Thursday, March 14, 2013

Supplies to help you get started...

If you're new to sewing, you need a few tools to help you get started. Don't skimp on anything and remember that you get what you pay for. Trust me, Joann coupons will become your best friend!!!!!

FYI- Sewing tools & supplies in the sewing world are called "Notions". Also, I've put as many links as possible for different terms used. CLICKING on ANY picture will direct you to that product on the Joann Website! will need a few things such as...

First- cutting mat. I have several different sizes ranging from small 6"x8" for small projects to 18"x24". I have to admit that this size has been my favorite (as shown). It doesn't take up too much space and it's a pretty good size almost every project. They go up to size 24"x36" perfect for 1 yard of fabric. I am partial to the OLFA brand and love the "self-healing" aspect of it (Fiskars has cutting mats as well). Yes, it's pretty pricey but that's what the coupons are for! Trust me, this is something you will not be able to live without and you want to have a GREAT product that will last for a LONG time!

Second- What's a cutting mat without a ruler? Just a mat for you to eat on, put stuff on, cut food on...haha. You will need a ruler! Now, there are SOOOO many differnet sizes, shapes, and brands. Some with highlighting lines, frosted plastic, grippers...etc. Again, I prefer the OLFA brand and/or the Omnigrid Brand. My "go-to" ruler is the Omnigrid 3"x18" as pictured. I just love this ruler! It's perfect for most projects I do and so easy to read and use.

Next- Rotary cutter! Yay! Seriously, the person who invented this was a serious GENIUS! Can you imagine how women used to cut material??? Everything was done by hand with scissors and pencils marks. I seriously don't have the time (or patience) for that. The rotary cutter is a life saver! AGAIN, I prefer the OLFA brand, but Fiskars makes a pretty good one too. They come in several different styles...some with a grip handle, trigger-type handle, or the plain one as shown. They also come in different sizes as well...such as a 18mm, 28mm, 45mm, and 60mm. I like the 45mm. It's perfect for every project. The smaller ones are good for tiny projects and the 60mm and good when cutting through multiple layers. As with every type of cutter, the blade needs to be replaced eventually. The blades are sold several different ways. Either indiviually, 2-pack, or 5-pack. These are pricey too! Make sure to save those coupons! I've been eyeballing the blades on ebay lately though. That's where I bought my last rotary cutter. You will definitely know when it's time to switch out your blade. Your cutting will skip and it feels amazing putting on a brand spankin' new one! Cuts like butter!

Next on the list- Scissors! You will definitely need these. I have several different sizes for different things. I prefer the Gingher Brand. but I use fiskars as well. I love using the tiny ones for hand stitching. These Gingher shears are pricey as well but Fiskars has scissors that work fine for a fraction of the cost. I marked my Fiskars "Original" with permanent marker "Fabric Only"(for my husband). I have lots of scissors around for paper and don't want my fabric scissors used for ANYTHING but fabric!

Next- Thread! There are so many different types of thread it can be confusing. All the different types are used for different things though. For a sewing machine, you will want to use Machine Quilt Cotton Thread. I use Coats (shown in Camel) and Gutermann but I'm currently exploring other brands such as Aurifill.
For applique projects, you may choose to use transparent thread with a blanket stitch around edges. Transparent Thread can be a royal pain in the butt to use on a machine (no joke) but it looks so good in the end. This can be found in the Specialty Threads section at Joann. 

For hand stitching or embroidery stitching, there is a thick mult-strand thread/teeny tiny thin yarn called Pearl Cotton Thread. It comes in a variety of colors and sizes. It either comes in a ball (as shown) or skein like yarn. I prefer size 8 for hand quilting. It's thick enough to really make an impact. I'll update a picture of a quilt I did with this later. This can be found most likely over by the yarn section at Joann NOT the thread section. I like the DMC brand.

For Hand-done binding, you will want to use Hand Quilting thread. It will say "Quilting" on the label and look thicker than normal thread. I like the Gutermann brand but Coats &Clark make a good one too. Okay, enough about thread! I can go on and on about it because there are seriously hundreds of types & brands. To help you along with binding, these Clover Wonder Clips are awesome! you don't have to use them at first but you'll want to add them to your Notions collection eventually.

