The Unsung Heroes of the Sewing Basket

Photo of sewing kit items

I’ve been re-discovering my love of sewing recently (see my first skirt here!) and this has meant getting re-acquainted with my sewing kit.

There are some sewing accessories that I believe are essentials to make sewing easier and more enjoyable. They each make tasks faster and/or more accurate. Here are my top favourites that deserve more praise than they get:

Metric & Imperial Measuring Tape

Photo of measuring tape
Many sewing patterns are from the US and so they have imperial measurements. Vintage patterns also have measurements in yards and inches, so having a tape that has both makes it really easy to work in either metric or imperial measurements.

Lots of tapes have centimeters on both sides, so its worth checking what measurements it has before you buy one.

Ruler with Adjustable Seam Width Checker

Photo of a ruler with an adjustable seam measurer
This little ruler is brilliant for checking seam widths as you’re sewing. If you try quilting, you have to get all your seams perfect to ensure the quilt patches line up accurately. This ruler, with the moving plastic middle bit, stays in place so you can measure seams really quickly.

The red points make measuring so fast because you can see if seams are the right size at a glance. Its genius!

Seam Ripper

Photo of a seam ripper
This nasty looking tool is a seam ripper, or as my Mum calls it, a ‘quick unpick’. Unpicking seams is one of the most boring tasks, however this makes it a bit faster.

Glass Headed Pins

Photo of sewing pins
These are really useful for pressing work-in-progress projects as the pin heads wont melt if you iron them (plastic ones will…) and they are easier to find if you drop them that the plain pins without heads.

Zipper Foot

Photo of a sewing machine zipper foot
A zipper foot lets you get in closer to a zipper when you are using a sewing machine, and make a more accurate zip insertion. My Janome sewing machine has clip on feet which makes changing between them really quick.

A little note about sewing machine feet:

Most sewing machines come with several different feet that are designed for different basic tasks – different hems for instance, or button holes. I’ve found that learning a little about how they can be used is well worth the time as they can really improve the finish on a sewing project. For instance, if you want to try machine quilting, you’ll need a special quilting foot that helps to feed through the thickness of the layers of fabric.

However! Not all sewing machines can use different foot options, and some may not allow for others to be used at all. If you’re looking to buy a sewing machine, make sure you check what the deal is with this to make sure you get one that’s going to last you through lots of projects and different sewing needs in the future.

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