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Merchant & Mills Sewing Notions Set
Useful sewing tools chosen for quality and utility by an expert
tailor. Includes: needles, pins, wide bow scissors, tailor's chalk and beeswax, a seam ripper, threader, thimble and tape measure. Ships free. (more info)
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is an enjoyable experience, but less so with frustrating, flimsy tools.
This set comes with what you need to sew up hems, fix buttons and alter
your clothes. Each piece was chosen by Carolyn Denham of Merchant &
Mills so you can do things like turn a dumpy, ill-fitting skirt into
one that fits like a glove or drapes like a dream.
This is a great starter set, but if you’ve been suffering through bad notions, upgrading to these pieces will revive your love of the craft.
In this set are:
25 finest handsewing needles, all sharps, but with assorted lengths and gauges for different types of cloth.
Black metal, wide bow scissors that are sharp from joint to tip. Keep these little scissors next to you as you sew, they’re used to snip thread from the spool, for little fixes along the way, and to clean up loose ends on the finished project.
The beautiful black and white tape measure is made in Germany, and measures out 60 inches on one side and 152 centimeters on the other. Soft and pliable, but stiff enough not to get tangled.
This waxy tailor’s chalk is the same one used on London’s famed Saville Row — where absolutely every seam and cut is taken seriously. It’s beige for visibility, brushes off easily and won’t stain your fabric. Use this to mark out patterns or draw lines for sewing and cutting guides.
Tailor’s beeswax is the unsung hero of sewing. Run your thread through this pure, 100% beeswax to make it stronger and last longer. Use it for the hard-working thread on buttons and it’ll be a much longer time before it needs replacing. Rub the end of a thread on it to make it much easier to put through the eye of needle. Made by the same manufacturers who supply Saville Row.
This steel tailor’s thimble is the sturdiest you’ll find. It’s open at the top so you can feel the fabric with your finger. These are vintage deadstock thimbles — among the last to be made in Britain.
A box of versatile, all-important dressmaking pins to make sure your sewing and cutting is accurate. You can’t see the difference with the naked eye between a high quality, sharply-pointed, smoothly polished pin, and a cheap one — but it will show in snags and runs in your fabric. The most avid sewers know that pins aren’t something to skimp on.
This seam ripper gets the job done when you need to open up a seam for alterations or mend a mistake (it happens to the best of us). It’s sharpened only at the bottom of the curve so you won’t accidentally nick the fabric as you tear out the thread.
The pressed metal threader is made of sturdy steel with a good, stiff loop that will find its way quickly through the eye of a needle. It’s the last one you’ll ever own.
pieces come in a sturdy, thick-sided box. Merchant & Mills put a
lot of consideration into finding one that can serve
as your sewing box for years to come. Remove the paper inserts and
you’ll have enough room for spools of thread, buttons, seam ribbons and
everything else in your notions arsenal.
Use for most of these is pretty self-evident, but here are a few tips:
For the tailor’s wax, take your length of thread (the rule of thumb is that thread for handsewing should not be longer than the distance between your wrist and shoulder) and press one end tightly between the wax and two of your fingers. Pull the wax all the way through. You can do this once or twice, then run the thread through a soft cloth to take off any excess. The yellowish wax might stain certain light-colored fabrics, so test it on a scrap first.
When pinning a project, place the pin 3–4 finger-widths apart, and perpendicular to the edge of the fabric to minimize warping.
Choose the right sewing needle for the job. Smaller, thinner ones are for tightly-woven fine fabrics, like silk. The longer, thicker ones are for heavier fabrics, like canvas or denim (you’ll also want to employ a thimble to get the needle through these).
For accuracy, be sure to use a sharp edge on your chalk and cut on the inside line of the marking. This chalk is made to brush right off fabric, so be careful not to accidentally take it off as you move and turn the cloth.
Merchant & Mills scoured the earth for the best sewing notions out there. They come from all sorts of places — the warehouse of an old thimble-maker, the workshops of Saville Row, a venerable factory in the Czech Republic — all chosen because they're the best quality out there. Carolyn Denham, the mind behind Merchant & Mills, wants you to start picking up needle and thread and learn how to sew — or that the very least, alter — your own clothes. Achieving the beauty of a bespoke fit from your own bare hands is a satisfying experience, and these notions are there to send you on the path of sewing greatness.
How to sew a button, Valet Magazine
Basic Stitches, from Household sewing with home dressmaking by Bertha Banner, Google Books
The making of a needle, How It's Made
A most notorious seamstress: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Google Books
Marking fabric, preparing the cloth for cutting, marking around patterns
2.25 inches (5.7 cm) x 1.875 inches (4.8 cm)
Protecting your finger while sewing
An open top to allow your finger to feel the fabric as you work
Diameter of base: .625 inches (1.6 cm)
– Needle threading
– Reinforcing buttonhole thread
Diameter:1.5 inches (3.81 cm)
1 OUNCE DRESSMAKING PINS
Length:1.3 inches (32 mm)
25 assorted sharps needles
Longest: 1.875 inches (4.8 cm)
Shortest: 1.3 inches (3.3 cm)
Inches on one side, millimeters on the other
60 inches (150 mm) long x 0.75 inches (19 mm) wide
WIDE BOW SCISSORS
Snipping threads and loose ends
4 inches (10 cm) long
Removing thread from a seam, for mistakes or to open up a seam for alterations
2.625 inches (6.7 cm) long
To make threading needles easier
3 inches (7.6 cm) long