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Sewing 101

I can remember constantly sorting through my grandmothers sewing box when I was a child. Every nook and cranny of her large box held so much mystery for me and such importance to her; everything had a name, and she could use every single item in that box with a skill that left a small child in awe. Actually, I was in awe of her until very recently, when I learned to use some of them myself. While sewing looks like it can be difficult, learning the basics can be extremely easy, and once you know them, you can make life so much simpler.

Thanks to the economy, there has been a resurgence of a return to the simpler things. As families work to stretch their dollars as far as possible, and some move to be as self-reliant as they can be, a search for an understanding of sewing can be important. Even more significant is the creation of a sewing kit for your family. Take the time to learn the basics of sewing and how to create a sewing kit for your family. Enjoy the knowledge that you make simple things beautifully and can take care of your family.

Types of Needles

Believe it or not, sewing needles do not come in a one-size-fits-all format. While it is certainly possible to sew with almost any type of needle, knowing the right needle to use can not only save you a lot of time, but it can make your project look beautiful and be even more durable. For example, you might look at a curved needle and think it is the most suitable to sew circles, when in actuality, that needles is used most often in making or repairing upholstery. The most common type of sewing needles are called sharps, and they typically come in a medium length and have a round eye that can easily distinguish them from embroidery needles, which have a longer eye, or quilting needles, which are shorter.

Types of Thread

Next to fabric and a needle, the thread is the most important part of any sewing project. It is, quite literally, that which ties the piece together. The most commonly used types of threads are those that are cotton or a cotton-polyester blend. They are easy to use and are the most durable for everyday use. When you are looking at the numbers on the top of any spool, the first number refers to the diameter of each strand and the second tells you how many plies are twisted together to make the string.  The higher the first number, the finer the strand of thread will be, which can give you a stronger hold.

Basic Types of Sewing

Sewing is an art, and some of the most beautiful things in a home can come from a master seamstress. But you do not have to be a master to support your family and make beautiful things. As a person with knowledge of basic sewing, you can handle almost any task for your family that can extend the life of their clothes and save money in the long run.

Some of the most important basic types of sewing are:

  • Sewing a button
  • Hemming pants
  • Mending clothes
  • Sewing patches on denim

Sewing Supplies

To embark on the journey of becoming a basic sewer for your family, you do not have to buy out your local fabric or home goods stores. In fact, with some simple sewing elements, you can be on your way to sewing in no time.

  • Basic sewing needles
  • Thread
  • Small snipping scissors (keep any scissors used for fabric or thread in the sewing kit to keep them sharp- cutting paper and other materials will dull them quickly)
  • A needle threader (a small wire, typically bent into the shape of a diamond, attached to a small handle that is used to push thread into the eye of a needle, making threading a needle quick and easy)
  • Seam ripper (a staple in any kit, the seam ripper is exactly what it sounds like- this device is used to remove any unwanted stitches or to pick out single threads; the components should be kept sharp to remove stitches without damaging the fabric)
  • Pincushion (a seemingly innocuous sewing supply that has been a staple for many years, the pin cushion is typically made with sawdust and/or wool roving; storage of your pins here not only keeps your family safe, but it extends the life of your straight pins)
  • Bodkin or safety pins (a bodkin looks similar to a needle except that it is thicker, has a wider eye, and is longer with a blunt tip; this device is used to pull elastic or ribbon through fabric, such as in a waist line; if you do not have a bodkin, you can substitute a closed safety pin)
  • Seam gauges (a small ruler with a slide, typically six inches long, used for hand sewing, checking and marking seam allowances, and hemming)
  • Sewing tape measure (cloth tape measures are a must as metal ones are not flexible enough)

One of the biggest keys to being a basic sewer is to have the materials on hand, which is where a sewing kit comes in handy. The other key is practice. Take the time to practice sewing a button in place, even on scrap fabric. Make sure you know how to complete a basic stitch. The more you practice, the fancier you can get with your sewing, and the more you practice, the stronger that skill will be when the time comes that you need it for you or your family.

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