Assemble a kit that is tailored to your everyday sewing needs, whether that means mending a torn sweater, reinforcing a loose button, or sewing a new garment entirely. Consult our handy checklist excerpted from "Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook."
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Ready, Set, Sew!
We start with a less-obvious tool: beeswax. Use the disk pictured above to stiffen thread, which makes it easier to push through a needle's eye, and helps prevent tangling; run a length of thread over the disk to coat it with wax.
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You will need mercerized-cotton thread, which works well on most cotton, rayon, and linen; size 50, a medium thickness, is good for general sewing. You will also need heavy-duty thread for reattaching coat buttons; and button twist thread, which is good for repairs on heavy clothing like coats.
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Make sure it's transparent so that you can see from one marked measure to another.
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Needles vary in type, length, eye shape, point, and width. They are categorized by name and number -- the larger the number, the shorter and finer the needle. Choose a needle fine enough to pass through your chosen fabric easily yet study enough not to bend or break. Pictured here are sharps (medium-length needles for general sewing) and betweens (similar to sharps but shorter, for fine stitching and tailoring).
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This is crucial for accuracy in any sewing project -- even hems.
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Available in different lengths and gauges, pins are necessary for keeping fabrics in place when sewing.
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This protection comes in particularly handy when trying to push needles through tough fabrics, like leather.
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Have two pairs of scissors that are used solely for sewing -- the larger for trimming fabric, the smaller for snipping threads.