Monday, January 10, 2011

Tools for the "beginner" sewer

Even though I have been sewing for years, mostly home decorating, and now jumping my way into the deep end of the garment pool. I am finding that the tools for sewing really make all the difference between being a happy sewer or a struggling, unhappy sewer. I pick A. These are only a few of the wonderful tools out there and for me, have made sewing so much easier.

1. A book called Fit for Real People by Pati Palmer and Marta Alto. This book shows you how to get a better fit. One day, I read it cover to cover while hanging out with my kiddos at Chuck E.Cheese of all places. Since then, I can make adjustments to any pattern based on the pictures of this book, so helpful to the visual learner!

Not the best picture because of the reflection of the paper but you can see the fit as you go process, it works pretty well.
2. The Pin it hem marker! Oh, I can't tell out how much this has helped. I hate asking hubby after a hard day at work to pin up a hem for me. With the pin it, I put my dress on the my dress form and mark it all the way around and then hem it up. It comes out even! Hooray! This is a vintage item, I found mine on eBay for under ten dollars.

3. My homemade dress form. Yes, we made it. One day last year, Hubby taped me up with about 5 rolls of duct tape.The idea is that you will get a form that is your exact body, which is scary for me but great for dressmaking. Check it out here. Here is a you-tube video too. I think because of this form my hems come out even, since the form is shaped like my front and back, everything hangs like it would on me. If you are going to try this, stuff your form really well, mine has deflated a bit over the last year but I am going to open her up and get her adjusted. Other than that she has been great to use!
This was a fun day at our house, my kids were jumping around saying" Papa I want one too, please tape me up."

Here's the result, not bad! You have to stuff her from time to time but she was inexpensive and accurate for dress making. I like having a bra on her, so I know how low my neckline is getting!.

4. Seam ripper, need I say more, we have a love/hate relationship for sure!

5. Scissors, and thread scissors. These little thread scissors are my constant companion while sewing. My hand got so use to using them that I don't cut threads off without them very well. Love these!

6. Marking pins, I have tried to sew without marking, it doesn't work very well.

7. Invisible zipper foot. I am glad I brought one, I am trying to put in only invisible zippers not very vintage of me, but gee they look so much better.

8. I also found that I needed hanging space in my sewing area.  I had pins and fabric bunched up on my counter, now I hang all my projects and can get to them quickly. I found this shelf/hanger in one of our closets, unused, so we popped it up and it works great to keep me organized.

 These are my top few tools, I am keeping in mind not to collect too much stuff, I find when I have too much, my things get in the way and I don't enjoy the hunting, cleaning, sifting through "stuff" to get to that item that will help.  
Have a wonderful Vintage day!


  1. Thank you so much for this post. Sometimes, on other blogs, even the posts designed for beginners are still a little complicated ;) This is perfect x

  2. Gina...this is a terrific post full of inspiration for all of us.

    I also pin as I sew...I am finding this really helps a great deal :)

    Also the dress form - I am in the process of loosing weight, so I will have to make one that will have my accurate body measurements when my challenge is all set and done :)

    I like your kitchen...


  3. Kerry, I am so glad it was helpful and easy to receive, I was trying to post only what makes sense and really WORKS for me as I sew. I too, have read blogs and thought the same thing, too complicated for a beginner.
    Maria, I want to encourage you by saying I have gain some weight over this year but find that my dress form still works pretty well, although I don't quite understand that, I guess it has the same general curves and such. I also made it my exact height. I hope you will give it a try when you reach your goal. Good luck! You both are so kind with your comments. Have a fabulous vintage day!

  4. I REALLY want a dress form, I have read over and over the tutorials in but I never decide to do it, I guess I am going to do it after winter ends....I am cold now....hehehe
    I have never seen than thing you post in number 3 but seems to be very useful.

  5. Lizzy, The dress form has been super nice to have. I know if it fits on her it fits on me! The pin it is really nice too, makes hem much easier!

  6. Was given a free unused sewing machine today and looked over your blog and must say it's very helpful.

  7. K.D. Storm- good luck, sewing is worth it. The one who keeps running wins the race. So stay steady, learning a little at a time, embracing mistakes as learning tools and all will work out well. Happy sewing!