When you first start sewing, sometimes figuring out what you need in your sewing kit can feel overwhelming. There are just so many kinds of sewing supplies to choose from! This list of beginner sewing kit essentials will help you narrow it down to the basics.
Seam ripper – It doesn’t matter whether you are a beginner or more experienced at sewing, you’re going to need to rip out some stitches now and then. A seam ripper makes this so much easier to do.
Fabric scissors – No, you can’t just use any old pair of scissors – not if you want to be successful with your sewing projects. Sewing scissors are designed to be really sharp so they can cut through all sorts of fabrics. Get a good pair of fabric scissors and make sure to only use them for fabric! I like to mark mine with a piece of ribbon to remind myself and others.
Pinking shears – These scissors allow you to cut a zigzag line which can be surprisingly important when sewing. Pinking shears can be really helpful in reducing fraying on the raw edge of fabric. They’re often used in finishing seams.
Embroidery scissors or thread snippers – These aren’t absolutely essential but they can really help you with trimming threads cleanly and close to the fabric. They also make clipping and notching curved seams much easier as well. Embroidery scissors are simply small scissors while thread snippers have spring-loaded blades.
Measuring Tools- A tape measure, not only for taking people’s measurements when making clothing, you will find many uses for the tape measure when making your sewing projects. A seam gauge, Also known as a sewing gauge or hem gauge. This is essential for taking accurate small measurements. It’s most often used for measuring hems, pleats, darts, and buttonholes. A clear ruler- mostly for mearing and cutting fabric.
Pincushion – You’re going to want someplace handy to stick pins and needles when you’re not using them. There is, of course, the traditional tomato shaped pincushion with the strawberry hanging from it. Did you know that the strawberry is filled with some abrasive material to sharpen needles and pins if needed? Some sewists like to keep a pincushion that you wear on your wrist on hand as well. It’s useful while doing a lot of pinning. Finally, some people prefer magnetic pincushions. Needles and pins are far less likely to fall on the floor with these.
Pins – When it comes to basic sewing pins, round head or flat flower head pins are fine for most projects. The important thing to remember is that the plastic heads on these will melt if they come into contact with an iron when you’re pressing the seams. Having some dressmaking pins (all metal with no plastic heads) on hand is a great idea. When working with knits or very thin fabrics like silk, you will need to buy specialized pins for those projects.
Sewing Clips- These are essentially a substitue for pins. They help keep fabric together before you sew them. There are some specific projects that will require pins instead od clips, but when I can I always use clips because they are so much easier to put on and take off and a lot less dangerous!
Needles – Having some universal sewing machine needles on hand can be a big timesaver. You just never know when you might break a needle right in the middle of a sewing project! You’ll also need a selection of basic hand sewing needles available. You can usually buy a package containing a variety of sizes and types that will be suitable for such things as tacking, basting, blind hemming, and sewing on buttons.
Thread – Most of the time, you’re going to be buying thread for each specific project you’re making. You’ll want to color match it and make sure that it’s suitable for the type of fabric you’re using. But it’s a good idea to have a spool each of black and white on hand. Then, as you create more sewing projects, you’ll build up a collection of other colors.
Needle threader – A simple needle threader can prevent so much frustration and save you time! The ones with the wires are the most flexible and quite inexpensive, but the wires can break under pressure. Solid metal needle threaders will hold up better to hard use.
Washable markers – You need something for marking darts and other pattern markings on your fabric. Both tailor’s chalk and washable fabric markers will wash away when your project is completed.
Iron and ironing board – An iron is often overlooked but is an extremely important tool in your sewing room! You need to be able to press seams, hems, darts, and more if you want to achieve really good results with your sewing. A simple inexpensive iron can make the difference between your sewing looking like a beginner project and one with a cleaner, more professional finish.
These next three items are not a necessary part of your beginner’s sewing kit, but they are certainly something you might want to add later, especially if you’re going to be cutting a lot of quilt blocks or making other projects using fabric strips, squares, triangles, or other straight-edged shapes.
Rotary cutter –A rotary cutter is really handy for making a lot of repeated cuts and can cut through several layers of fabric at once. Some sewists find that they prefer to use rotary cutters exclusively in place of sewing scissors but it can take a bit of practice to cut out pattern pieces with them.
Self-healing cutting mat – If you’re going to use a rotary cutter, you’re going to need a cutting mat to go with it. It will protect the surface you’re cutting fabric on, help keep it aligned, and keeps the rotary blades sharp longer.
Clear ruler – Another essential to go with the rotary cutter, these rulers help keep your cuts straight and even.
This list of sewing kit of essentials may seem long but most of the items are quite inexpensive. Sewing stores also often sell beginner sewing kits containing many of these items all in one package. These supplies will give you a great start with your sewing hobby and you’ll be able to make lots of fun projects with them!