Saturday, June 18, 2011

DIY for the Everyday Guy: Tools of the Trade

Getting back into the tutorial game, I wanted to bring it back to basics for my readers. Knowing a lot of you have an appreciation for the finer things in life, here's to learning how to maintain said finer things. Welcome to DIY for the Everyday Guy.

We'll keep it simple and in plain English- and start with the tools of the trade: the travel sewing kit. You usually can pick one up with the change in your pockets, or hang on to the one from your next hotel stay.

1. Pin cushion: Soft but sturdy cushion, typically of foam to hold straight pins and hand sewing needles. This is used so that pins don't find themselves on the floor, then inevitably in your foot (been there, done that). Also, it makes it easier to grab pins from the cushion than on a table top.

2. Straight pins: Sometimes called "sharps". Used to hold fabric together temporarily when mending or adjusting. If you have to fix a hem, use straight pins to hold the fold in place, so the hem is an even and consistent line. NOT used for actual sewing because it doesn't have a way to hold the thread (see no. 9)

3. Tweezers: There are a million uses for tweezers in sewing, but not entirely necessary. Probably most useful for guys when threading a needle or trying to pull a thread from a harder-to-reach place.

4. Scissors: Used to cut the thread and loose strings. If you simply tear the string to break it, the ends won't be blunt enough to go through the head of a needle and it'll just be needlessly difficult. Believe me. Just use the little scissors.

5: Threader: Looks like a coin on top, has a thin metal loop at the bottom.  Place the loop in the eye of the needle, pass thread through the loop, then remove the threader from the eye of the needle. #Boom You now have a threaded needle.

6. Safety pin: Just because we could all use one sometimes.

7. Buttons: Common shirting buttons for that critical moment when that button at the center of your chest finally gives out, and you're in a bind the morning of a meeting, and you're out of town and options. Don't freak out, just fix it dude. (replacing a button tutorial on deck!)

8. Snaps: Usually found on henley shirts or sometimes on casual shirts. These are actually used on The Style Cooperative Snapback Bow Ties as well. Sewn on as easily as a button too.

9. Hand sewing needle: The pin with a small eye on top. A typical kit will come with a couple of these. They are used for the actual sewing because the eye is what carries the thread. Straight pins won't have the eye on top. Item #5 comes in handy with this needle.

10. Thread: Typically comes in a few colors, with more emphasis on standard colors like white and black. Use scissors to cut (read: don't rip it apart just because you can), and only unravel what you need from the spool. Taking more thread than you need typically leads to tiny knots that get in the way.

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