My sewing studio is most certainly my favorite place to hang out! Since this is where I do my best work, I wanted to share it with all of you. I decided to create a list of sewing resources that includes all of my favorite tools and sewing tips as well as products I like to keep on hand.
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My Huskavarna Viking Sewing Machine
I use a Huskavarna Designer Series SE in my sewing space. I recently purchased it used, although I think it’s probably about 10 years old. Although this machine is new to me, I’ve been a Husky user for more than 30 years. My original Huskavarna machine went with me to college and served me well while I was in design school at the Fashion School of Design in New York City. Since then, Huskavarna has made many improvements. Some of these include dozens of new stitches, heirloom stitches, and computerized embroidery, as well as fancy attachments.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many instructional videos online for this particular machine. Because of this, I am working on a new video series to show you all the great things it is capable of! These machines are both heavy duty and very low maintenance. The most recent machine in this series is the Huskavarna Designer Epic 2 which you can see on their website here.
I also have a few other sewing machines in my sewing room. An Elna Pro 5 Serger that dates back to my college days as well as a few antique machines. My Elna Pro Serger is practically brand new, as it sat in a closet for more than 20 years while I was busy raising my family. Somehow I lost the manual for it, and now I can only use it for certain functions since it dates to “pre-internet” times. It is a workhorse and cuts as it sews with either 3 thread or 5 thread stitches. I love it. However, the concept of a new serger with air threading technology is VERY TEMPTING.
My antique Singer sewing machines are not in working order at this time but they occasionally make an appearance on the blog.
My Huskavarna machine came with several presser feet as well as many embroidery hoops. Although the presser feet and embroidery hoops are only available from an authorized Huskavarna dealership, I have listed my favorites below.
Favorite threads, needles, and presser feet:
Rolled Hem Foot, two sizes
Pintuck Foot, 3 or 5 pintucks
Blind Hem Foot
Clear Plastic Free Motion Quilting Foot
Clear Embroidery Sewing Foot
Regular or Invisible Zipper Foot
Small Embroidery Hoop 100 x 100mm
Medium Embroidery Hoop 240 x 150mm
Mega Embroidery Hoop 150 x 360mm
Sewing Tools and Organization
Many creatives like myself are not good at organizing. We need plenty of organizing tools as well as ideas on how to make things work for us. My pegboard, which I love, is from Ikea. It helps me keep my sewing scissors, cutting tools, and notions from getting lost. I also like to keep various pattern pieces on this board so that I don’t misplace them. I hang all of my tools in plain sight so that I don’t lose them as I work. Here’s a list of my most used sewing notions as well as tools that are on my pegboard:
Brown Craft Paper for pattern making
White Medical Paper Rolls for pattern drafting
Huskavarna Reference Books for machine stitches
In the photo above, you can see the large cork board that I use for organizing my sewing resources and projects. I first print off a photo of the pattern I want to make, then I pin it to the board with a fabric swatch. After I purchase the pattern, I replace the photo with the actual pattern envelope. When I am ready to start sewing I take the pattern envelope off the board with the fabric for cutting. Be sure to purchase a corkboard with a durable metal frame.
For my hand-drawings, I use a paper sketchbook. I enjoy taking my sketchbook with me wherever I go in the event that inspiration strikes. My favorite sketching supplies include both large and small spiral bound sketchbooks with hardcovers. Good quality drawing pencils and professional art markers are also items I must have. Occasionally, I will draw and design on my iPad with an Apple Pencil or with a Wacom tablet in Adobe Illustrator on my desktop computer.
3 Tier Rolling Cart
I keep a rolling cart of supplies at my disposal as I work. My cart is a beautiful rose gold color. I purchased my cart from Michaels Craft Stores. However, I have seen similar carts at Ikea. In the cart, I keep supplies that don’t usually have a home on my pegboard.
Embroidery USB Stick for my Huskavarna Designer Embroidery
Embroidery Hoops, various sizes
You probably already know that I use my Cricut Maker for lots of sewing projects. I am a brand ambassador for Cricut and I just love both their products and the Cricut Design Space. You can find more Cricut projects on the blog here.
The iron I use most often is made by Sunbeam. However, I have several others that I use on occasion including both the Cricut EasyPress and a Rowenta iron that I prefer for some projects or types of fabrics. I prefer an iron that will heat up quickly and automatically shut off when left plugged in. I am always forgetting about it and as a result, leaving it on. An iron that stays on all of the time will both heat up the room unnecessarily and waste energy.
My ironing board is an old garage sale find from the 1950s. It’s very large and solid steel, incredibly sturdy. Be sure to purchase an ironing board that is adjustable in height to your size. My must-have ironing supplies include:
Large Ironing Board
Dritz Needle Board for pressing velvet and plush fabrics
Muslin Press Cloth
Sewing Tables, Lamp, and Chair
My sewing table is makeshift. It is made from an L-shape desktop that we found free on Craigslist. I use two cherry file cabinets under the tabletop at this time. It is a temporary piece until I find one that I feel is really worth the investment. My sewing chair is a vintage piece.
While there are many nice sewing tables available on the market, it is important that your table is adjustable to your height. Good lighting is very important, although generally, I prefer natural light to work in. I use both 6 and 8-foot plastic cutting tables regularly for cutting, planning projects, taking photos, and drawing. I love that they collapse and can be stored easily when not in use. Some of my favorites include:
My Dress Form and Draping
My dress form is a professional model that features collapsible shoulders. It is a standard size 8, which I use for basic pattern draping. I will be purchasing a larger form in a plus-size 20 to accommodate my plus-size sewing patterns that are coming soon! Many people think they must have a form with their exact body measurements, however, this is not true. In design school, we were trained to use either a size 8 or 10 form, the standard sample size in the design industry. I find that when I sew for myself, as a size 20, I merely need to make a few standard adjustments to the fabric while I work in my particular size with the smaller form. You can also add layers of polyester fiberfill quilt batting to the form to equal your exact measurements.
Dress forms are available in lots of different prices and styles as well as numerous sizes. I recommend purchasing only a professional form, either new or used. Inexpensive dressmaker forms are made from light styrofoam which will be frustrating to use. Many “expandable” size forms have large gaps when expanded that make pinning in certain areas impossible.
Make sure you purchase a form with both a pinnable muslin cover and a heavy-duty steel wheelbase for easy moving. Collapsible shoulders are optional and will also cost slightly more. However, they do make it easier to remove fitted garments. Forms with legs and removable arms are great, but can be rather top heavy and will definitely cost more money. I would begin with a basic dress form and then upgrade when you find the need. Order your unfinished muslin fabric (used for draping) by the bolt to ensure that you get the most for your money. My must-have drafting, as well as the fitting tools in my sewing kit, are listed below:
1/4″ Narrow Twill Tape for marking seam lines
Unbleached Cotton Muslin, 45″ wide or wider for draping
That’s all for now! I will continue to make updates to this page as I incorporate new supplies to my sewing room. I would love to hear any questions as well as suggestions you may have!