Sewing is a great pastime, but there are so many sewing tools out there that it can be intimidating for beginners to figure out exactly what you need to get started. There are plenty of notions that will come in handy later on, but here’s a list of essential tools to get you started as a beginner sewist that you will use now AND when you’re an expert.
1. Materials. You always need the right fabric, thread, and sewing machine needles for your project. Check your pattern for details on what kind fabric to use, and always match your needles and thread to your fabric or project. For example, for embroidery you will often use a 40 wt rayon thread whereas for garment sewing you’ll choose a standard cotton or polyester to match the fabric you are using. There’s a handy guide to choosing the right machine needle here.
2. Seam Ripper. Lets face it: mistakes will be made. This little guy is (unfortunately) one of my most important tools!
3. Scissors. A good pair of fabric shears are necessary and can make a world of difference in how quickly and easily you can cut your pieces out. Don’t frustrate yourself by using the wrong scissors! These Gingher scissors are one of my favourites, but this 2-piece Klasse set is also a great option.
4. Marking Pens. There are several kinds to choose from here, and mostly it comes down to personal preference. I prefer a water soluble or heat erasable pen because it gives me as much time as I need to complete my project before it disappears, but if you are working on a quick project or something that won’t be washed, an air erasable pen that fades away on its own would be the best one for the job. Or, pick a pen like this one that does double duty – one end is water soluble and the other side fades away!
5. Pins & Pincushion. Pins are another necessary item for your sewing room, and you’ve got to have somewhere to store them! From the classic Tomato Pin Cushion to a super functional magnetic one, there are several options to choose from. My favourite is this Grabbit magnetic pin cushion and these are great basic pins to get you started.
6. Point Turner. This is a much less obvious choice, but a point turner will help you take your projects from looking homemade to being professional quality. It is used to turn out your corners, collars, or points so they look clean and precise. Make sure you press them with your iron after turning too!
7. Extra Bobbins. You will quickly run out of spare bobbins, and your projects will turn out much better if you use the correct bobbin thread for the job. There isn’t much that’s more annoying than having to unwind a bobbin because you don’t have a spare! There is a selection of bobbins here, and we have an even bigger selection in the store.
8. Tape Measure. Another staple in the sewing room. You’ll use this both with taking your measurements and for marking your fabric. This is a good basic tape measure, but a small retractable one can be just as useful.
9. Ruler. A good, clear ruler is extremely helpful with marking and cutting fabric. I really like the line of Omnigrip rulers, and my go-to is the 6″ x 24″ size. I use it for nearly every project I do.
There you have it – a complete list of everything you need to get started with sewing.
Tell me: What are your essential sewing basket tools?