One of the most annoying things in being creative in general, is having an idea but not the tools to carry it out. Not having a basic kit ready on hand is going to be one of the main reasons you NEVER get around to DIYing. Yes, it might be initially pricey to buy a whole kit, but perhaps start with cheaper options from bargain stores, or supermarkets, and then when you are sure that you are serious about your new hobby, start replacing things one by one with quality pieces (I love the John Lewis haberdashery and Hobby Craft). Trust me, when inspiration strikes you need to act on it quickly or you can quickly loose interest.
So get your notepad and bank card at the ready, because here are the things that I believe to be essentials in your Sewing Kit:
Needles, Dressmakers Pins, Threads, Stitch Ripper
These four are the basis of all kits for dressmakers. You can take on many small projects with these four alone. Pins and needles can be bought cheaply, as long as they are replaced regularly so they remain sharp, as to not ruin fabrics. As for threads, start with a basic selection of colours you are most likely to use (a black, white and cream are good choices) and slowly build a collection to match the different fabrics you buy. A stitch ripper is a sewing novices' best friend, as it allows you to unpick any mistakes and start again leaving fabric virtually unharmed.
Dressmakers Scissors, Pinking Shears, Tailors Chalk and Tracing Paper
The right pair of scissors is crucial to a good dressmaker. They really need to be specific fabric scissors and remain very sharp (so no using them to cut paper or cheekily cut tags off of things!). These will glide through fabric far easier and provide a neat finish. Pinking Shears are often overlooked in essential kit guides, but they are really crucial for finishing seams and easy hemming. The quality of these is less important so if you are going to splurge on one pair of scissors make it the dressmaking ones! Tailors chalk is fab for marking out alterations and such, and can be bought cheaply from most haberdashers. Tracing paper is another that many may not deem an essential but for me, and those who work from patterns, it means you don't have to cut your (sometimes rare and expensive) patterns and make them unusable for other sizes. Simply trace the size and variation of the pattern over and cut the tracing paper. For me this is so important and I get through loads of the stuff!
Elastic, Poppers, Ribbons and Zips
Now this set of items aren't necessarily essentials for your starter sewing kit, but more a good few items to have stockpiled ready for impromptu projects or quick D.I.Y alterations etc. Elastic is cool to keep in for quickly changing an old dress in to an elasticated waist skirt (as seen in this tutorial). Poppers are brill for keeping a skirt waistband closed or for the neckline of a dress. Ribbons are great for keeping a stash of not only for decorative purposes, but also for making a cool paperbag waist skirt/shorts, or covering wonky stitching. Zips for me are a complete essential. If I make a dress it will 99% of the time have a zip on. I tend to stock up on a few in general colours when I am in a haberdashery, or will buy one to match the colour of the fabric when I buy it. Zips can seem rather scary to insert, but once you get into the hang of it, and practice, it's not all that intimidating.
Somewhere to keep it all! (My sewing box is from Cath Kidston, and is on sale at the moment here)
When I first started gathering bits and bobs, they were all stuffed into little stationary drawers from Wilkinsons. While the organiser in my loved this, it just wasn't practical or portable. You need something that will keep everything all in one place and that you can easily move from your desk, to your floor, to your bed, to the garden etc. I like that I can pack everything up in here and take it to my garden. Actual sewing boxes are usually expensive, so grab one on sale or use your imagination!
I hope this helped any of you just catching the sewing bug! If my last few D.I.Y's have caught your attention and you are thinking 'oh I've got no time to D.I.Y/sew' or 'I don't know where to start' then here you are, your very own handpicked by Sophie starter kit!