Fabric, Paper, Glue, & Other Essential Supplies - Part 2

In this mini-series, I'm introducing you to all my "essential" supplies - the items I keep on hand for all my crafting needs. Be sure to go back and check out my essential painting supplies. This week, we're talkin' sewing supplies.

If there was ever a crafting hobby where supplies can make all the difference, it's sewing. I'm confident I haven't even discovered some do-or-die sewing goodies, but for now, these are the items that make up my toolkit (in addition to a sewing machine, of course).

Sewing Supplies 1Sewing Supplies 2

Read on for the full list.

Marking Tools:  My go-to marking tools are a water-soluable fabric pen and chalk marking tool.  Both of these should be readily available in the notions aisle of your local fabric store.

Seam Ripper:  Oh, man.  This is eeeee-ssential if you ever plan on making a mistake.  I don't know if it speaks to how many mistakes I make, but I actually have 3 of these puppies just so that I can lay them around everywhere when I'm mid-project such that the moment when I realize I've sewn something incorrectly and begin cursing and when I'm on a path to correction is as short as possible.  Again, look in the notions aisle.

Thread Clipper:  They're just sort of like mini-scissors.  I keep them by my machine while I'm sewing to clip the threads at the end of my seams.  Notions aisle.

Fabric Shears:  This is something you can spend a lot of money on.  My parents got me these Fiskar scissors a few years ago.  They're on the cheap side, and I've had no complaints.  But you do want to keep separate scissors for cutting fabric.

Pinking Shears:  Again, these can get expensive.  Mine were not.  I think they were the cheapest ones they had at Joann, and I used a coupon.  They're fine for the number of times that I use them, which is primarily to cut seam allowances on something where they might be seen (e.g. the inside of a pillow cover) or for particularly thready fabrics.

Rotary Cutter, Self-Healing Cutting Mat, & Clear Ruler:  If you're not totally invested in sewing, these could feel like a bit of an investment (both in money and space).  Get yourself a coupon (or 3), clear out a space behind your couch, and just buy them.  They make every cut about a gazillion times easier.  I have a pretty big cutting mat (particularly considering the size of my apartment) - 24" x 36", but I love it.  And bonus:  You can use the cutting mat for cutting paper (stay tuned for those supplies later).

Bias Tape Maker:  It's a simple little tool that basically folds a strip of fabric into double fold bias tape for you.  I don't use this for quilting, because I use single fold bias tape, which is easy enough to make. I use this for bias tape for the edges of things.  I put some serious mileage on this thing for our wedding centerpieces, which used up about 5 yards of fabric worth of bias tape.  These are in the notions aisle and they sell in them in lots of different sizes.  I believe mine makes a 1/2" bias tape from 2" wide fabric.

Assorted Needles:  You should be able to pick up a little wheel of needles from the notions aisle that are literally marked "assorted craft needles."  They're just all shapes and sizes.  I also like to have a super long upholstery needle for think projects (like tufting, for example). Mine is pointed on both ends.  You should be able to find something similar in the upholstery notions area of the fabric store.

Quilting Pins:  These are the pins that I use to make my "sandwich" in quilting.  They look like regular safety pins, but are bent in the middle.

Straight Pins

I hate when I get an idea for a project and then I don't have the correct fasteners or clasps or whatnot, so I keep a small stash of all different kinds of these sorts of things.  That's what this little collection covers.

Zippers:  I keep a few multi-purpose ones on hand in different colors.  Because these are sew to size, you might as well spend the extra buck for the longer ones just in case.

Buttons:  I have so many buttons.  Partially from buying buttons on clearance.  Partially because my late grandmother used to work at a shirt factory, and she had all these buttons that she would keep in these little plastic containers.  There's just something about a little recycled plastic chicken salad container full of miscellaneous buttons that warms my heart instantaneously.  Honestly, I can't say that I use them that much, but for some reason, I think I need them.


Hook & Eye Closures

Velcro:  I recommend the sew-on kind (vs. the stick-on kind).  I find them to be more versatile.  If I really want to stick them on, I can just use some permanent fabric glue.

Rivets:  You've seen me use them before around here to attach leather straps to bags.  As I've said before, I recommend starting with a little starter kit like this one.  It comes with all different sizes of rivets and a setting tool.  It will get you comfortable with how they work and the size of rivet that you need for the kinds of projects that you'll be working on.



Magnetic Clasp:  I use these for just about every bag I make.  They're a little expensive (about a buck a piece at the craft store), but they're so easy to install.

Fabric-Covered Buttons:  You can buy these in all sorts of sizes.  If you've never used them before, you'll get so excited when you use them.  They're super easy and make projects look pretty professional instantaneously.

Setting Tools:  You'll need a setting tool for rivets, grommets, and snaps.  For the rivets, you'll get one if you get yourself a little starter kit like the one I recommended.  Otherwise, you might have to buy one on its own.  Grommets and snaps often come with one, or they'll be available separately right along side the grommets or snaps in the notions aisle.  Make sure you get the right size, and you label them so you don't end up having to buy a new one every time you buy yourself grommets or snaps.  All of them will require a hammer.

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