10 Best Sewing Baskets | March 2017
- three-compartment tray
- style isn't too busy
- lightweight fiberboard bottom
- solid feet for stability
- pin cushion attached to lid
- more expensive than comparable items
- boxes vary slightly in size
- magnetic snap closure
- no extras included
- room for a garment in progress
- locking mechanism on front
- could be better quality for the cost
- sufficient organizational potential
- reasonably priced
- comfortable to carry
- reliable name in needlework supplies
- large capacity item
- tough and made to last
|Brand||Dritz St. Jane|
- good for newbies to pros
- excellent gift item
- includes classic tomato pin cushion
Choosing Your New Sewing Basket
A sewing basket is more than a convenient accessory that people who regularly sew should consider; it is a necessary piece of gear the seamstress or tailor must own. Whether you use a sewing machine or you stitch by hand, a good sewing basket keeps your tools and supplies organized, protected, and ready for convenient transport or easy storage. As sewing involves so many diminutive items, some of which are dangerous if misplaced (the sharp needles, e.g.), a sewing basket prevents the loss of your gear and helps reduce the chance of injury.
In short, even if you are not using a dedicated sewing basket to store your thread, thimbles, needles, and other tools, then you are probably using some other inferior storage device (the cookie tin is the classic stand-in), so you might as well make the modest investment in a fine sewing basket.
Most sewing baskets come with a cloth-covered body, feature a removable organization tray with slots of varied sizes, and have a pin cushion -- this latter feature is often affixed to the inside of the basket's lid, allowing easy access to your pins and needles while the unit is open.
Where sewing baskets tend to vary from one another is in physical size and shape. Many are rectangular prisms with tall handles that swing up for carrying and drop down when the basket is perched on a table or shelf. Some units are taller, some are square in shape, and so forth; if you know where you will store your sewing gear when it's not in use, it will be easy to find a basket that fits the space. Also, be sure to note the interior measurements of an option you are considering if you have a sewing kit, tray, or larger accessories you want to be sure will fit.
Make sure you consider how the sewing basket you are considering closes. Some use a snap to secure their lids, while others use a button. Still others have a zipper running all the way around the lid, which can prevent objects from falling out of the basket even if it is dropped or tossed about during travel. If you only sew at home, an option that opens quickly and easily makes sense; if you travel with your supplies, consider a zippered basket.
Many sewing baskets come with a sewing kit; these kits usually include multiple different threads, scissors, measuring tape, and more. For the seamstress or seamster who is just starting to sew, such pre-loaded baskets are ideal, as they help save money and equip their owner at the same time. Yet often the materials included in such a package are of inferior quality, with thread too fragile for use in garments intended for regular wear and scissors that won't hold an edge. If you are considering a sewing basket that comes with a sewing kit, make sure you would still appreciate the appearance, size, and design of the basket were it to arrive devoid of accessories; if that's the case, then by all means buy a pre-filled option.
A Few Items a Seamstress Must Have
If you do not have good, sturdy thread, then you cannot sew well, no matter how much experience and aptitude you bring to the task. Choose thread material based on the fabric you intend to stitch (cotton thread is ideal for cotton garments, for example, while thin and durable polyester thread is ideal for linens or towels), and remember that thread weight ratings are inversely proportional to strength and size; a 30 weight thread is thicker and stronger and a 50 weight option.
A good thimble is a must-have accessory even for the seasoned tailor or seamstress; small, fine needles can penetrate even callused skin, and unless you take the time to sterilize your pins and needles before each use, they are likely harboring bacteria. This can be especially dangerous for calluses, in fact, as wounds suffered in callused flesh are slow to heal.
Perhaps the most important tool the clothier uses after the actual needle and thread, though, is a good pair of sharp scissors. Sewing scissors are small and precise, with narrow tips that can make fine snips without fraying a thread. When you make a clean cut at the end of a line of stitches, you greatly enhance the chance that the seam will hold over time.
Three Stitches You Must Know to Sew
Of all the stitches one can use, the running stitch is the simplest and, often enough, the most useful for your sewing. It can be used to affix a patch to a garment, to join two fabrics together, or to add a design element to a piece of clothing or a blanket. The stitch consists of nothing more than running a single thread up and down through two pieces of overlaid fabric (or one, for a design-only effect) in a straight line. To make a running stitch, start with a thread knotted on the bottom side of the fabric -- the side that will not be seen, e.g. -- and press the needle up through the layers of material. Now insert the needle back down through the fabric a short space away. Pass your thread up and down in a wave-like pattern that follows the line of the fabric being stitched, so that evenly-spaced stitching and gaps show on the exterior of the work.
The back stitch is an ideal choice when you need to create a sturdy stitch, as when joining the sleeves to the body of a shirt, for example, or for creating a quilt for a child. It commences with a single basic stitch passed up and then back down through the fabric layers. The next hole is made not farther along the intended seam, however, but slightly behind the initial stitch. The thread passes over the first stitch and then back down into the fabric. Next stitch up through the fabric and now finally create a new hole ahead of the initial stitch. The result will be a line of partially overlapping stitches that resists tearing and loosening.
An overcast stitch is used not to join fabric, but rather to protect the edge of a single piece of fabric. This stitch is useful for the edge of a pocket or collar, or for sheets or towels. It consists simply of a series of looped stitches passed over and over the outside edge of the fabric, usually at a 45-degree angle. Then, you pull the stitching taut but not tight, so you avoid bunching up the fabric, but you won't leave slack that could get caught on other objects.