Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Sewing Arsenal

While I was working on my Super Seekrit Project again, I realized that my work space (my dining room table) had my arsenal of sewing tools that I used the most. In general, my house/workshop has nearly everything I need to start a sewing project at a moment's notice from thread to fabric to interfacing to buttons and zippers. It's a well-curated Stash(TM) that's accumulated over years by both myself and the Viking.

However, there are certain tools that are used repeatedly regardless of costume. I have a few tools that I find myself reaching for on a regular basis and that make up the very basic aspects of my sewing kit. So I decided to do a short interim blog post about these tools.

They include:
  • a sewing gauge -- I prefer the square-ish sewing gauges that contain the more common widths used for seam allowances and such (i.e. 1/4", 1/2", 5/8", 1", 1.5", etc.,.)
  • a good pair of cutting shears -- these shears cut through any fabric like butter. They are super sharp (and slightly dangerous), and are ONLY used for fabric.
  • a good pair of small nipper scissors that can cut thread or help cut close at various edges, button holes, or welts.
  • a nice heavy weighted seam ripper -- I bought this one at Stitches West. It's made out of wood and has an awl at the other end. Both tools can be hidden into the handle.
  • fabric weights --- they hold down fabric or patterns when needed. I found these old-fashioned mini-irons (made out of iron) on clearance sale and they make really awesome weights.
  •  tailor's chalk --- I use them to mark the sewing lines for various seams, to mark points for sewing, etc.
My Viking and I also have a library of books dedicated to sewing -- from how-to sew to techniques to patterns and inspirational costuming books. There's a lot of sewing "how-tos" and techniques that I'm not familiar with or that I need a refresher on how to do something...or maybe a better method than what the pattern suggests. When I'm sewing, I tend to look at these reference books to make sure I'm doing things correctly.

Consequently, there have been times when there is a book sitting on the sewing table (aka my dining room table) that is open to a particular set of instructions or technique.

Usually, I find myself reaching for the Vogue Sewing book as it's one of the best sewing books I've used (going into advanced techniques). I know that there's an updated version, but I have an older copy that I refer to constantly.

 In addition, my Viking pulled this book down for me to use for tailoring techniques: Tailoring: The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket. It's an excellent book with a ton of great photographs and straightforward instructions for both hand sewing and machine-based tailoring techniques. (There's an updated version of the Tailoring: The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket, which from what I've read is pretty much exactly the same as the older book, save for some updated modern photos.

I highly recommend both books to be added to your sewing reference library, if you don't already have them.