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Sewing Doctor -- Tools

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Chatter - Anything and everything' started by claireshaeffer, Dec 22, 2020.

  1. claireshaeffer

    claireshaeffer Trade Member

    Vintage garments often require some conservation or minor repairs. This is an inexpensive sewing kit to get you started. It includes the basic tools you need for most repairs. Think long term and buy the best you can afford; you never know when you'll find a fabulous silk dress at a thrift shop.

    Store your tools together in a bag or box so they're easy to retrieve when needed. In some households, it's helpful to hide them so they won't be misused.

    The tools:
    Seam ripper-a new qood quality seam ripper. An old seam ripper is more time consuming to use and difficult to control. I like a ripper with a sharp point on the end so I can cut a single machine stitch.

    Shears-good quality stainless steel sheers like Fiskars; and if possible a pair of 5” trimmers.

    Needles-Size 8 embroidery (crewel) needles are a good choice for most sewing. These needles have a large eye. They are large enough to sew through most thick fabrics and small enough to leave no needle holes in fine silks.

    Needle threader (optional)- a needle threader is a time saver. Choose one that has both ends of the wire hidden in the handle.

    Marking chalk—white only. Colors leave stains and disappearing pen marks may return later. A sliver of white soap with no oils is a good substitute.

    Tape measure—a fiberglass tape measure that won’t stretch. It’s easier to use if begins numbering at both ends and has inches and millimeters. Old paper and cloth tape measures may not be accurate.

    Pins—fine pins are best for most garments. I keep my new pins in the original box and my used pins in another box. When working on delicate fabrics, I use only new pins and sometimes fine needles (sizes 10-12). I like flower head pins for laces, loosely woven fabric, and bulky knits.

    Band-aids—place on the third finger of your sewing hand if you don’t use a thimble. They’re also handy if you have a cutting accident.

    Did I neglect your favorite tool? If so, please add it.

    Another day we'll discuss supplies--threads, zippers, snaps, hooks and eyes.
  2. denisebrain

    denisebrain VFG President Staff Member


    (Why didn't I think of that? :duh2: )
  3. Midge

    Midge Trade Member

    Oh yes, the seam-ripper... I've gone through a few over the years :). It's one of my absolute essentials!

    I have too many things to keep in a box - I have a small metal cabinet on wheels that has drawers and for which insets with partitions for smaller things - except for fabrics and other larger things, I keep all sewing and crafting accessories in there, also my patterns and buttons. So I like to have something to have all those small things that I need for what I am working on handy - the small scissors, thread, the seam ripper, buttons, labesl that need resewing... I have been making these thingies - really easy to make and good for using up fabric remnants (quilting fabrics are ideal). And when I move from my sewing table to the sofa to do hand sewing in front of the TV, I have everything on hand to carry over:


    Also, a pin cushion - for those pins and needles that I need right now - depending on what I am doing I have smaller and bigger needles at the ready, and sometimes a quick change of sewing machine needle is required, so that's where I keep that handy too.
    The Vintage Merchant likes this.
  4. claireshaeffer

    claireshaeffer Trade Member

    Karin, I love those flat boxes for travel and holiday items like Christmas cards. The boxes I made tie at the corners.
    Do you have your directions handy? If not, I can copy mine from Sew A Beautiful Gift.
    The Vintage Merchant likes this.
  5. Midge

    Midge Trade Member

    Claire, I found this in a German book that I bought for some gift ideas - so unfortunately not something I could post quickly. I could put a little tutorial together in the new year with some photos :).
  6. claireshaeffer

    claireshaeffer Trade Member

    That would be super! Just think--we'll have an opportunity to travel again next year.
  7. pastperfect2

    pastperfect2 Trade Member

    I've been using band-aids as thimbles for years! I feel so validated.

    I like to have a small, fine crochet hook for bringing thread pulls to the reverse side.
  8. claireshaeffer

    claireshaeffer Trade Member

    Hollis, small crochet hooks are also great for unpicking. I use calyx eyed-needles for pulling threads to other side. The crochet hook is probably a better choice and easier to find especially if you have a small box.
    Many of my students resisted thimbles and finding one that fits isn't easy.

    Like Karin, I have lots of tools and supplies, but I keep the basics in a small box that's easy to find.

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