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Haberdashery Essentials for the Beginner Dressmaker

We often get asked in our Liscard and Neston branches if we have starter kits of Haberdashery to get people started when they are either just getting started with dressmaking or trying to encourage their children or grandchildren to sew. We do not stock small sewing kits such as this as we generally find that the items supplied with these Haberdashery kits are not very good quality. We instead, suggest building up your sewing box bit by bit and paying a little more for higher quality items that are going to last you longer and will be better to work with.

When you are just starting out with dressmaking it is best to start with an easy pattern and take your time with quality Haberdashery items so that you can make a good job of it and this in turn will give you the confidence to do more sewing and eventually try more complex patterns. I would always suggest that when you are filling your sewing kit that you buy the best possible quality items you can afford rather than scrimp and buy cheap alternatives as in the end it is false economy and you will only need to buy things twice when they do not last. It is safe to stick with known Haberdashery brands such as Prym, Gutermann and Fiskars amongst others to ensure that you are getting a high quality product. This is especially the case with dressmaking scissors. If you are looking to take up dressmaking as a hobby, it is worth spending the money on a good pair of scissors as it will make your job of cutting out patterns much easier and you will get a nice clean cut which will give you a more professional finish. At Calico Laine, we use the Fiskars 25cm classic dressmaking scissors. These give a sharp cut and when looked after well (no cutting paper with them!) they will last for years. They can also be sharpened, with a Fiskars sharpener, if they ever become blunt which will make them last a lot longer than some other makes. It is also useful to have a pair of paper scissors for cutting patterns and a set of small embroidery snips/scissors for trimming small threads.

In the cheaper travel sewing kits, you are usually provided with a few pieces of different coloured thread or very small reels of thread in different colours. These however are not a particularly good quality thread and break quite easily. We would suggest, when you are starting off with dressmaking that you buy a few essential colours for example white, black, red, grey and navy from the Gutermann Haberdashery range. These have a guarantee that they will not knot up, break or tangle while you are sewing; something that is important when you are sewing as you do not want to be constantly stopping to rethread the machine.

Other items of Haberdashery that are a must in any dressmakers sewing kit are spare machine needles and machine needles for different weights of fabric, a seam ripper for when things don't go quite to plan, hand sewing needles, spare machine bobbins, a flexible tape measure, dressmakers chalk or a marking pencil and pins for keeping your fabric in place.

Once you get more acquainted with dressmaking, you can always add to your sewing box along the way but remember to try and buy the best quality you can afford. It will be worth the cost in the end.