Holiday Gift Guide for Sewing
This is the sewing gift guide you've been looking for! These are my favorite online sewing finds. I buy most of my sewing supplies online, and I've personally tested out everything I'm recommending here. I use all of these items regularly, and in many cases, I've spent a lot of time finding just the right tool, so I've also tested out the competition.
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Sewing Gift Guide
I didn't know I could have such strong feelings about scissors, but after you've used a pair of Ginghers, you'll never go back. These scissors are angled so that you can cut without shifting your pattern or fabric around. They have a knife edge, and a lifetime sharpness guarantee. They're a little pricey, but they're 100% worth it.
Not only are these scissors beautiful, but they're perfect for more delicate cutting needs. If you need to clip a piece to remove bulk or trim close to a line of stitching, these scissors are perfect for the job. Similar to the dressmaker's shears, they're very sharp, but they're more maneuverable for precision cutting.
These thread clippers are similar to the embroidery scissors, but they allow you to cut even closer to the fabric. They can also be used to puncture a hole in fabric when you need to cut into the middle of a piece of fabric, as the ends are very sharp.
When I first started sewing, I used a larger 45mm Fiskars rotary cutter, and I really struggled with it. I had trouble controlling it when cutting around curves or sharp angles. It fought me every step of the way, and I cut myself on it more than once. I had nearly resigned myself to just not having the necessary skills to use a rotary cutter. The 28mm Olfa rotary cutter was a game changer for me. The smaller size allows for greater control, the blades are higher quality, and the design of the cutter just worked better for me. My pattern cutting time was dramatically reduced by this tool, which is great because it leaves more time for sewing!
I really like Fiskars' cutting mats, however. Get the biggest mat you can afford because it will make your life so much easier in the long run. This particular mat is large enough for most projects, but small enough to easily store when you're not using it. I like the fact that Fiskars prints the grid on both sides of the mat, so you can use either the white or the gray side, depending on the color of your fabric. This way, it's easy to see what you're doing by selecting the best contrasting mat color. It also means that you get two mats in one, if one side starts to get sliced up. It is self-healing, but these mats do wear out over time.
I have several rulers, but this one is my favorite by far. It's long enough to use for bigger projects, but great for smaller projects, too. The colored edges easily mark off 1/2" for reference on the bottom and side. It's great for squaring up fabric, evening edges, and cutting precisely. It includes various angle lines as well, in case you need to cut on the bias or use other angles for pattern drafting. If you need a general purpose ruler, this is a good choice.
These are consistently high quality needles, and I recommend buying them in bulk. Remember, you should change your needle roughly every 5-6 hours of sewing. You can use a size 90/14 universal needle for most projects, and it's nice to know that you won't run out any time soon.
I recommend that you get your thread from wawak.com, and I don't even have an affiliate account with them. But they have the best prices and the best selection, and I wouldn't feel right linking to anything else. Gutermann Sew-All and Coats Dual Duty are both great all-purpose threads with lots of color options.
Similarly, I recommend that you get your bobbins from Wawak (or your local fabric store). I have had bad luck buying bobbins on Amazon, especially in bulk. If you buy the wrong size, or if you buy poorly made off-brand bobbins (which are often labeled as major brand bobbins), it can mess up your sewing machine. Bobbins are not always labeled correctly on Amazon, and a seller can trick you into thinking the product is okay with fake positive reviews (see also my post on spotting fake reviews on Amazon).
Large flat washers make great pattern weights, which are helpful to have when you're using your rotary cutter. You want to secure your pattern in place so it won't shift around. Oddly enough, Amazon does not have a great selection of washers, and their prices are quite high. I got my washers from Home Depot, so that's what I'm linking to here.
Swedish tracing paper is great for pattern drafting, copying patterns, and creating muslins to test out a pattern before using your good fabric. It's a hybrid between regular paper and fabric, and you can sew it like fabric, as well as drape it like fabric (it is a little stiffer than most fabric, however).
These are a cheaper knock off of a more expensive version of quilt clips, but I find that they work well, and you get a lot more for your money. Quilt clips are great for holding pieces together when you don't want to use pins (or when you're too lazy to use pins). Pins will leave permanent holes in leather or vinyl, so quilt clips are perfect for holding these materials. You can even hold your quilt binding on with them, as they were originally meant to do!
These pens are excellent. They're not specifically formulated to use on fabric, but they work well as fabric markers, and best of all, the ink comes off easily when heated with an iron. You can get them in a bunch of different colors, which is helpful when you want to use a contrasting color to make sure the mark stands out.
This set of presser feet is really useful, particularly because it has a walking foot and a foot for holding a button in place while you sew it on. It also has a buttonhole foot and low shank adaptor. Other than that, it contains a lot of the same presser feet as the set below, but the presser feet in this kit are better quality.
I'll be honest with you, the presser feet in this kit are not super high quality, but they are plentiful and the price is very reasonable. If you need an invisible zipper foot, egdgestitch foot, gathering foot, cording foot, freemotion quilting foot, bias binding foot, and some other useful feet that don't usually come with your machine, this set has it. These presser feet will tide you over until you upgrade your collection. It's not the best set of presser feet, but it's a useable set of presser feet and it won't break the bank.