Ten Essential Sewing Supplies .. For a Sewing Class or Quilting Workshop
Sewing and Quilting Workshop Supplies
Over the years, I have attended a lot of sewing and quilting workshops. I love the inspired creativity unleashed during those events. It’s also a great way to meet people who also enjoy playing with fabric and thread like I do.
A supply list may come as part of the workshop. Such a list would probably include needed fabrics, trims, thread, essential sewing supplies, pattern, or instruction book. However, there are items I always bring with me. It’s amazing what people don’t think to pack, or tools that the instructor forgets to include on the list.
1. Sewing Machine – Some classes may provide a sewing machine (or offer the option). But you may prefer to bring a machine you know will work well, and one that you are familiar with using. I own a Bernina 1260 QPE sewing machine for all my at-home work. While I adore my Bernina, it is a heavy machine to carry to classes. Instead, I bring my faithful Janome Jem. The Janome is a lightweight sewing machine that has basic stitches. Since the stitches used during the classes I take are usually either a straight stitch or a zigzag stitch, the Janome is perfect.
2. Iron – Sewing classrooms often have irons available. If you are taking a workshop (sponsored for instance by a local quilt guild), they may pool their resources and ask some members to bring irons. I find irons a nuisance to lug around, but there are times when you need to supply your own. Make sure the iron you bring is one you don’t mind having ruined (I use my Black & Decker Pro Finish iron). One of the last times I brought an iron to a workshop for everyone to use, fusible material ended up liberally coating the entire bottom of the iron.
3. Ironing Board / Pad – I know people who bring full-size ironing boards to workshops. It’s too much for me to try and manage along with the sewing machine and iron. Instead, I bring an all-in-one cutting board and ironing board. It is called the June Tailor Quilter’s Cut’n Press II, and it is a portable solution that works for small- to medium-size projects.
4. Cutting Tools – I am a rotary cutter fan. My brand of choice is Olfa, and I own their rotary cutters in various sizes: 18mm, 28mm, 45mm. I make sure to bring all three size cutters with me as well as replacement blades. That way I am covered for every eventuality. Don’t forget to include a sharp pair of scissors. I always bring a regular-size cutting scissor as well as a pair of smaller trimming scissors to snip loose threads and to cut into tight areas if needed. Unless a supply list specifically states to bring pinking shears, I leave those at home.
5. Cutting Board – The type and size of cutting board I bring to workshops depends upon the project. If ironing is involved, I will usually bring the June Tailor Quilter’s Cut’n Press II. However, I also own many sizes of the Olfa Self-Healing Rotary Cutting Mats. I love them! The 12” x 18” mat easily tucks into a tote bag, and it is flexible to bend around fabrics and other supplies in the bag. If I know an ironing board is going to be at the class, I will bring Olfa mats. (I usually bring the 12” x 18” or 18” x 24” size. I also carry a smaller Omnigrid Mat for near the sewing machine; which is also great for trimming paper-pieced blocks).
6. Rulers – If you use a rotary cutter, an acrylic ruler is a must. I bring several size acrylic rulers with me to classes. The large 6” x 24” acrylic ruler is great for cutting larger pieces of fabric. I also bring a smaller 1” x 6” acrylic ruler for trimming and cutting small fabric pieces.
7. Sewing Supply Kit – I always carry a sewing kit filled with basic supplies. Included are marking pencils/chalk, sewing needles (hand and machine), needle threader, thimble, glass-head pins, seam ripper (which you hope you’ll never have to use!), small ruler and measuring tape, scissors (large and small sizes), rotary cutters and replacement blades, neutral color thread spools.
8. Extension Cord / Surge Protector – Always pack an extension cord! You can’t depend on sitting near a wall outlet, and you might need an extension cord to plug in the sewing machine and/or iron. I can’t count how many times I have needed to use one; or someone pleads with the group for one to use. Make sure to bring a heavy-duty extension cord. Another consideration is bringing a surge protector. Those with very expensive computerized sewing machines will definitely want to think about connecting their equipment to a surge protector. It’s wise to protect one’s investments.
9. Water Bottle / Snacks – Whether the class or workshop is a few hours or an entire day, it is important to stay hydrated. I always pack a few bottles of water. Even if the facility offers a water bubbler, it is more convenient (and time saving) to have a bottle of water within reach. A quick energy snack does wonders at keeping productivity high. A grumbling stomach is such a distraction!
10. Tote Bag or Wheeled Tote – You will need a roomy tote bag or wheeled tote to carry all your goodies. There are a lot of options. I have seen some people use luggage carriers to haul both their sewing machine and bag of supplies.
Another tip is that if you know the color fabric you will be using, wind several sewing machine bobbins ahead of time so that you won’t have to fuss with winding bobbins during the workshop. You’ll want to spend your time sewing … and having fun!
I hope this lists helps you prepare for your next sewing or quilting workshop.
Copyright 2010 Dawn L. Stewart
Joined:May 31, 2002
Dawn Lesley Stewart is the author of "Mist-Seer" and "Harriet's Horrible Hair Day". She is an avid writer, and enjoys sharing her experiences with others.
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