Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sewing 101:The Tools

At last! The sewing tutorial I promised! Today we start with the basics: our tools. I'm giving you the tools I use the most, every time I sew. We start with the cast of characters:


How simple is this? Thread, scissors, straight pins, hand needles, machine needles and the pin cushion! Because some of you seem a little less informed than others of you, I'm starting off with the basics. Check it out:



Because I love you and don't want you hurting yourself. The scissors are used for cutting around the pattern pieces. Not for much else. Stick your fingers in the large opening and your thumb in the smaller opening and have fun! But ONLY with fabric. A sharp pair of scissors are a seamstress' best friend.

This little beauty,



the pincushion, will hold these:



and these:



You'll need plenty of straight pins. I like to use primarily the glass head, steel pins. I do a lot of steaming with my lovely iron and the glass heads won't melt, the steel pins won't rust. Good stuff. The pins do several things, including hold pattern pieces to fabric, hold pieces of fabric together till you sew them together, and hold fabric to other things, like a blocking board. They also hold posters on walls, but NOT my glass head pins. Taboo, that is.

Last needle for today is the machine needle:



These are jean needles. The higher the number, the larger the needle. I use a 65 or 70 for heirloom work, or delicate fabric. And here's a tip for those of us whose vision is going: the number of the needle is written on it's shank. That tiny number is DANG hard to see, which can be a problem if you're taking one off your machine and can't remember what size it is. Put it in one of the needle cases and the cover acts as a magnifying glass. You're welcome.

What else do we need? think, think, think. Thread! I knew I was forgetting something! Here's a spool of pink heirloom thread:


Pretty darn simple. Did you know that thread has a grain? You know how if you pull a piece of hair off your head and run your fingers down the strand, one direction is smooth and the other rough? That's the grain. Running your fingers down and it feeling smooth is going with the grain. Rough, against the grain. Thread also has a grain, allowing it to be smooth running through the fabric. Embroidery floss also has a grain. Check for it next time you work with it. You're welcome.

So there you have it. Tools of the trade. Next time I'll show you how to use them.

Until I write again ...

Flea

14 comments:

The Sports Mama said...

So I'm thinkin'....

Those pictures would make AWESOME posters for someone's sewing room, or a craft/fabric store.

The Sports Mama said...

Oh... and while needle and thread might work better than duct tape....

Duct tape is significantly less messy. And less creepy when you look at them.

Jan Parrish said...

Very creative. I thoroughly enjoyed this. Great job.

noble pig said...

This is exactly where I need to start...IN THE BEGINNING...what's a button...just kidding.

Mayberry Magpie said...

You need to teach Home Ec. I think my teenagers could actually sew if you taught them.

Poltzie said...

Ok, so you put the needles in the grain, you use the scissors to cut the needles and you use the pin cushion for the thread!
How about I doing so far?

Karen Deborah said...

Very CLEVER! So Madame Sewing Genius why does thread sometimes wad up in the bobbin casing? AND if you say tension I'm gonna have a cow and mail it.
Tension doesn't help fix it!

Karen Deborah said...

PS so you actually sew the kids mouths shut? Can you get away with that in Tulsa? I just might move.

Tanya Brown said...

Coolness! I didn't know that thread had a grain, but now that you mention it, it makes sense.

imbeingheldhostage said...

Thread has a grain? No wonder I "sew" suck at things like this. Think of all the scout badges I've sewn on with my thread against the grain.
Thanks for the witty tutorial-- I will consider switching from duct tape now :-)

http://www.allenisd.org/web/Images/homecoming6.jpg said...

Think this is too funny. My mom was a home ec major. I was forbidden to ever enter the sewing room again after I used the sewing scissors on paper and then also on the majority of her fabrics. I "get" it mostly, but I was never taught.

anglophilefootballfanatic.com said...

CARP. That was me. Stupid control c.

Ellyn said...

Wow that was imformative.


Sewing their mouths shut. Never thought of that. Kind of gross to do though. I have blood issues.

Daryl said...

My hair feels the same in both directions .. I am SO confused


:-Daryl