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Sewing Room Essentials
1) First and foremost, you need a sewing machine!
Perhaps the most essential item for your sewing room
The most obvious thing you need in your sewing room essentials is a sewing machine!
You can have the most basic machine with only 13 stitches, or you can have the most expensive machine that can sew anything and make your coffee for you to boot.
It doesn’t matter what machine you have, only that you have a machine. Once you have a machine, you’ll need a few more items on this sewing room essentials list…
(If you’re curious, you can read my post about the best sewing machine for beginners, and which one I recently purchased.)
2) Sewing table
Now that you have machine to sew with you need a place to put it. A dedicated sewing table is a great item to make sewing more comfortable.
It also has the added benefit of recessing the machine to allow your sewing surface to be closely aligned to the table itself.
That way you have a somewhat level surface to push your fabric through without getting tangled up or stuck on something.
I don’t personally have the space for a sewing table, but if I were to get one it would be this one. I hope to someday have a dedicated sewing space.
3) Iron and ironing board
If you have a cheap iron you can get the job done. If you have a quality iron you will enjoy getting the job done.
A fancy steam iron can make a huge difference in your pressing. An ironing board can also make a huge difference. I’m currently still using the cheap ironing board I’ve had for longer than I can remember.
The board itself is uneven and shifts when I iron something. I need a new one. I’ve been thinking about an ironing mat. Here is the one I’ve got my eye on. Anyone have this and recommend it? Let me know in the comments. Update: I received one of these for Christmas and love it! (Thanks, Sis!)
Having a good iron will save you lots of headaches in the long run.
The iron I have is a Rowenta. Its been through a lot in the couple years I’ve had it and still going strong. It’s even survived a drop or two on the floor. (I recommend not dropping your iron :S)
4) Thread assortment
It is essential that you have quality thread in your sewing room.
I know it’s tempting to skimp and save money on thread, but you’ll not only get a higher quality project, but you’ll have a better experience too. It’ll save you headaches.
It doesn’t matter whether you sew quilts, clothes, or bags, a good assortment of thread to match your project is essential to achieving the professional look.
It would be nice to have the array of rainbow colors on display at your local sewing supplier. I enjoy looking at the thread displays whenever I go in.
Or do what I do, and buy a new spool when you start a new project and don’t have a coordinating color.
I’m slowly building up my stash of thread. When I get to the point where I can invest in some good thread, I want an Aurifil kit. It comes with several colors, and it’s some pretty good stuff.
Another thread I’ve been hearing about lately is Gütermann. Is this stuff really as good as they say?
5) Fabric stash
Another essential item for your sewing room.
If you are already a sewist, you probably understand the unique attraction to fabric.
You can look at a fabric and fantasize about all the projects you could make.
It’s pretty easy to spend an unhealthy portion of your income on fabric. Just be careful when building your stash.
You can do what I did at the beginning and shop clearance bins and build up a little starter stash of a variety of fabrics so you have something to work with.
Some people will buy fabric for specific projects and just get an extra couple yards to add to the stash. Either way, you’ll need some good-looking fabrics.
(Comment below if you’ve come across any good online fabric stores. I’m looking for a trustworthy online source that I know I’ll get good quality fabric when I order.)
This is one of my favorite sewing room essentials, fabric is so much fun!
Interestingly, pins are something you might overlook when starting out. However, in order to alter garments or hold something in place prior to sewing, you’ll need some.
The specific pins you get will vary by the type of sewing you do. I have some that have little flowers on the ends.
Wonder clips are also a very nice alternative to pins as they don’t require piercing the fabric.
7) Fabric scissors are essential for your sewing room
Every sewist needs a pair of high-quality fabric scissors dedicated to cutting fabric only.
If you skimp on anything when setting up your sewing room, don’t skimp on fabric scissors.
You can find good deals and discounts to save a little, but make sure you invest in a quality pair of fabric scissors.
I recommend a pair of Ginghers. I just got myself a pair and they’re the bomb.
