Sewing is a great and valuable skill to have.
If you have a basic knowledge of the equipment and vocabulary, then you can take on a seemingly endless number of sewing projects and create just about anything made of cloth. Now, I am no great tailor – I am just a beginner sewer. Everyone starts as a beginner so if you haven’t picked up a needle before, never fear. It is easy to get started…
Getting Started with Sewing
Now, if you are just getting started with sewing, you do need a little bit of equipment to start. It is great to get hand-me-downs to keep the costs in check, but you can find great deals on Amazon or locally at your neighborhood crafts store.
There is nothing like being able to see and touch a sewing machine, and a good store will let you have a little test drive at the machine, too.
Here is a thorough guide about selecting a sewing machine for beginners for your reference. I like the Brother XM2701 and it’s normally available for less than $100. It’s designed to be easy to use and versatile.
Many of the projects are quite simple so you can just use a needle and thread.
In the preparedness space, we often think about and prepare for not having electricity – so a needle and thread may be all you have.
Here is a short list of equipment to have in your basic sewing kit:
- Variety of needles
- Variety of pens
- Pin Cushion
- Safety Pins
- Fabric Scissors
- Tape Measure
- Tailors Chalk (optional)
- Sewing Machine (optional depending on your goals-this one is pretty affordable)
- A Book about sewing (this one is great for learning how to make your own clothing)
Some of the projects you can do by hand – via needle and thread – while others require a sewing machine to complete in a timely manner. Technically, you can do all of these by hand but they may take you a while! They are roughly sorted by difficulty, easy to harder.
Repair a Fray or Tear
You can get more life out of you clothing if you can do simple mending. I know I have busted through the sleeve with my elbow while working outside. Instead of scrapping an otherwise good working shirt, I can pull out the sewing kit and repair the sleeve.
A more advanced application would be to add a reinforcing patch to frayed blue jeans. Many times you can get iron on patches that can be sewed on for extra strength. You can also use scrap fabric for the patches, too.
Sew on a Button
I must be hard on buttons because I seem to blow one off once a week. Sewing on a button is a critical skill to have. I bet if you have a fuller homestead than me, that you have to sew buttons on daily! It is simple enough to do, and a great skill to teach the children as young as they can safely handle a needle.
Cinch Sack, aka Bag with a Drawstring
You can never have too many bags around. Kids can use them as a backpack, you can use them as a grocery bag, or you can use a larger bag for a hamper. They are easy to make and totally versatile. Here is a great plan for a sack that is a little more decorative than I prefer so you can adjust for your tastes, too.
First Aid Kit
This is a cool carrying case for your first aid kit – you should probably have one in your car or truck, one in the barn or shed, at the office, and in the tool box. Having access to an antibacterial swab, ointment, and band-aids are critical to prevent small scratches from becoming infected. Here is a full tutorial with images so that you can follow along.
Sling for an Injured Arm
Breaking or spraining any part of your arm is a traumatic experience! I haven’t had to go through a broken bone (luckily!) but it can be even more traumatic for a child. Here is a way to make a tough situation better with a custom-made arm sling. You can add super-hero-themed patterns to the sling or simply use a fun, bright fabric. Here is a good example of a homemade sling.
When you are considering the survival and preparedness angle, you can see the value of having the ability to create your own medical rehabilitation appliances. If you can’t get to a hospital for some reason, then you can improvise a solution in the field.
This one is a no-brainer and a time-honored tradition for many families. This may not be a project for a beginner but you can pick up the craft in no time and there are many quilting groups across the country to help you get started. Here is a great multi-part guide to help you get started quilting.
- Books About Sewing from Threads Magazine
- Getting Children Interested In Sewing & Good Machines for Children
- Basic Operations for Sewing Machines from Singer
- American Quilter’s Society
I hope I have convinced you that sewing can be an ultra-valuable skill to have for homesteading.
It can become a lifelong hobby which you can reap the benefits for years to come.Remember that you can start with very basic equipment, and you can usually get them as hand-me-downs. A veteran sewer is always happy to share this great hobby. If you haven’t sewed before, start with some basic projects first. Practice makes perfect and you can expect some of your very first projects to be a little rough around the edges.