Before you start dressmaking, make sure you have some space in which to work and somewhere to put your sewing equipment. Once you have dedicated an area of your home to your new hobby, you can start to assemble your kit – but what are the essentials and what are the ‘nice to haves’?
What to buy for your starter pack
You will need a good pair of fabric scissors or shears. Buy a middle-range pair and make sure that they are only used for fabric cutting if you want them to stay sharp. Add pins, a tape measure that measures both inches and centimetres, a pack of mixed hand sewing needles, and dressmaking pencils or tailors chalk. A great thing to use for chalk on dark fabrics is a very thin piece of a soap – use what is left when you are done with the bar in the bath. Now you are ready to join almost one million people who have taken up sewing over the past three years in the UK.
Once you have chosen your project, you can invest in dress making fabrics or other suitable materials. Although a machine is not essential, it does speed things up. An iron is a major part of dressmaking, and an ironing board will certainly make it easier to use the iron.
You can live without small scissors or nippers, but they do make sewing so much easier. The same goes for a seam ripper and an additional pair of cheapish scissors that can be used for things other than fabric. You will also see the value of a magnet and pincushion after you have dropped your box of pins a few times! These additional items can often be bought from local sewing shops or online. Fabrics can also be bought online from suppliers such as http://www.quality-fabrics.co.uk/dressmaking-fabrics-14-c.asp.
For patterns, you will need a ruler, pencil and eraser to make adjustments; for your machine, it is wise to invest in extra bobbins and a cleaning brush to clean out your machine. A large artist’s bristle paintbrush works well.
These essentials should have you covered to complete your sewing project and leave you with the desire to keep stitching. As you go along, you will undoubtedly add to your sewing box.