10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit

If you’re here, we assume you sew or want to, and that’s great! Sewing is so much fun! A great way for some to relax, to add some uniqueness to a wardrobe, to expand a wardrobe, to decorate your home… there are SO many reasons people do it! But there are some very common across the board tools that EVERY person will need, no matter the project, and that is what this post is for! So, without further ado, here are our top must-have tools for any home sewist.

10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit

 

10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

  1. A sewing machine.

    Do you need a top of the line, it practically runs itself machine? Psshh… nah. Are they nice to have? Of course! But I started out with a low-end Walmart special machine when I started and those projects are still holding up today. As long as you are using it right, the machine does not matter a bit. (well, I wouldn’t buy those handheld machines or child-sized ones, but, you get the idea.)10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

  2. Machine feet

    Most commonly used feet (for apparel sewing) are the regular foot, buttonhole foot, and zipper foot. Most all machines will come with all 3 of these feet and we will have tutorials on using different types of feet at some point in the future. 10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

  3. Extra machine needles

    ALWAYS a good idea. No matter how careful you are, needles WILL be broken. Just make sure you are buying the correct needles for the job! You can grab a variety of needles in large qualities on Amazxon for super cheap! Check it out here!* (Another future blog post coming your way soon!)10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

  4. Hand sewing needles and seam rippers

    Yes, you will need these. Some patterns will require hand stitching. Even if they don’t, they’re still a handy thing to have around. You never know when you might have to reattach a stray button somewhere. And the seam rippers will be used often. Even when you’re a veteran sewist. Trust me.10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

  5. Thread

    Self-explanatory.10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

  6. Straight pins and/or Wonder-Clips

    Some experienced seamstresses don’t always use things like this, but if you’re starting out, you’re DEFINITELY going to want to want this anchor to help you out. Even as experienced as I am, I still use them more often than I don’t. (p.s. I use both, which one depends on the project). Every seamstress needs a set of pins and a pin cushion, but Wonder-Clips are amazing!  They are super expensive if you buy them in a big box store, but you can grab them for cheap on Amazon.*10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

  7. Measuring tape.

    You’ll need this for making sure you’re sewing the right size if you’re sewing a garment.10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

  8. A pattern

    If you’re on this blog, I’m guessing you’re leaning toward garment sewing. And most likely garment sewing for littles. That’s awesome! If you’re starting out, Bella Sunshine has several free patterns you can use to cut your sewing teeth, like Reagan’s Raglan and Isabella’s Banded Skirt! Just join our Facebook group here to learn how to get them! Along with this pattern (if it’s a PDF pattern), you will need a way to print it (either at a print shop or a home printer), along with scotch tape and scissors for cutting paper. Which are NOT the same scissors you will want to use to cut your fabric. Trust me on this.10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

  9. Fabric.

    Self-explanatory. Make sure you have the right KIND of fabric for your project as fabrics can vary wildly and will make a HUGE difference in your finished product. Any patterns you purchase should give you a list of suggested fabrics to use for the best outcome. Pay attention to that list for a superior result.10 Things Every Beginner Seamstress Should Have In Their Sewing Kit - This was so helpful! Now I'm ready to tackle that next sewing project!

  10. Fabric cutting tools.

    Here you have a few options. The way I started out was with fabric scissors and a fabric marker. I laid my pattern out on my fabric, traced it with the marker and then used the fabric scissors (again, different from the ones used to cut paper) to cut the pieces. Nowadays I use a rotary cutter, acrylic ruler, and a cutting mat. It’s a little more expensive. It also takes a little practice, especially on the curves, but once you get the hang of it, it is SO much faster and easier than traditional scissors and I can’t imagine cutting any other way anymore. If you don’t already have a rotary cutter, I really recommend Fiskars for just starting out. It is inexpensive, and they have a great warranty.  You can pick up a starter set with everything you need here.*

*Anything marked with an asterisk is an affiliate link. That means if you purchase something when clicking that link, we get a very small percentage which keeps this blog going. That being said, we only link to products that we actually use and recommend. 

New Releases: Ladies Alice Pleated Dress & Ladies Sahara Dress & Top

The day is finally here BSD fans! We have had SO many requests for both of these patterns, that I know you are going to be so excited for this.  Our two most popular patterns, The Alice Pleated Dress and the Shara Dress & Top, are now available in Ladies sizes!! And the fit on these is perfection! Take a look.

The Alice Pleated Dress for Ladies

It’s not often that you get a woven pattern that fits so well with minimal adjustments.  But the Alice is that pattern. It comes in sizes 0-20 with 7 cup sizes (Cups A-G!). I think the fact that most people don’t need to do a bust adjustment is what helps make the fit so good right off the bat. I made myself an Alice for Easter, and it is wonderful! I cannot wait to show it off this coming weekend.

Don’t you love it? I think my favorite part is the pockets.  That way I can carry my keys but still look posh. I’m not big on carrying purses, so that’s a nice feature for me.

Our testers also did an amazing job on their Alices.  Everyone worked really hard this test. Look at their photos below:

Sahara Dress & Top for Ladies

Next up we have the Sahara.  When the girls version came out last month, at least 40 of you requested a ladies version stat! It comes in sizes 0-20 and includes a full bust adjustment for those of you that need one. I must say this is quickly becoming a staple in my wardrobe. It is such a quick sew and super flattering.  I love how you can wear it casually with jeans or leggings or you can dress it up with heels just depending on the fabric you use.  The pattern comes with two different necklines, three sleeve lengths (plus sleeveless!) and three dress lengths.  I made a sleeveless one for my final.  I promptly wore it to date night that weekend.  I love it that much.

