What’s in my Sewing Basket–Essential Tools (Part 1)


Could you put that online or something, said one of my students in a recent sewing class.

Brilliant idea–

So for last month’s Basic Sewing Workshop (at the Scrap Exchange in Durham) and everyone else learning to sew, here are some tools that make it so much easier:



First, think beyond the conventional sewing basket. I carry my tools in a vintage overnight case.  The heavy duty handle and secure locks have saved many a spill–


Long quilting pins are easy to work with and the bright yellow ends make them easier to spot when they fall (make that leap) on the floor.


After years of good service (and several falls), my magnetic pin cushion cracked and split.  I couldn’t find a suitable, heavy duty replacement, so I salvaged the magnets and put them in a Bloody Mary tin.  Works great.  Reminds me to have fun.

Quality scissor are a must.  I buy the top-rated Gingher brand. (Use a Joann coupon.)  For 8 dollars you can send them to Greensboro to be sharpened and reconditioned.  Do this and your sewing scissors will last forever.


Good thread is also a must.  American brands may have rocked in grandma’s time, but not anymore.  Use good European brands. Again, the coupon helps.  I buy the larger spools and they are  not cheap.


And yes, I do have 5  seam rippers in my sewing basket.  Like I tell my students, they’re more than a tool, they’re a philosophy. We’re making originals , blazing trails in fabric.  And like all great artists, we need to erase.  I expect to rip something out every time I sew.

There’ s lots more in my sewing box.  Look for future posts on this topic.

And if you’re interested in future sewing classes,  one of my favorites, Tee Shirt Transformation is coming up next week.

Check out the before and after pictures of  the unisex tees below. Then clean out your stash of ugly tees and join us.  Tee shirts are easy and fun for beginners.

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