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The Essential Sewing Kit
This is not exhaustive. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the list.
FABRIC and STORES IN BELFAST AND SURROUNDING AREAS - This lists the ones I have visited and is not exhaustive.
Craftswoman Fabrics, Kilroot Ind Est, Carrick *
The Spinning Wheel *
Paragon Fabrics, Donegall Pass, Belfast
Mad about Fabrics * Also great for yarns
Sew ‘N Sew
The Patchwork Goose *
Quilters Quest, Creagh Road. A good range of quilting cottons.
Mrs Sew n Sew, Portadown
Dunelm Mill, nationwide. Some dressmaking, mainly interiors.
FABRIC STORES IN DUBLIN
ONLINE FABRICS - The world is your oyster!
PAPER PATTERN BRANDS stocked in the stores above marked with an *
●Burda - not recommended for beginners as it gives little visual information and very detailed text which is hard to follow.
These brand names can also be ordered online.
There are also great paper patterns available with the Sewing magazines. Be careful that the copy you pick up has the size scale to suit you.
DOMESTIC SEWING MACHINE BRANDS
There are lots to choose from. Here is a list of ones that I have sewn with and have experience using.
Bernina - Swiss made. I have the 1008. Price range ££-£££. Excellent quality of machine and stitches.
Pfaff - German. A real workhorse. The Pfaff will take what you throw at it. Excellent for quilting as there is a lot of room around the machine. ££ - £££
Singer: I personally find the older metal body machines are the best. Circa 1980s. I have a 1939 Singer and it runs very well. It only sews a straight stitch, but it is a perfect one.
Janome - as seen on The Great British Sewing Bee. Janome has a wide range of machines to suit all pockets.
Lidl stores stock sewing machines twice yearly. There own brand ‘Silvercrest’ is excellent value and has the thumbs up from me.
Stay clear of any under £20 sewing machines sold in discount stores. They are a waste of money. For a decent new machine, expect to pay £50 upwards.
Gumtree is a great source for well priced sewing machines. Make sure you bring some fabric and thread before you decide to buy. There is often no return on these sales.
Consider what you intend to sew on your machine. If it is stretchy fabrics, a stretch stitch is essential. Not all machines do this. If it is a fast machine, ask for a dual speed foot pedal. There are lots of things to consider so you make an informed choice.
SEWING MACHINE SUPPLIERS and REPAIRERS IN BELFAST
Sew Knit Centre, 131 Newtownards Road, Belfast. Contact Barry. Stockists of Janome 02890456015
The Singer Sewing Center, Sandy Row, Belfast. Contact Cecil * Stockists of: Singer, Bernina, Pfaff, Elna www.sewingmachinesni.com 02890326002
Tools for Solidarity, do not supply sewing machines, but they will repair for a very fair price. 55a Sunnyside Street, Belfast. www.toolsforsolidarity.com 02895435972
SCISSOR AND BLADE SHARPENING SERVICE
BEST BRANDS OF SCISSORS
Kai - (Japanese) and Fiscar (Finland) both get my vote.
When purchasing fabric sheers try before you buy (if the store allows) as grip comfort is paramount to your success in cutting fabric.
The creme de la creme of shears: Ernest Wright and Son, Sheffield
For us left handers there are specialized left hand grips, although I still cut better using right handed ones.
RECOMMENDED SEWING BOOKS
Please do your own research and read reviews before purchasing.
Also check out your local library, they tend to have a large section of sewing, dressmaking, crafting and creating. The second hand book stores often have sewing book gems.
The Readers Digest Complete Guide to SEWING - my personal favourite. Full of very clear step by step illustrations. You can often pick up the older version in second hand book stores.
The Sewing Book by Alison Smith. She has also written ‘Dressmaking’ - it is 95% the same book, but different title.
Complied by Christine Boyle, Colour and Cloth. October 2016.