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What are Essential Items for a Sewing Basket?

A measuring tape.
A sewing basket should contain a good pair of shears.
A seam ripper is used to remove stitching in clothing and fabric.
Stick pins should be included when assembling a complete sewing basket.
A pair of pinking shears may be in a sewing basket.
Sewing baskets may include patches for fabric repair.
A packet of assorted buttons is a good thing to add when purchasing notions for a sewing basket.
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  • Written By: A Kaminsky
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A sewing basket is essential for any home, apartment or dorm room. It is inevitable that a button will come off, a seam will rip, or a hem will tear out of a garment - usually at the worst possible time. However, a decent array of sewing notions can help solve even the worst problems, at least temporarily.

The first question is, should someone stocking a sewing basket buy one of the kits available? It depends. Someone who doesn't expect to do much sewing except for very basic things, such as replacing a button, might be able to get away with one of these kits. They usually include a pincushion, a tape measure, perhaps a pair of thread scissors and a packet of straight pins, and two or three needles. However, if one expects to do any repair work or other hand sewing, a fully stocked sewing basket is necessary.

Some sort of sewing basket or box to house sewing supplies will be the main purchase. Most stores sell these, but they are usually expensive. A plastic shoebox-sized container with a secure top will do just as well. If one has an old fishing tackle box, this will also make an excellent sewing basket once cleaned and deodorized.

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If a sewing kit has a pincushion and measuring tape, go ahead and buy it, rather than buying these items separately. Buy a good pair of fabric scissors also, and forbid household members from cutting paper with them, which will dull them.

Needles and pins are also necessary for a sewing basket. Look for needles labeled as "sharps." These are sharp enough to go cleanly through most fabrics, and a packet usually contains pins in three or four different sizes.

Straight pins can either be the flat-head type or dressmaker's pins with colored ball heads. Either is suitable. Also, purchase a packet of safety pins. These are invaluable for any sewing basket.

Think about thread next. Buy full-size spools of white, beige and black, since these will be used the most. Also get a smaller spool of heavy-duty thread, as well as smaller spools in basic colors such as navy, red, pink and dark green. Any good machine thread is suitable.

Other notions a well-stocked sewing basket might include are a paper of metal snaps in assorted sizes, a packet of hook-and-eye fastenings and a packet of assorted buttons. These can be placed in a sandwich bag to keep them from migrating all over the sewing basket.

Also include a hemming gauge and a seam ripper. A hemming gauge is particularly useful for measuring in small increments without having to pull out a long tape measure. Seam rippers are vital for removing mistakes. Thimbles are optional, as are needle-threaders. A needle-threader will probably see more use than a thimble, since most heavy sewing requiring a thimble is usually done by machine.

These basic items should cover most mending tasks and can be found in any fabric store or discount store that sells sewing supplies. The only item to spend more on is a good pair of fabric shears. These will prove themselves well worth their price.

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Discuss this Article

helene55
Post 3

I would recommend buying about three different tape measures for your sewing storage basket, especially if you also have a mending basket or knitting bag. I have two sets of measuring tape, and I still manage to lose at least one at a time, even in my relatively small apartment.

sherlock87
Post 2

@panda2006, a few years ago I was on my college's mock trial team, and a couple of us actually realized right before going to a competition at a college two hours away that our pants needed to be hemmed. Believe it or not, we bought the incredibly tiny sewing kits sold at our college bookstore, I believe they were about 2 dollars, and hemmed our pants using these kits, sitting in a strange college's cafeteria about three hours before the first round. T

While this admittedly ridiculous even shows that these sewing kits can work if they need to, they can also be a hassle and are too stressful and fiddly, much of the time.

panda2006
Post 1

Many of the "sewing kits" available at places like travel stores, convenience stores, or other such places are really even more bare bones than this article suggests- some even have scissors that are barely large enough to cut thread, and at most two or three needles. These might be acceptable for traveling or someone who truly does not expect to do anything other than fix a button, but for anything else you really ought to buy other supplies, such as the ones recommended here.

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