Wow, it's been a while since my last blog post, and boy, a lot has happened since then!
One good thing that has come out of this is that many people are learning new skills. Many are learning to sew, and we learned that sewing can be a crucial skill to have.
When I started learning to sew, I felt overwhelmed by all the tool options that were available and I wasn't sure what I should spend my money on. Especially when the money is tight you don't want to waste it on things that won't be useful. So this series is to help demystify which tools are most needed based on my personal experience.
If you prefer video, you can find my YouTube video on the subject here. If you prefer to read, then just keep scrolling :-)
My first recommendation is one that you might not expect: a pair of kitchen shears.
This is my budget-friendly choice for all-purpose scissors. I prefer them to regular all purpose scissors or craft scissors that you would normally find at a sewing shop. My reason for that is that kitchen shears will cut just about anything and they will last you a VERY long time. Not only that but they are very reasonably priced. I have linked a pair to the left here but if you want to go even cheaper than that, you can usually find them for $5 at a local Home Goods store or Ross. You may even have an extra pair in the kitchen that can be moved to the sewing room.
Now to the fabric scissors. My go-to fabric scissors are the Fiskars Razor Edge angled shears. My primary reason is the shape. When cutting with standard shaped scissors or craft scissors, the natural motion of opening and closing can cause distortion because it will lift the fabric off of the table a couple of inches. The shape of these allows the fabric to be minimally lifted from the table for a more accurate cut. The other reason is that Fiskars has a great lifetime warranty. I have actually had scissors replaced for just the cost of shipping. Though I do not personally own a pair of Gingher shears, they would be my second pick just because I've heard so many good things about them.
I also recommend having a pair of embroidery scissors. These are 5 inch micro-tip scissors by Fiskars. I keep a pair by my sewing machine at all times to be able to clip threads. Another handy use is when you have sewn a curve or corner and you need to clip the fabric up to the seam. These will allow you to get as close as possible without as much of a chance of accidentally cutting through the thread.
If you are primarily cutting and sewing garments, you don't necessarily need a rotary cutter, but if you are sewing quilts or other projects that require lots of straight lines, a rotary cutter will be your best friend. I used to use the Fiskars brand, and didn't see a need to upgrade to Olfa, but let me tell you, now that I have upgraded, I don't think I would go back. That being said, to start out, you could do just fine with Fiskars. So I will have a link for those as well down below.
The downside of using a rotary cutter is that you have to change blades pretty often and the price can add up quickly. Also, you would have to buy quilting rulers and a cutting mat to go along with them.
The size quilting ruler you'll need will depend on the type of projects you will be working on. Think about the size of the pieces you will mostly be cutting. I have found that I like having two large quilting rulers and one small, but your needs may be different. I have linked a multi-pack here, but you might like to browse and see what other sizes are available. If you are thinking about drafting patterns, I will cover more drafting-specific types of rulers in another post.
Self-healing cutting mats also come in a variety of sizes. 18"x24" is kind of a good mid-range size. I personally have a 24"x36" because I mostly cut larger pieces of fabric, but if you are quilting and just cutting small shapes, then you can go with an even smaller one. If you have a Hobby Lobby near you, that's where you can find the cheapest cutting mat, especially if you catch a 50% off sale on the Sewology brand.
You may have noticed that I did not recommend a pair of pinking shears. Pinking shears create a zig-zag shaped cut and they are intended to finish off an edge and prevent fraying. My problem with them is that I have had pinked edges fray in the wash. So, my recommendation is to finish an edge with an overlocking stitch on your sewing machine or to use a serger. Another option is to use French seams, which is something that will be covered in my workshops.
Below, I will link some honorable mentions: a 28mm rotary cutter, Fiskars brand 45mm rotary cutter, and a starter combo.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask. You can fill out the contact form on my website or send me a message on instagram @kaldreasewingco.
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