Equipment and Devices needed in Sewing

It is rightly said that the tools make the art more obvious. It means that whatever art or activity you are going to perform you need to be equipped with all the essential tools and devices. Sometimes a person is very much skilled and possesses all the competencies, yet there are certain restrictions due to non-working devices and equipment which make it really impossible for the person to show his talent.

Sewing is a totally machine driven activity. It demands from the sewing person that all the devices are checked for the perfect working so that all of the sewing activities run smoothly and without any error. Below are some of the equipment which you will need, if you are interested in learning the art of sewing.

  • Sewing machine: This is a machine used for stitching fabric and other materials together with thread. Most people prefer to use a machine than sew by hand because it is considerably faster and much neater. Sewing machines are favored by anyone who is looking to sew for commercial purposes as it is easier to create a standardized product.
  • Sewing Shears: These come in different types. The bent-handled shears are 7-8 inches long and they are suitable for cutting fabric. This is because their blades rest flat on the cutting surface. The pinking shears on the other hand cuts a zigzag edge. They are therefore suitable for finishing hem edges and seams. These should never be used for cutting out a garment because they will not give out an accurate cut line of the fabric. All shears should be exceptionally sharp, otherwise they may cause irreparable damage to the material that is being cut.
  • Cardboard measuring mat – This piece of equipment makes it much easier to cut a pattern or material when you are preparing the pieces that you need to sew. In addition, it can be used to offer protection to the surface that you are cutting on, so that there is no damage that is incurred from the sharp edges of the scissors.
  • Trimming Scissors- These are 6-inch-long scissors that are used for trimming and clipping seams. They are lighter than the sheers, and designed to cut through materials which are considerable thinner. Like the shears, they should always be sharp. They are multi-purpose in nature and can also be used to cut other things that are related to your sewing.
  • Tailor’s Chalk – This is a thin piece of hard chalk that is used in tailoring for making temporary alteration marks on clothing. It can direct the tailor on where he needs to sew on a cut fabric. It easily rubs off, so one does not need to worry that there will be marks left that will affect the final product.
  • Needles – These come in a whole range of sizes including different lengths and thicknesses. However, they can be divided into three main types which are the small, medium and large needles. Small needles are used on light and soft material such as delicate silk, while big needles are for rough, thick and heavy materials such as tweed and wool. Needles will be used for basting, sewing buttons on and when mending torn clothes. They are basically used on handwork. Sewing machines also have needles as they are required to ensure the thread holds the cloth together. There are needles that are used for decorative work, such as embroidery.
  • A tracing wheel – This is a tool that has a couple of teeth on a wheel and a handle. The teeth can either be smooth or serrated. A tracing wheel can be used for different purposes during sewing including the following:
    • It is used to transfer pattern markings to fabrics. It can be used in the presence of a tracing tapper or in its absence. The markings that you can transfer from patterns are for instance darts, pleats, notches, buttonholes, and placement lines for pockets as well as appliques.
    • It also makes slotted perforations. This makes it easier to sew along a line to prevent any sewing from being crooked.
  • Dressmaker’s carbon paper – This will be used together with the tracing wheel and it functions just the same way as normal carbon paper. It is available in different colors. When you are looking at making markings which are quire discreet, you will opt to use this instead of the tracing chalk.
  • Measuring tape or tape measure – This is normally a 60 inch long measuring device that will be used to take body measurements, for drafting patterns and also for measuring fabrics. The soft and the flexible one work best. When you see a person who is skilled at sewing, they will usually have their tape measure close by, hanging loosely around the neck. This is because you will use the tape measure quite often.
  • Iron box and small ironing boards that work on any flat surface. You will need an iron box to remove wrinkles from a fabric or a completed project to make it look neat. The ironing board should be portable, small in size and heat resistant. For ironing in the process of sewing, it is best to use a dry iron box than a steam iron box.
  • Sturdy thread – Using thread that is very light could cause a jam in your machine as it is prone to get knotted up. In addition, it can break easily, leading to repeated threading of needles.
  • Seam ripper (an absolute must for removing stray stitches and icky seams). It should always be handled well as it can destroy the fabric.
  • Straight pins, small to medium sized. These will help a lot when you are cutting and sewing materials. They are able to keep materials in place to prevent you from making any mistakes in the cuts. Avoid use of dull pointed pins and those that are rusty; they will end up destroying your fabric.
  • A Pin Cushion- This is a cotton-stuffed cushion that can be cut and sewn in many different shapes. It is useful for keeping the pins in place. It will help you work conveniently when placed on your waist especially if you are working on a project that requires use of a lot of pins.
  • Yardstick or a Meter stick- This is used to measure fabric and to check grain line. It can also be used for marking a long straight line and in measuring hem lengths. You will need it once you start advancing your sewing skills.
  • Cutting table- Also called the cutting bard. You will need to place a flat board on a table which you will use as a cutting board where you will lay the fabric out for cutting. You can pin your fabric securely to the board for easier cutting. This way, you will accurately cut it to the desirable shape.
  • L- square: This will come in handy when you are constructing perpendicular lines with divisional parts that are located in longer and shorter arms.
  • Ruler: This will help you to connect the shorter lines that you have marked off in centimeters and inches.
  • Sewing Gauge: This gauge goes up to 6 inches. It has a movable indicator that helps in measuring short lengths.
  • Hem Gauge: This is another kind of measuring device that is marked with different depths and hem folds. It is basically useful when you are hemming grain edges straight.
  • Hip Curve- This is used for shaping and connecting points that are slightly curved. Just like the tape measure, it has inches measurements at the front and centimeter measurements on the other side.
  • Beeswax or Candle- This will be useful for strengthening your thread. It can also be used as a lubricant, for making the thread easier to use whenever you are handling hand sewing projects like sewing in a button.
  • Sewing Box- This serves as a utility box for any tailor. Sewing tools like pins, thread, thimbles, and others can be kept in this box so that you can always get them when you need them. Sewing boxes are different and they vary in style, such as the compartmentalized and non-compartmentalized box. A compartmentalized sewing box is practical because all your tools can always be properly arranged. You need one so that you will not lose anything that you will need on your next sewing project.
  • Thimble- This is a very important tool in sewing. It can either be plastic or metallic. It is basically used when hand sewing in order to ensure that the finger is safe from needle pricking. You need a fitted thimble in order to sew comfortably. It will also boost your confidence since you are sure that the needle will not hurt you.
  • Emery Bag- You will use this one to thrust your needles and pins. It will sharpen the needles and the pins as well as removes rust if any. This way, you do not need to worry about damaging your materials while in the process of sewing.
  • A tailor’s ham – This is also called a dressmaker’s ham. It looks like a pillow in the shape of a ham that is tightly stuffed. It is used as a mold when you are pressing on curves like collars and sleeves.