A common question we get from new sewists (or the people shopping for a new sewist) is what sewing notions are essential to getting started. Certainly the answer depends on a few more factors – such as whether the sewist has anything already, whether she or he will be sewing by hand or on a machine, etc. – but we thought it might be useful to put together a kind of cheat sheet. See what you have already, decide what you might need. In general, what we're including here are the things you might find in every sewist's kit, so specialty items (such as quilting rulers, which we'll cover another day) are not included.
1. Thread: An obvious one, perhaps, but often overlooked in favour of fancier notions. We carry Mettler 100% mercerized cotton thread in a huge array of colours. If you're setting up a kit for someone else, we recommend including a few different colours as well as the classic white and black.
2. Scissors: These Fine Needlework Scissors by Addi are a shop favourite. Their elegant shape and shiny brass plating are classic and their blades are snip-sharp. These are perfect for keeping next to a sewing machine or tucking into an embroidery bag. They're also small enough to travel with on an airplane, which is a nice bonus.
3. Needles: What needle you need depends on a few different factors. These Clover needles for hand-sewing and embroidery and feature golden eyes sized for various thread sizes. If you're worried about getting your thread through there, we also carrying needle-threaders.
4. Pins: Absolutely indispensable, pins are a part of just about all sewing. These are Clover silk pins, which glide smoothly through fabric with no snagging. We also carry longer Clover pins and, so your collection doesn't end up in a jumble, very handy Clover pin keepers.
5. Tracing Wheel: This one is less of a must-have, but it's definitely handy if you're thinking about garment sewing. This Clover serrated tracing wheel helps transfer patterns to tracing paper, making it easy to make copies (or multiple sizes) without buying multiple patterns or spending hours and hours cutting.
6. Seam Rippers: Pretty self-explanatory really. We're not saying you're going to make mistakes that require ripping, but, well, you'll probably sew seams you'd like to rip out, so... These are also very handy when it comes to getting the thread out of vintage buttons and the like, if you'd rather think of them that way.
7. Fabric Pencils: Need to mark a line on your fabric that won't later be hidden by a seam? These Clover fabric pencils come in multiple colours (all the better to see them on your fabric) and will come out in the wash. We also carry coloured tailored chalk, which is great for simple lines, but a little less precise than a sharpened pencil.
8. More Scissors: These OLFA scissors are seriously heavy-duty (they cut Kevlar!) and are perfect for cutting fabric. We also carry cutting wheels, but if you don't have a surface at home that can stand up to the wheel blade, these scissors are an excellent choice.
If you don't want to put together your sewing kit, there are a number of ready made alternatives. Merchant and Mills have some small kits that are wonderful for beginning sewists and for those who want to supplement their toolkit.
And if you need help assembling the perfect kit, stop by the store and we will help! Are you ready to get sewing?