Straight pins

Tailor's chalk: Use this to mark fabric before cutting and altering.

Tape measure: Use this to measure soft, curved things (use a yardstick to measure fabric on a work surface).

Thimble: When hand sewing, wear it on your middle finger to push the needle through.

Thread: All-purpose is appropriate for most sewing. Use extra-thin thread on particularly fine fabrics; heavy-duty on thick fabrics. Buttonhole twist is good for buttonholes and decorative stitching. For mending, make sure you have a variety of colors that match your clothes.

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Comments (3)

  • 30 Apr, 2010

    Get tips

  • 1 Nov, 2009

    Oh, my.. I hope one day I can learn this.. I would like it so much. I can do it, but only by hand.. why is it that every time I touch my machine, I brake it?

  • 24 Sep, 2008

    and emery grain filled pincushions. They help to keep your sewing needles clean and sharp. You can find emery :
    http://stores.ebay.com/Pincushions-by-Nil