Miss Libby Rose: Hobbycraft Top 10!
Miss Libby Rose has rounded up her top 10 most used and favoured Hobbycraft products into the below list, so that we can all build the ultimate sewing kit to set us off on the right foot! She has thrown some top tips in the mix, as well as alternatives for makers on a budget!
1. Fat Quarters
If you have done any work with me either online, on-bus or in person, you will know that I love a fat quarter, and a lot of the lovely creative work we do is based around these gorgeous fabrics. This hasn’t always been the case, in fact once upon a time, before my days of working with Hobbycraft, I thought these little bundles were only used by quilters, patchwork peeps and to look pretty on the crafting shelf!
I know that it is not only me who thinks this way, over time I have chatted to many others from a fashion or dressmaking background, and they all generally agree that they thought ‘people like us’ don’t have a use for fat quarters even though they do look pretty. I have certainly now made up for lost time since making it my mission in 2015 to find a way of using these for every design I create including clothing!
So therefore my no.1 top sewing tool from Hobbycraft is their Fat Quarters. In particular favourites at the moment are:
1. Embroidery Scissors are a great addition to your sewing box, even if you are not into embroidery (yet) these sharp, precise little snippers will ensure a wonderful, professional finish in your work. The pointy ends will allow you to get rid of even the smallest stray pesky thread.
2. Fabric Scissors – keep them sharp and keep them separate. I actually label all my scissors so no-one has the urge to use my fabric scissors for anything else. I find a nice rounded plastic handle works well for me these days as metal handles can tend to rub (although I do still use metal handle for fashion) but for comfort and fabulousness check out these lovely ones:
Ultimate: Fiskars Classic Dressmaking Scissors 25cm
Budget: Fabric Scissors – If you’re on a budget these are a good pair too, and comfortable. To keep them nice do follow the advice above and keep them separate!
3. Paper Scissors – it is good practice in your sewing kit to have a nice pair of paper scissors too, I know we tend to miss this pair (in the sewing world) and grab kitchen scissors or the kids scissors for paper (or is that just me?) but life is so much better with a nice pair of paper scissors dedicated to your patterns and paper only. I recommend:
Ultimate: Fiskars General Purpose Scissors
Middle: Xcut 5 Inch Precision Scissors
Budget: General Purpose Scissors
3. Pins With a Head
You might think all pins are the same, and yes they are all very useful, but you can choose different types! While steel headed pins are lovely for dressmaking and for home use, I always try and use pins with a head when doing workshops outside of home.
Why you may ask? Here are my top 3 reasons why using pins with a head are better:
- Easy to see when spilt, especially on the floor!
- Easy to pick up! Using the big head on top these pins are always much easier to pick up one at a time from a pin pot or to slide out of your pin cushion!
- They look so pretty in your pin pot or in your pin cushion, and really that is what matters most of all! 😉
Fun flower head pins: Hemline Flower Head Pins
Glass head pins: Hemline Glass Head Pins
4. Even Feed / Walking Foot
My absolute favourite sewing foot. If you are working with Jersey fabric or if you are quilting, this foot allows you to layer up fabrics without them slipping everywhere! It has a feed-dog at the top so it works well with the feed dogs on the machine manipulating layers of fabric or helping with tricky fabrics. If you are using tricky, slippy or layered up fabrics a lot then this is a definite go-to foot!
5. Heat ‘n’ Bond
This product is an absolute staple on the pink sewing bus and most places I work! It is magic in a packet. If you work with appliqué pictures, lettering, words or any type of appliqué then do give this a go rather than pinning your work in place. It will allow you to iron on your appliqué in advance so you can easily sew around it without the fear of the ‘pin crumple’.
Alternatively you can use the Heat ‘n’ Bond Ultra and you don’t even have to sew, just iron on and you’re ready!
6. Bean Bag and Soft Toy Fillings
I am a sucker for a comfy bean bag! Do check out my tutorial on the Hobbycraft blog showing how to sew a mini beanbag pouf. These bags of White Bean Bag Filling are great value and so easy to use and to distribute from the bag! It’s also good to get yourself a wide funnel, like this Kitchencraft Steel Jam Funnel, to help feed it through into your hole.
Top tip! When filling up your bean bag – do it over a (dry) bath to help contain any spillage!
You can also have lots of fun filling stuffed toys, cushions, creatures or even draught excluders with this lovely quality Soft Toy Filling.
Top tip! Mix the stuffing / beans in with some lavender herbs or room oils to have a lovely scented project.
7. Sewing Storage: Plastic Boxes, Baskets & Bags!
Storage is a must to stay organised in every craft room and craft bus!
Small, colourful, and very cute boxes for pins, safety pins, excess bobbins, extra feet, small embroidery scissors and all other miniature essentials that need storing. Try these Really Useful Assorted Boxes.
Go one step further with a full organiser, and use each drawer for buttons, zips and have all your sewing kit neatly organised at your finger-tips. The Really Useful Boxes Organiser would work a treat!
And then neatly fold all your fabrics and fat quarters into these rather good looking Wicker Hamper Baskets.
Your sewing machine can’t be left out! You may have seen these Beautiful Bloom Sewing Machine Bags on my bus – they’re so easy to use, store and carry – and are big enough to fit overlockers in.
Rulers are a massive staple in my sewing and design life. I use them for drafting and creating lovely new patterns for you lovely peeps to follow and use. Plus creating fashion patterns too!
It’s well worth having a look through the rulers section on the Hobbycraft website or browsing the section in store as you may find the right ruler to help you. My top ‘must have’ rulers are:
- Sew Easy Curve Ruler – great for fashion if you are starting to do ‘pattern hacks’ from patterns you have bought (see my make a simple dress pattern hack where we are creating our own facings), or if you are taking the plunge into pattern cutting. This curve will certainly help with tricky arm holes and necklines.
- Sew Easy French Curve Ruler – As above, a french curve is a real life saver for manipulating those tricky curves!
9. Sewing Patterns
In particular my latest love the Simplicity dungarees 8447, which I am allowing some sewing time to make for myself, plus the vintage style shirt that goes with them!
Do check out my post How to Choose and Use a Sewing Pattern to find my top tips for implementing pre-made designs!
10. Sewing Machine
My favourite sewing machine that you can find in store at Hobbycraft is the Janome 2032 Sewing Machine. I love this machine for it’s ease of use for a beginner through to intermediate/advanced.
It has all the features you need including 4-step button hole with special foot & the zip foot plus the bonus that is really useful the ‘Double-lift presser foot’ There are 14 stitch options on this machine including E, F & G which are great for stretch! (Do remember to change your needle type if you are using stretch fabric – check out my blog post on this.)
If you are looking for a new machine, or to get started with sewing, I always recommend to go on a class first and get a feel for the machines at the class then you will get a feel for what you like and what you don’t! Hobbycraft run Sew Simple sessions in store to help you find the right machine for you!