If you’ve made a New Year’s Resolution to get crafty and learn to sew in 2017, you could be forgiven for not knowing where to start.
You’ll probably want to invest in a suitable sewing machine at some point, although there’s no reason why you can’t try some smaller projects – especially accessories, rather than full clothes items – using a careful hand stitch instead, if you have the patience.
Simplicity sewing patterns include plenty of craft designs and accessories suitable for hand-stitching, and with patterns priced from just a few pounds each you can learn to sew on the tightest of budgets.
But what else will you need in your sewing kit? Our Getting Started guide has you covered, whether you plan to stitch by hand, on a sewing machine, or a combination of both.
The first thing you’ll want is a plentiful supply of pins and needles – basic dressmaker pins, straight hand sewing needles, and a needle threader unless you have the patience of a saint.
Get some proper fabric shears, fabric markers or tailor’s chalk, a ruler and tape measure; plenty of good quality thread, and a thimble if you’re sewing thick or heavy fabric, or find your fingers particularly susceptible to finding the pointy end of the needle when you don’t intend to.
For machine sewing, even the most basic of sewing machines should be good enough for a beginner to learn to sew, and remember you need specific machine needles – you can’t just clamp a normal hand needle into a machine and use it.
Again you’ll need suitable thread, and you’ll also need a bobbin, which is the small extra spool of thread usually hidden away in the bottom of the sewing machine; look on the reverse of a machine stitch and you’ll see this second straight thread running through the main stitch, so be careful to choose the right colour.
There are a few other accessories – oil for machine maintenance, a small screwdriver to change the needle, and a zipper foot (instead of the standard presser foot) for very close seams like the edges of a zip, but many of these are things you can add later as you learn to sew more adventurous designs