Quick & Dirty Sewing: Essential Tools Crash Course | Miranda Harper | Skillshare

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Quick & Dirty Sewing: Essential Tools Crash Course

teacher avatar Miranda Harper, Seamstress/Cosplayer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Welcome to Essential Tools Crash Course


    • 2.

      Scissors and Shears


    • 3.

      Absolute Essentials


    • 4.

      Non-Essential But Useful


    • 5.

      Stuff You Don't Need


    • 6.

      Wrapping Up


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About This Class

Whenever you start a new hobby, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by all the cool new gear and supplies you could buy. Cut through all the clutter and get down to the basic essential tools.

Learn what you'll absolutely need, what you might need later when you get more advanced, and what you'll never need. Think you might need a serrated tracing wheel or an EZ Hem marker? Let's find out!

Meet Your Teacher

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Miranda Harper



Well hey there! My name is Miranda and I teach sewing classes here on Skillshare. I've been sewing for almost 20 years, have degrees in Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising and been a freelance seamstress/designer/tailor for almost 10 years making everything from prom dresses to swim wear to cowboy vests. I also have a day job as a graphic designer and I love to paint, cook, watch comic book TV shows and hang out with my dog.

I think sewing is an incredible skill that everyone should have, even if all you do is replace buttons and hem pants. Those things are important. When you take my classes, you'll learn basic skills to transfer to other sewing projects and I'll throw in a few industry tips to make your sewing life easier. Enjoy! 

