Sewing Tips

The Basic Sewing Kit

Most mending jobs can be done by hand, without a sewing machine. To do these tasks, you'll need a few essential items on hand, such as:

  • A selection of buttons
  • A selection of needles
  • A selection of threads
  • Sewing scissors
  • Pins and pin cushion
  • A thimble
  • A tape measure
  • Fasteners, such as snaps and hooks and eyes
  • Self-fastening tape
  • Patches

If you don't have those items already, keep the following tips in mind when shopping for them:

  • Light trimming scissors or shears in a 6- or 7-inch length are best. Use these scissors only for sewing.
  • Pins with large glass or plastic heads are the easiest to use. Buy the longest ones you can find -- up to 11/2 inches.
  • A package of assorted sharps -- medium-length needles with round eyes -- are suitable for all fabric weights.
  • Thimbles come in various sizes; find one that fits the middle finger of your sewing hand.
  • Hooks and eyes in assorted sizes (1, 2, and 3) and snaps in sizes 3/0, 2/0, and 0 solve most replacement problems.
  • A 6-inch metal sewing gauge is more useful for sewing than a tape measure, particularly in hemming where it can be used for keeping a desired measurement.
  • Other items that make sewing a lot easier include a seam ripper -- the sharp, curved edge is used to cut seams open, while the fine point is used to pick out threads; a needle threader, which saves lots of time and frustration; and pinking shears, which have zigzag edges, allowing you to trim fabric without fraying.

Beyond just stocking your sewing kit, you'll want to get everything organized for whatever project might come your way. See the next page for tips.