If you want to begin making basic repairs, or sewing by hand, the first thing you need to do is make a basic sewing kit.
It’s true that you can buy ready made sewing kits. Some are teeny-tiny, others are enormous. So how do you choose? Even in small travel sized kits there are items which never get used, so it’s most effect to tailor (sorry) your basic sewing kit to your needs.
Here is a list of seven essential items I think make a basic sewing kit:
These should be good quality and, most importantly, have a micro-tip. This means they are really pointy. Hobby and craft scissors often do not have these precision ends.
The micro-tip allows you to get into tight little corners or seams and snip delicate threads without making holes in your fabric.
I like Fiskars scissors, but if you want to save space you can get nifty little folding scissors with a micro-tip.
DO NOT use these scissors for cutting paper. Like, ever.
If you will be sewing by hand, the best pins are glass headed dressmaking pins. These are quite long and have the bonus of being easy to spot, so you won’t forget to take them out before you wear your item.
If you are buying online I would recommend buying through a haberdashery (Jaycotts are great) or if you must e-bay make sure to buy branded pins, such as ‘Hemline’. The cheapest unbranded ones will probably be blunt at the tip and rough everywhere else, thus rendering them completely useless.
There is rather an overwhelming choice of hand needles. I find these ones the easiest to sew with. They are a sensible length and the eye is an easy size to thread. These are suitable for most every day sewing.
Again, the absolute cheapest one will probably be inaccurate or will quickly stretch out of shape. Buy from a haberdashery if possible.
Although you can buy a triangle of tailors chalk, it can actually be a bit tricky at first to make accurate markings with this. Instead, opt for a chalk pencil you can sharpen.
Or try one of these fancy roller chalk pencils, which are refillable and accurate.
You’re going to need this. A lot. Sorry.
The basic short ones work fine. The slightly longer ones are a little more ergonomic. Be sure to get one with a lid, as they are pretty sharp if you accidentally stab yourself with it!
Ready made sewing kits often give you the choice of black, red and white thread. If you make your own sewing kit you can look at the most common colours in your wardrobe or home and buy threads in matching colours. This way you will be ready to take on pretty much any little repair!
I use Gütermann threads. They are inexpensive, available in three sizes and in zillions of shades. Shade 118 (in the middle in the photo) is amazingly versatile and works with pale blue, cream, silver, pale gold, beige, light brown, and lilac. So, it’s a great one to include if those colours feature in your palette.
Things you don’t need to make a basic sewing kit:
- Safety pins – I have never used a safety pin when sewing!
- A thimble – These just make you less dextrous and the task of sewing more frustrating.
- One random button that matches none of your clothing – I don’t know why they include these in ready made kits. What’s the chance of you losing a button of the same size and colour as they have included? Instead, save the spare buttons that often come with new clothes. That way you will have the perfect spare, should you need it.
Now we’re all kitted out, the next thing we need to know is how to thread the needle the easy way, and how to make a good knot in the end of the thread. Those instructions are coming soon!