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Level: Beginner

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1. Welcome to Essential Tools Crash Course: welcome to quick and dirty sewing. This is essential tools. Crash course. When you start a hobby, you'll probably notice that there are just tons of things that you can buy. And it's really easy to get overwhelmed when you're just starting out. Um, what do you buy? What do you not by what do you really need? What do you not need? So this course is going to help you with that? I have a video just on scissors. Then I have a video on tools. Well, absolutely need. And then I have a video on, um, tools that you'll find handy if you get further on into sewing. Um, and then finally, a video of things that you just don't need at all whether they just don't work as well as other tools you you have, or you could do the same thing with a tool you already have. So, um, I hope this will straighten some things out for you, and I hope you learn a lot. So let's get started 2. Scissors and Shears: the first thing we're going to cover our scissors and shears. Any time you started selling project, the first thing you have to do is cut out your pieces so scissors and shears are very important on there is about 50 different kinds. So just to help you shop for scissors a little better, I've lined out the ones that I use and will go over them first. As a precaution, I have to warn you that scissors are very sharp. Fabric. Scissors are much sharper than paper scissors. Please use caution. One. Cutting Never cut paper with fabric scissors because it will cause them to dull faster. Dressmaker shares are your basic, all purpose scissors. They are set an angle different from other scissors to allow you ease of cutting along a flat surface. I eat. The fabric is laying flat on the table, and now you don't have to angle your wrist in a weird way in order to cut it. The ones I have pictured here are from Fisk ER's. They are great, basic, inexpensive. They stay shot for a while, they're comfortable in your hand, and they come in right handed and left handed versions once you decide to upgrade from your basic whiskers, you have to go. Giger brand thes air like the Cadillac of dressmaking scissors. They stay sharp forever. I don't know how they do it. Their points air really sharp, very precision cut on a dime. You cut up teenies. Tiniest little points. I mean, they're just amazing. They are more expensive, but on sale you can find them for about $25 they're completely worth it. So whenever you're ready to upgrade, get your brand is the way to go. These little tiny, cute scissors are called more ordinary scissors. They are generally used for embroidery for cutting really close to the surface of the fabric. I like to use them for clipping threads because you could get all the way down to the surface of the fabric without disturbing any of the other stitches. I also like to use them when I'm cutting out pattern markers or buttonholes or anything else. Little tiny. They're great thinking. Shares are used in more high quality garments like high end. When suits or high end moving stresses, they create his exact edge along your fabric, which helps prevent brain. Sometimes quilters also use them. I have used them sometimes, but I don't use them as much. So if you don't plan on doing high end stuff, you probably won't need these. But I threw him in here just so you knew what they were. These little guys are called nippers, or sometimes clippers, uh, dressmakers will wear these around their neck there for quick coating, clipping threads, pattern notches, anything that needs small cuts of the curved edges of. Seems the last time I used these was in college because my teacher recommended them and she always wore them around her neck so you might find them a handy. But since you're just starting off, you probably don't need them right away. That's all I have for the scissors section of this class. I have attached a fiscal scissors guide to the class links of in case you need more help when you're shopping and they'll have a bunch of different kinds of scissors in there that I did not cover in here. Like I said before, there's like 50 maybe 100 different content scissors. You can get these air just your basic ones if you want it. For further, check out the Fisc Er's Scissor Guide 3. Absolute Essentials: Now we're gonna talk about the absolutely essential tools that you will need to start sowing the picture you see here is an actual picture of sewing box that I use. It is a tool box that I bought at Home Depot, or probably about $10 it is awesome. I would never use anything except for this toolbox. There's a ton of space, and as long as I've been saying, I've just amassed a huge collection of sewing tools, so we're gonna go over the basics here. That's what you absolutely need to start sewing and let's get started first. You only pins to hold your pieces of fabric together while you so I recommend buying quilters pins instead of dressmaker pins because there longer and thinner and I have these colored balls on the tops of you. They follow the floor. You confined them a little bit easier. Next, you'll need a pin cushion to keep your pains in. This is the very classic tomato shape in that little strawberry on there. There are pieces of Emory like you would find on a nail file so you can put your pins in there kind of running back and forth and get off any barbs or weird edges and kind of smooth it out again. And then if you drop your pins on the floor, they won't fall out because they'll all be stuck inside this pin cushion. And it's just very Andy. You will need a measuring tape in sewing, especially so in garments. There are a lot of curves, and a measuring tape will help you measure those curves better than a straight ruler. You also will use a measuring tape. Take your own body measurements. A. C Engage is a small metal ruler, usually about six inches long, with a little sweater on it, that you can set the measurement that you want. I used this for hems all the time. So in this illustration that you see that I've provided the blue slider is that 5/8 of an inch? So how I would use it is I would hold up my hand and then measure along the full to make sure that all my all my ham all way around with 587 it. You can use this for lots of different small measurements that you might need to do a seam Ripper is used to take out lines of stitching. We all make mistakes. I make them all the time. And a sea ripper is your savior for a few Sona line and sitting. It's totally wrong. You put the pieces together Wrong grab that seem ripper. Little point digs under the stitches, and there's a little blade there. Cuts Um, and then that's how you take out your stitching line. Once you start sewing, and especially when you start using a pattern, you will need to make marks on your fabric. You'll make marks on your fabric to know where to so darts snow. So please to know where to sew buttons and buttonholes on all those different things. My favorite tool to use is an air erase herbal marking pen. I think it's the easiest. It disappears in 24 hours. It shows up on most colors, unless the color is black. The only thing you have to be careful when you use one of these is not iron your fabric before the ink has disappeared. Otherwise, it's permanently set, and you don't want that. Another marketing tool that you might use a lot is a chalk pencil used chalk pencil. When I'm working on dark colored fabrics with one of these, you will remove it with water and a washcloth. This is a start to so kids. Personally, I don't like anything in here because they're cheap basics, and they wear out really quickly. But if you aren't sure that you want to, so as a hobby you could buy one of these. I think they go for about 10 or $12 at Joan's or Hobby Lobby or any of the craft stores. Let's unpack this here, and I'll show you what's inside. Okay, here is a start to soak it unpacked. You have scissors and measuring tape, a pin cushion, a symbol, any the needle Freder seem ripper tracing wheel A C. Engage some needles, a chalk pencil and tracing paper and handles. Now I number one. Never used dressmaker pins, a tracing wheel or tracing paper. I will explain in a later video why I never use those things. The other things are fine. If you want to pursue sewing as a hobby, I would quickly replace anything in here. It's just all really cheap. The scissors were out quickly and the pins air, stubby and thick, and I just don't like anything in there. So you could get one of these if you are not sure if you want, so hobby. But if you do, just go straight for the better stuff. 