Next, you definitely want a Seam Ripper. This will be a life saver for all those dumb mistakes we all make. You know...the ones where you're sitting at your machine sewing and realized after sewing like 10 squares, that you sewed the triangle on the wrong side. That means it's time to stop sewing and do something else. Trust me, once you start making a mistake one will turn into about 3-4 mistakes and lots of frustration. Just stop sewing and GO TO BED! Ya, this little tool is something you will never want to be without on ANY project. It doesn't really matter what brand you choose, they all have the same purpose- to rip seams! I like the ones with the longer handle as shown.

Next on the list, machine needles. Like thread, there are different types of needles-obviously for different types of thread and material. There are needles for denim, leather, quilting, metallic thread, etc. You will want Quilting needles. Better grab a few packs just in case any decide to break on you with the machine AND for when they get dull. Technically you should change your needle with every project but I tend to drag this out as long as possible. I switch mine every few months and man does it feel good when I do. I like the Schmetz Brand.

What's sewing without a pincushion!? Every gal should have a cute one! My sister make mine with a cute pattern by Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. It's the "Truffets" Pattern under Schnibbles Fall 2008. You can just buy a pincushion or start out small on your first sewing project and create one. It's pretty easy to make! Here are some fun tutorials for you to try out! Click Here

Up next are pin needles for your pincushion! I LOVE the flat flower head pins the best. They are so handy! I love the way they glide through fabric, awwww yes. You will also need some hand quilting needles for any hand quilting and binding you plan to do as well.

For Applique projects, you will need to use a fusible web of some sort. I don't do too many "turn-over" projects and prefer to use Lite Steam-A-Seam2. It's so easy to use and works fantastic! It comes in 9"x12" sheets, by the yard, or you can buy a box of 25 yards (over $100, yikes! But so worth it!). I will do a tutorial on how to use this product soon.

Okay, we're coming to the end. You will DEFINITELY want a GOOD iron! At first, any old iron will do BUT you will eventually get the itch for something that wont leak water, has amazing steam, heats up fast, has auto shut off, AND works properly! I have a Rowenta and love it! I would recommend spending the extra money for the Rowenta Steamium or a little more money for the Oliso Smart Iron TG1600. I've used them both and they're both good in different aspects. The steamium has a little steam button under the handle where your fingers are that's quite convenient! The Oliso Smart Iron is able to stay faced down so it won't fall over. I bought my Rowenta at Bed, Bath & Beyond and used a 20% off coupon because Joann doesn't accept their coupons on Irons. Of course, you will need an ironing board or mat as well.

Last but not least is a Sewing Machine!!! Duh! Unless you have some mad pro skills at keeping straight lines and a ridiculously amount a free time on your hand- feel free to hand sew! Now, there are many different brands of sewing machines. Which one should you choose? Well that's up to you and your wallet. It's like I said at the beginning of this get what you pay for. If you cheapen out on a machine, it most likely isn't made AS durably with quality material and may not last as long as you would like it to. I'll leave it at that. I started out using an old Singer my mom had but it was giving me trouble with my thread all the time and really getting on my nerves! So, I switched to a different machine and the same thing happened, ack! Then I tried another extra machine my mom had on hand- a commercial Brother machine. I Love it! It works awesome and it's so fast! I'm a fast quilter so this is important for me! Whether you decide to go digital or not is a personal preference. You will definitely want a few styles of stitches and not be limited to just a simple "running" stitch. I would suggest a "zig-zag" stitch and a "blanket" stitch on a machine. Click on those word to find out what those mean. It takes some serious cash to spend on a good machine, we're talking $1000's. My mom's machine was around $3500, but it has ALL the bells & whistles and I love using it! Start small and work your way up, as you get better you can upgrade. PFAFF, Brother, Singer, JUKI, Elna, & Bernina are all great brands! BUT before spending some serious dough in a machine, make sure you do some serious research and try it out at a local sewing machine "dealer" if you can.

Well, those are some basic Notions that will make life worth living in the quilt world. You will not regret buying any of these. Let me know if you have any questions using any of these products. 


Happy Quilting!

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