Once again, we had a ton of fabulous testers that really helped perfect this pattern. I don’t think there is a single person that this garment doesn’t look flattering on.

If you already have the Sahara Play Dress & Top for girls, you know it currently only comes in two garment lengths. Well, that’s about to change because we have since added a tunic length! Some of our original testers were nice enough to test it out for me.  Take a look.

All you have to do to get your updated pattern is head to our My Account page to the downloads section.  Your updated pattern will be waiting for you.  We also changed the construction method to make for nicer finishes.  And if you don’t already have a copy, be sure to pick it up!

As if all that eye candy wasn’t enough, we made a video so you can take a closer look at these amazing garments.

The Ladies Alice Pleated Dress and the Ladies Sahara Dress & Top are currently on sale fo only $6.50. If you join the BSD Facebook group, you can get a coupon code for an additional discount valid the first 24 hours after the release.

Sewing Tutorial: Box Pleats Made Easy

I love box pleats.  They are one of my favorite things to add to my design simply because they are so classic.  They give a wow factor to any garment and they are fairly simple to sew. The Rebel Girl Party Dress and the Alice Pleated Dress both feature inverted box pleats and I just love them. I thought I would write up a quick tutorial to show you how easy they are.

Sewing Tutorial: Box Pleats Made Easy - Must pin for later!

Sewing Tutorial: Box Pleats Made Easy

Box pleats can look scary if you have never done them, but they are actually a snap! I took the photos from our Box Pleat hack we did for the Rose Bubble shorts to show you how to do them.

Sewing Tutorial: Box Pleats Made Easy - Must pin for later!First, transfer your pattern markings.  I like to use a water soluble fabric pen. Just be sure to test it on your fabric first.

Nect you want to line up your two outer lines and fold so they meet.  On BSD patterns, these are the solid lines.  The fold will be on the dotted line.
Sewing Tutorial: Box Pleats Made Easy - Must pin for later!

Then baste on that solid line and you will end up with something like what you see above.

Sewing Tutorial: Box Pleats Made Easy - Must pin for later!

This is how it will look from the front.

Sewing Tutorial: Box Pleats Made Easy - Must pin for later!

Next you want to press the pleat so that the fabric in the back is distributed equally on either side of the basting. This will actually put your dotted line right at the basting.  The picture above shows both the right and the wrong side so you can see what it looks like.
You can then baste the top seam to keep the pleats in place when you sew.  Leave the basting in until you sew your final seam.  That way your feed dogs won’t shift the fabric out of place as you sew.

That’s it!  Now you are a box pleat master! Now you can add them to everything!

Lose Your Sewing Weight: Grade Your Seams

We all have a little extra weight sometimes. You know that bulkiness that you can’t seem to get rid of? No, I’m not talking about what happens to your body after the holidays (or wait, does that only happen to me?) I’m talking about the extra baggage in your seams! Often times when you add a couple layers, your seams expand from too much fabric and look, well, terrible. There is an easy fix for that: grade your seam allowance!

Lose Your Sewing Weight: Grade Your Seams - How this is a great sewing tutorial on how to do seam grading. I've always wondered what that was.  It looks so easy.  Must pin for later!

Lose Your Sewing Weight: Grade Your Seams

Now seam grading sounds like something only a teacher would do, but it’s just a simple term for cutting off your seam bulk. Check the photos below for how to do it.

Lose Your Sewing Weight: Grade Your Seams - How this is a great sewing tutorial on how to do seam grading. I've always wondered what that was.  It looks so easy.  Must pin for later!

First, we start with a seam with multiple fabric layers.  For this tutorial, I have used four layers together and pressed the seam allowance to the right. I did each layer a different color so you could easily see what to do.Lose Your Sewing Weight: Grade Your Seams - How this is a great sewing tutorial on how to do seam grading. I've always wondered what that was.  It looks so easy.  Must pin for later!
When looking at the wrong side, you want the top layer of the seam allowance to be the shortest. Therefore, you are going to trim this layer the most. Since I have four layers of fabric in the seam allowance, I trim this one pretty short. If you only had two layers, you could just trim this seam allowance to half.
Lose Your Sewing Weight: Grade Your Seams
Now do the same thin as the last step, trim this second layer to just past the top layer. Since I have four layers of fabric, I trimmed this layer to half.

Lose Your Sewing Weight: Grade Your Seams - How this is a great sewing tutorial on how to do seam grading. I've always wondered what that was.  It looks so easy.  Must pin for later!

Now it’s time for you final trimming. Take the third layer, and trim a small amount off. Leave the bottom layer untouched.  As you can see, all the layers are visible, and by gradually trimming the seam allowance, you have greatly reduced the bulk.

Lose Your Sewing Weight: Grade Your Seams - How this is a great sewing tutorial on how to do seam grading. I've always wondered what that was.  It looks so easy.  Must pin for later! Here’s what it looks like from the front.

Lose Your Sewing Weight: Grade Your Seams - How this is a great sewing tutorial on how to do seam grading. I've always wondered what that was.  It looks so easy.  Must pin for later! And here is a close-up of the seam allowance. Now you can be super precise if you want and get a ruler out and mark an amount you need to cut off. Personally, I find if you just keep each layer shorter than the next one, it will turn out perfectly fine. But if precise is your thing, take the amount of your seam allowance and divide it by the number of layers of fabric you have to adjust. For example, if you have 4 layers of a 1″ seam allowance, you would trim the first layer .75″, the second .5″, and the last layer .25″.

Now if only all those holiday treats came off so easily. ha ha.

We use this technique on our Sahara Dress & Top for Girls and our Sahara Dress & Top for Ladies. If you don’t have these pattern yet, you are missing out!