4. Non-Essential But Useful: Now we're gonna move on to non essential but useful tools. Everything I'm going to talk about here I currently use, and out of the plethora of extra things you can buy for sewing these air, the handful that I've found to be the most useful. One of my favorite tools is a see through ruler. They are 18 inches long by two inches wide and have a grid printed on them. Whenever I started drafting patterns and making my own patterns, this was absolutely indispensable. So that is something that you like to pursue a seed for. Ruler is going to be your best friend occurred. Styling Ruler is another tool for drafting. It easily creates hip curves arms, eyes, necklines, curved hams, bust curves, any curves. So again, if you want a pursuit pattern, drafting this is gonna be a thing you will need in any my other Quicken dirty sewing classes. I will be using a curb styling ruler as well as a see through ruler. So if you decide you want to take Mormon classes thes two things I will be using quite a bit. Bright check is a clear liquid, similar to like a clear nail polish almost, and you put it on the edges of fabric to stop offering. I use it whenever I'm going to apply a patch to a thorn garment like a pair of jeans. Or I put it into buttonholes that I've just cut open to keep the inside of those from brain whenever you use it, you put on the edge of your fabric, and then you let that fabric sit overnight and then you'll get kind of a hard edge. Feels a lot like clear now polish. The way to use tailor's chalk is similar to the way you would drop with a piece of charcoal . You lay the straight edge right against the surface and kind of dragon along the surface of a fabric, and a lot of finer suit makers use this as an alternative to a chalk pencil. I use it sometimes when I need to draw out a him, or if I'm kind of free handing the curve of something. I use this, but not too often. So if you're just starting out, just keep this tool in the back of your mind for when you start advancing your skills. Now, I personally use a magnetic pin cushion and not tomato pin cushion. I find it's easier to just drop the pins on it as I'm sewing sew starts when you seem I pull the pin out. I dropped on the magnetic cushion, All done. I don't know, like take it out and stick it in or whatever, but I just find this a lot faster to use. And if I drop ins on the floor, I just sweep but magnet over the pile of pins and it picks everything up and it's great. The last thing I'm gonna talk about is a loop turner. A loop Turner turns sewn tubes of fabric right side out. You'd use it to make purse straps, drawstrings ties, a kind of sone cord. 5. Stuff You Don't Need: Now we're gonna talk about some common tools that you really don't need to buy. These are all really common things that when I first started sewing, I definitely thought that I needed. Now that I'm more experienced, I realized I don't need them there. Better ways to do the things that these tools are supposed to do. And I want to share that information with you. Of course, you can try these tools out if you want to, but I have found that they really aren't that necessary. This is tracing paper. You have to use it with the tracing wheel, and it works in a similar way to carbon paper. If you put the paper in between two layers of fabric and you run the tracing wheel along that fabric, it's supposed to leave a line that you can then so over and wash away whenever I use it. I just I can't ever get a line that I can see, and it smudges where I set my hand down. It's just really annoying to use, and I've found a lot better ways to make mark on fabric. My favorite one is an air erase herbal marking pin which we talked about in a previous video. This is the tracing wheel that you would use with tracing paper. This one in particular, is called a serrated edge wheel, which is the most common one that you confined. There's also a smooth edge wheel, but it's a lot harder to find. The idea is that when you run this along the fabric with the tracing paper on the opposite side of the fabric, it makes a dotted line. Of course, like I explained in the previous section, when I talked about tracing paper, I can rarely get a line that I can use and even see. And then my hands much is it. And it's just a big old mess, and I hate it also, with the points as dull as they are, they can damage delicate fabrics like If you're using a super chiffon or a satin, they can make holes and dents in that fabric, and you really just don't want that. This is a rotary cutter. So when I first started sewing, I thought I desperately needed a rotary cutter like I can't so without a rotary cutter, I have to have it. Oh my gosh, So I bought one and I hated it. I bought another one, and I hated that. You just can't get a clean, continuous line, no matter which brand of rotary cutter I bought. Even if I change the blades, it never would cut all the way I would have, like a dashed cut line. You also need to buy a cutting mat to use with it because it is a sharp blade and it will damage tables, floors whatever. Also, if you use a commercial pattern, i E. S simplicity pattern or McCall's pattern, and it has that really thin paper. If you use a rotary cutter with that pattern paper over time, that cutter will shave off little pieces of that pattern until it is a completely different shape than when you started. And that just makes for a lot of frustration that nobody needs really just stick with scissors, honestly, dressmaker pins. I was very confused by when I started sewing because they're called dressmaker pins. Solar should be able to use them, but dressmaker pins are shorter and thicker than quilters pins. It can be hard to put them through the threads of the fabric, and they could make holes in the fabric, no matter the weight chiffons all the way to denim. So just go with quilters pins. They collide in a lot smoother, and you'll just be a lot happier. 6. Wrapping Up: Okay, now we've come to the end of the class. I hope that you have learned a lot. Your final project is to gather all your tools together while you're out shopping. Be on the lookout for big sales around the holidays. Labor Day for the July Memorial Day, Thanksgiving Christmas. Also, Joan's has a lot of coupons pretty much every weekend. So just be on the lookout for sales, save you some money. And if you enjoy this class, please leave me a thumbs up and a positive review and be on the lookout for my other quick and dirty sewing classes.