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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am getting a sewing machine for my birthday (yay!), and I'm trying to figure out what I *need* to have regularly available to be able to do simple sewing projects & mending.<br><br>
I have some stuff (probably more than I need) b/c I had a machine on loan for a while. I bought stuff that I've never actually used, but then also found that I needed things and didn't have them (consequently projects/mending never got finished).<br><br>
Any advice for a beginner? Also, what do you find to be the best way to store your supplies? I do *not* have a regular craft/sewing area <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> so any time I use the machine everything will have to be put away when I'm done. So I need a way to store stuff where it's compactly put away, but easy to get out & put back.<br><br>
Thanks!
 

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Happy Birthday!<br><br>
I'm lucky that I have my little area, I use a 6 drawer (3 each side) to store my fabric in. I'm down to 4 drawers for fabric 1 for works in progress and 1 for ??? it was originally planned for rulers and patterns but it's kind of scary right now since I have just been throwing things in there, really need to clean it out. I like the dresser because I can use the top to iron on, made a thick canvas mat for the top, and recently got one of those small tabletop ironing boards given to me so I have been using it. My rotary cutting mat fits on top, so I have a nice flat surface without having to clean the floor or the table off <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
I don't know if you can claim enough space in the house to fit a dresser but if you can, it's well worth the space.<br><br>
My machine, a treadle sits out all the time so for a machine that gets put out then away I don't know.... you need a comfy chair at the right height, that's a definite, do you have an office chair that adjusts with height that you can borrow? good lighting, maybe an extra lamp.<br><br>
I did a treadle demonstration at a festival a couple months ago and bought a tool box (2x1x1 ft) I put all my little gadgets and stuff in there. I had planned on passing it on to my hubby when I was done with the demo but loved it so much he didn't get it. I can put it right beside where I'm working and be able to get to all my goodies, then when I'm finished I can close it back up and put a lock on it so that the kids don't get hold of my scissors or rotary cutter which is really nice since they are old enough to interested in them but young enough to really hurt themselves.<br><br>
for supplies in my box regular tools like pliers, screwdrivers, my pocket knife. a cloth tape, chalk markers, ink pens, a pencil, bobbins, hem gauge a tracing wheel (I have never used that but it was my mom's and I can't get rid of it) a couple business cards from sewing folks, rotary cutter, extra blade, scissors, big ones and little ones, dental floss (for repairing my treadle belt... you probably won't need that, but for me a must), duct tape, pad of paper, in a little plastic tub I have extra needles for my machine, straight pins, small ones and bigger ones, thread, black and ecru the only colors I ever use) another plastic bin for my sewing machine attachments, some test fabric and some fun fabric I never have put away. a couple of quilt blocks, my acrylic rulers and a small rotary cutting mat. I still have lots of room left over, I was keeping my iron in there but I never seem to put it away after it cools down so it just lives wherever like it always has. a plastic zip lock with my sewing machine oil and lint brush.<br><br>
in the past 2 months I have used all of those things (well not the tracing wheel....) on a regular basis. I have other sewing stuff here and there but haven't used anything so apparently they aren't real necessities or I just haven't been sewing things to need whatever those gadgets are made for.
 