8) Rotary cutter and cutting mat
The best way to cut large pieces of fabric is by far the rotary cutter and mat.(I need to upgrade my cutter, this is the one I want) You can make precision cuts in much less time than with scissors. (You still need scissors, however.)
I have a mat that is 18″x24″ and I find that for most projects is adequate. I have a pretty basic rotary cutter. I can change blades on it, and I currently have a pinking blade on it so I have less frays to worry about.
It’s pretty nice.
9) Pattern weights
You can use pretty much anything as a pattern weight.
I’ve seen people use large washers, stones, small sand bags, and even random things from the sewing room.
You can use anything for this but it’s nice to have a cute dedicated set of weights.
Use your creativity and make some. 4-5 should be enough for most patterns.
Here are some that look cool if you want to order some rather than make them. (I have not used these, but this is the style I would get if ordering.)
10) Acrylic ruler
After fumbling around with a 36″ aluminum ruler I use for photo printing, I’ve concluded that its cumbersome and clunky and decided to purchase a clear 3″x 18″ acrylic ruler designed for fabric.
It has made a difference like you wouldn’t believe. It’s easier to position and hold in place.
And being clear acrylic, I can see through to make sure I’m where I’m supposed to be.
11) Tailor’s chalk
Tailor’s chalk is used to mark material for cutting and hemming and pretty much anything else you might need to mark material for.
It easily makes its mark without damage or staining the material and brushes or washes away. It comes in multiple colors.
I prefer the white for darker material and the blue or red for lighter material.
I just bought some Ogrmar Professional Tailor’s chalk for myself and it has made marking the fabric a lot easier.
This is something I need to work on myself.
I don’t have any storage for my equipment or material. It’s piled on top of my large photo printer.
In order to get to something, I have to unload the whole thing.
It’s extremely tedious and time consuming.
Don’t be like me when it comes to sewing room storage.
How do you store your fabric?
13) Seam ripper
Most people have a seam ripper, even if you aren’t a professional or hobbyist sewist.
Most people also don’t know the most efficient way to use a seam ripper.
If you take the side with the little red ball on it and place that under the seam, and then run the seam ripper for the length of seam you wish to rip, you can achieve an effectively ripped seam in seconds rather than minutes or hours.
Don’t sit there and pick out one stitch at a time with the pointy end. Also, you run the risk of snagging the fabric and causing a tear as well.
(Maybe someday I’ll write a post about all my embarrassing newbie bad habits.)
Here’s a link to my brother-in-law’s woodworking site. He made a seam ripper with a walnut handle. (This is NOT an affiliate link, he just makes a really good quality seam ripper.) Check out his other stuff while you’re there. He’s pretty talented.
14) Adequate lighting
If there is one thing I hear sewists complain about it’s their struggle with bad eyesight and poor lighting.
Get a good lamp to put near your sewing machine. It will save your eyes so much strain.
If you don’t already wear glasses it can be the difference that staves off your need of bifocals.
If you do wear glasses, you already know the benefits of good lighting.
Here’s a good lamp that clamps to the table and has a long arm to position it how you want it.
15) Cutting table
While this item is last on the sewing room essentials list, it is certainly not the least important.
It will make your cutting much easier if you have a dedicated space to do it.
A cutting table is one of those things you can put to good use if you have one, or you can keep using your kitchen table with a cutting mat if you don’t have the space for a dedicated cutting table.
Personally, I’m using the kitchen table for now.
There is a really good table I have used before but don’t currently own. It’s a 4′ adjustable height folding table that you can fold up and keep out of the way when not in use.
I don’t have the space for a dedicated sewing room myself, but hopefully someday. I have to get out my stuff every time I sew.
Set up, tear down.
Set up, tear down.
It gets old, but it’s all I’ve got for now. And I like to sew more than I dislike setting up and tear down my stuff.
What sewing room essentials do you have in your sewing room that I didn’t mention here? Comment below and let me know.
Also, I am working on starting a sewing newsletter.
You can subscribe to it at the top of the page in the side bar.
By signing up now, you would ensure you don’t miss my very first one!
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