Sewing, getting started.

I don’t know about you but I like to feel a little bit prepared before I start something new. The best way to start on your journey to learn how to sew is to get a little sewing kit together.

If you want to buy a ready made kit John Lewis would be a good first port of call, but half of the fun is looking at the bits and bobs for yourself.

You might have a nice vintage tin or basket you want to use. I have an old fashioned wooden concertina sewing box that my two son’s bought for me and lined inside.

Here’s what I have in my sewing box:

  • 3 pairs of scissors – an inexpensive pair of paper scissors, a good quality pair of fabric  and also pinking shears. By including a pair of scissors for cutting paper it will help your fabric scissors stay sharp. Don’t let anyone use your fabric scissors to cut paper!
  • Glass head pins and a Prym magnetic pin cushion  – I love using glass head pins, you can spot them easily if you drop them on the floor and they are easier to pull out whilst using a sewing machine. My Prym magnetic pin cushion is probably one of the best things I’ve been given. The pins just stick to it and if you drop any you just have to run the pin cushion over the area and it will pick them up, easy peasy!
  • Spare buttons – keep all of your buttons in one place so they are easy to find when you lose one!
  • Small safety pins – these are great to use in any sewing project.
  • Tailor’s chalk – this is such a simple addition to a sewing kit, but I’d be lost without mine. Get it in two or three colours so that the chalk shows up on different fabrics.
  • Dressmakers carbon – this is a special carbon paper that is available in combination packs or for light fabric or for dark fabric. This is available in department stores that have a fabric department or at fabric stores.
  • A sewing gauge – This is a great tool for making accurate measurements and for tracing straight lines such as darts.
  • An un-picker (also called a seam ripper) – They will unpick small stitches and get through sewn seams quickly.
  • Hand sewing needles – mixed sizes to tackle a number of projects.
  • Thread – a variety of basic colours in a good quality thread. It’s really worth buying good quality thread, especially for use in your sewing machine.
  • Metal ruler
  • Dressmakers Tape measure – in centimetres and inches.



Sew your way to a stress free future

Most of us lead busy lives, with work, caring for children or aging parents or both, school, commuting, health issues, and money worries filling our minds.

If left unchecked this kind of stress can damage our emotional, mental and physical health, and have a significant negative impact on our families.

Much has been talked and written about the benefits of mindfulness to help ease stress and it is one of a number of tools that can help to deal with this challenging and difficult issue.

The type of mindfulness typically practiced in the West is quite different from its Buddhist roots, and does not need to include a spiritual element. The purpose of mindfulness is to focus solely on the act of awareness and in doing so reduce stress.

Our ability to think about something, to step back and observe gives us the opportunity to reflect on and process information. Typically mindfulness experts recommend meditation and reflection as ways to practise this, but the process of sewing can achieve the same aim; to give your mind a break from the everyday stresses of life.

Simply sitting down with a hot drink and hand sewing something enables your mind to get caught up in a gentle process, or what is known as ‘the flow’, wherein you become fully immersed in what you are doing and get enjoyment from it.

This will silence the noise of our unfocused thoughts that often drown out the purpose of doing something and give us peace.