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I do have a sewing room, but since it's a shared room I have to keep my stuff from taking over completely. I have a firm cutting mat, not a floppy one, so I can set it on top of my ironing board and have a movable, adjustable height cutting table/work table. An adjustable height chair and task lighting are crucial to prevent back and eye strain.<br><br>
I have a small plastic latchable box with all my spools of thread in it (about 1/2 shoebox size). And then I have a carry case with separate latchable "drawers" with compartments for most everything else (needles, pins, small tools like chalk, seam ripper, etc.). I have a small basket just the right size to hold patterns, and all my fabric is kept in 20 gallon rubbermaid tubs that stack in the closet (keeps the cats out of it). My machine came with a case to hold all the machine parts (feet, oil, bobbins, etc.) if yours doesn't come with a case, you'll need something for that, too. My cutting rulers stay with the cutting mat, and I don't have to worry about leaving out scissors or rotary cutter yet.<br><br>
A good sized pin cushion (my mother made mine), and a magnet are also good things to have. You can buy a magnetic pin cushion, but I just use a magnet I got free in a box of tea taped magnet side up to the table for catching stray pins.<br><br>
As far as tools go, dressmaker's chalk or pencil, either one. A seam ripper, thread nippers that are small enough to get in tight spots, large head good quality pins (both straight and safety), extra machine needles in different weights (I have universal, denim, ballpoint and twin, which covers the basics). You'll want at least 2 bobbins (some machines only come with 1, some machines come with 10, I think I have about 20 for 1 machine and 4 for the other). Good quality thread (not that cheap stuff selling for $1/cone, that stuff shreds). If you're making clothing or diapers, you'll probably be buying aplix/velcro, snaps, buttons, elastic, so you'll need something to hold those. I have a small container for velcro and snap tape, buttons go in a jar, and I get empty ribbon spools to wind elastic on.<br><br>
I just took a walk through my sewing room and that's all the crucial stuff I can see. It all depends on what you're making though. If you're mainly mending, then you'll probably want fusible interfacing, a press cloth and an iron and board handy. If you're making clothes, you'll need space to cut, which is better done on a table if you can manage the space. They used to have folding cardboard cutting "mats" marked in inch increments and used to protect the table... I haven't seen them in a long time though. If you're making quilts, a space for a cutting mat and an iron/board is probably all you'll need to get started. Depending on your space/storage constraints, a laundry basket or a rubbermaid tub can be used for storing the smaller containers when you have to put them away. Like lightheart said, a dresser would be nice, but I know I don't have space for one.<br><br>
HTH
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/notes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="notes">:
 

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I have a sewing nook set up in the window alcove of my dining room. Right now it's just a very used desk with drawers and a small table. I have my serger set up on the desk and my sewing machine on the small table.<br><br>
I keep shears, small scissors, pins, pincushion, bobbins (in 2 bobbin cases), hand sewing needles, machine needles, seam ripper, measuring tape, some assorted spools of thread in colors I commonly use, assortment of commonly used notions (elastic, velcro, snaps), and spools of serger thread in the drawers in the desk. I keep my clear ruler and cutting mat on the top of the desk.<br><br>
In a closet in another room I keep my fabric stash (4 large plastic totes), interfacing, my boxes of thread spools, and my rolling 3 drawer unit with my notions collection.<br><br>
Before we came upon the desk I just used my dining room table for sewing and had some small plastic boxes that held my supplies. They're around 14" x 8" x 6" (estimating here) and have the lids built into the top. You can probably find them at most discount stores.<br><br>
I still continue to use one to house whatever my latest project is so that when I pause I can box it up and put it in the closet to keep the dining room looking neater.
 

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I do all my sewing on a student sized computer desk from Ikea... the keyboard tray is my cutting surface (I have a cutting mat), and couple of plastic shoe boxes that I keep notions in.<br><br>
Basics would be a good pair of sewing scissors, a seam ripper, pins, bobbins, replacement needles, basic thread colors, a seam guide or a 6" ruler, tailors chalk, a pin cushion (I use a magnetic one), a tape measure, elastic, interfacing and safety pins.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you everyone! I'm seriously considering moving my computer (it's a laptop, so I can, as long as we get a wireless router) and using my computer desk as a sewing table. It's really the only space I could create right now, I think. But I think it would be worth it. Because I know I'll be more likely to actually use it if I don't have to set it up every time.<br><br>
I'm looking forward to actually getting the machine (I don't have it yet)! I hope it's a good one. It's a basic Singer, which I thought would be good, but have since heard that Singer isn't as good as they used to be.
 

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I am in a similar situation. My sewing room is the "area formerly known as the dining room" <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> Under normal (?) circumstances I take the machines (sewing machine and serger) out when needed and then they go back in the bottom of our hutch, and the supplies go back in the closet where they belong. BUT, since it is Christmas season and I am woefully behind in my gift making, everything stays out all the time, and I grab quick 5 min sewing sessions at a time.
 
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