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Essential Equipment and Supplies

Basic sewing is divided into five processes: measuring, cutting, marking, stitching by hand or machine, and pressing. For each of these tasks, there are essential tools to make the steps easier and the results superior. Build an equipment inventory as you add to your sewing skills.

Hand Sewing Equipment

Needles and pins are available in a variety of sizes and styles for different uses. Look for rustproof needles and pins made of brass, nickel-plated steel or stainless steel. Pins with colored ball heads rather than flat heads are easier to see in fabric and less likely to get lost. The following descriptions relate to the image below:

1) Sharps are all-purpose, medium length needles used for general sewing.

2) Crewels are generally used for embroidery. They are sharp and of medium length.

3) Ballpoint needles are used on knits. Instead of a sharp point which may pierce the fabric, the rounded end pushes the knit loops apart.

4) Betweens are very short and round-eyed. They help make fine stitches in heavy fabric or quilting.

5) Milliner’s needles are long with round eyes, used for making long basting or gathering stitches.

6) Silk pins are used for light to medium-weight fabrics. Size #17. is 1 1/16" (2.6 cm) long; #20 is 1 1/4" (3.2 cm). Both are also available with glass or plastic heads. Extra fine 1 3/4" (4.5 cm) silk pins are easier to see in fabric because of their length.

7) Straight pins in brass, steel or stainless steel are used for general sewing. They are usually 1 1/16" (2.6 cm) long.

8) Pleating pins are only 1" (2.5 cm) long, for pinning delicate fabrics in the seam allowance.

9) Quilting pins are 1 1/4" (3.2 cm) long, used for heavy materials because of their length.

10) Ballpoint pins are used for knits.

11) Thimble protects your middle finger while hand sewing. It is available in sizes 6 (small) to 12 (large) for individual, snug fit.

12) Pin cushion provides a safe place to store pins. Some pin cushions have an emery pack (an abrasive material) attached for cleaning pins and needles. A wrist pin cushion (12a) keeps pins handy.

13) Needle threader eases threading of hand or machine needles.

14) Beeswax with holder strengthens thread and prevents tangling for hand sewing.

 

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Sunday, 2008-08-24 15:43