Complete any task easier by having the right tools and knowing how to properly use them. Sewing, especially, is a prime example. Before you begin a sewing project, whether it is hand-sewn or machine-stitched, as simple as a pillow, or as complex as a quilt, there are a few tools you need to make sure you have on hand.
There is no replacement for a quality pair of scissors in your sewing basket. It's important that these scissors be used for cutting cloth, string and patterns only. Using them to cut paper will dull your blades, creating a less-smooth edge for seams and hems. It may also snag more delicate materials. Using scissors on anything other than fabric can also soil the blade, putting stains on the fabrics you're cutting.
Typically sewing scissors are 8 to 10 inches long, but custom scissors are typically available in the sewing department of a craft store in a variety of sizes. The more expensive scissors are often put together with a small screw, this can be removed and the blades separated for sharpening, which is a more cost-effective long-term solution than replacing scissors as they become dull.
Buttonhole or Seam Gauge
Buttonhole and seam gauges, while styled slightly differently, are used to perform the same function. They are not only used only space buttonholes or seams, but also to space pleats, make tucks, or measure hems. Either of these tools is useful to space anything that must remain consistent across an entire project.
These are available in multiple shapes and sizes, and perform several functions. Their primary purpose is to safely store pins, with their points buried inside a cushion, but the cushion is often made a material which sharpens the pin as it's inserted, keeping it from becoming dull as the result of multiple uses. These can be purchased with several useful features, the most common of which include a magnetic center to help pick up dropped pins. Wristbands are another easy-to-use feature, with the pins worn on the wrist for easy access.
These small hook-shaped knives are especially important tools to have in your beginner’s kit. Sometimes things do not go exactly as planned and you need to remove stitches, if you try to do this by pulling on the fabric, it is extremely likely that you will damage your project, and need to cut new pieces. By sliding the seam ripper into the stitches, you are able to remove sections of stitching completely without tearing the material.
Misty Barton has been working in the fields of composition and journalism for over 10 years. She has a Bachelor of Science in English education and a Master of Arts in English and composition. She has written for various online publications including a blog that specifically addresses the concerns of work-at-home mothers.