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Emails about machine recommendations have been more common lately, so I thought I’d put them in one spot to direct people. These are all the main,major tools I have and use regularly in my sewing machine and for photography.

{This page contains affiliate links, indicated by an asterisk*. Please refer to ‘legal stuff’ in the top menu for more info.}

I’m using Amazon affiliate links, but always price compare, shop around, etc.! Don’t forget to check Ebates* and see if you can get cash back, if you’re shopping online. Check with your local dealers and see what they have to offer. Camelcamelcamel is a great site to see Amazon’s price history and if something is a good deal.  I also always check for refurbished, or ‘open box’ options on Amazon – see the picture below.

I have had the best experiences with Amazon customer service, so I don’t hesitate to purchased used when it’s from them!

Sewing

My Sewing Gear

1. Brother 1034d* Serger

I adore this machine. I’ve used it hard for 2+ years to construct all my knit garments, finish woven seams, and make pretty rolled hems.

2. Simplicity SB3129 Sewing Machine

I bought this machine from a local dealer – it is the exact same as the online, less expensive Brother Project Runway PC420PRW* but has more metal than plastic parts (I called Brother to confirm this after comparing their features, and noticing the weight difference). It’s awesome! I can’t say enough good things about it. It was about $500 at my dealership.

If you’re looking for a more entry level machine, I have heard lots of great things about the Brother CS6000i*.

3. Gingher Pinking Shears*

I once thought pinking shears were simply decorative – but now I know they serve a purpose! They cut woven fabrics at bias angles so they don’t fray; I use them for quick seam finishes often. Ginghers are pricey, but so nice.

4. Brother 2340CV* Coverstitch Machine

This is a total splurge. As my son gets bigger, it’s tougher to upcycle and re-use hems so this makes my from-scratch hems look much more professional!

Sewing Gear 2

5. Olfa Rotary Cutter*

I never pin patterns! I use pattern weights & a rotary cutter, and I love it. I order replacement blades on Amazon too, they’re way cheaper that way.

6. Gingher Embroidery Scissors*

I know, a pricey pair of little scissors. But, again, they’re worth it. I lost my first pair when we moved and tried to hack it with a little cheapie set and missed them dreadfully until I had a replacement! I use these for both embroidery and for cutting threads while sewing.

7. Joann Table / Cutting Mat 

This table & mat is a game changer! Perfect for cutting women’s size patterns and bigger projects. I love it.

8. Gingher Scissors*

These are great for cutting fabric! Again, I know they are expensive, but they are great quality.

Photography

I am very, very far from an expert. But, I am learning! These are the tools I’ve accumulated – I took a class at our local community college and at least feel competent enough to play around on Manual mode and try to create prettier images. Often I’m fighting against light/time constraints since I only have nap-time and nighttime to work but I’m always trying to improve.

photos fav1

1. Canon Rebel T3 DSLR Camera*

I love Canon! The only drawback in my amateur opinion is that you have to buy a somewhat expensive extra remote to plug in, not one of the nice and easy clickers.

2. Tripod*

Super basic, no problems with it thus far. A must if you’re taking pictures of things you sewed for yourself!

 

3.

Speedlight External Flash*

This helps add light but can be angled for a more subtle effect. I use it frequently and it’s simple, my only complaint is that it burns through batteries quickly so try to turn it off in between shots if practical.

 

4. Canon EF 50 f/1.8 Lens*

Everyone loves this lens, and it takes beautiful portraits so no surprise there.

 

photo favs

5. Studio Lights*

Again, trying to combat my limited time windows for photographs. These help balance out uneven light and are easy to set up.

6. Canon EF 35mm f/2 Wide Angle Lens*

This is the newest lens for me, and I love it. No longer do I have to suck myself against the furthest wall to get decent pictures insides.

7. Canon  EF 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 lens*

I think I would’ve been better off skipping this one and only using prime lenses; I’m never thrilled with the shots this takes but maybe I’ll change my mind once I improve my skills.

8. White Background Photography Paper*

I mainly use this for process photos so far because I don’t have a good spot for a full-body set-up. Really nice quality and no yucky chemicals or off-gassing like a vinyl dropcloth shares.