As a sewing beginner, I knew about some of the must have sewing supplies that I would need, like having a pair of great quality scissors used only for sewing and nothing else. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I needed to make a complete list of essentials for sewing that I didn’t have but would most definitely need pretty quickly.
Receiving a great quality sewing machine to sew stuff or sew craft projects etc was a fun and exciting moment. Even though I could have done alright with a very basic sewing machine for under $100.00, without all of the computerized stitching options etc, I knew I was going to be sewing a lot more than just doing basic sewing repairs and hems, so my not-so-basic sewing machine works perfectly for me.
When I opened the box and took out the sewing machine, I immediately started wondering Where am I going to sew? Am I going to sew on the kitchen or dining room table, and have to move everything elsewhere when the table was needed for eating meals? I tried that for a few weeks, but decided that I definitely needed a sewing table or cabinet in a room or space in a room that would be called my own for doing sewing projects. Having a sewing table to keep my sewing machine on, and all of the various sewing supplies in one central location, sure makes it easier than having to lug everything around when I want to sew.
Sewing Essentials List for Beginners
After receiving my sewing machine as a gift, I was anxious to get started on sewing projects. I walked into a large local fabric store and after a few minutes of seeing all of the sewing supplies and gadgets, I definitely felt overwhelmed. I didn’t really know where to begin. Do I need this? What does this thing do? Fortunately a store clerk was very helpful and showed me the absolute basic supply items she recommended to begin sewing. The list of sewing supplies she said are must haves for anyone beginning to sew are:
1. A great, quality pair of Fiskars sewing scissors. I guard my sewing scissors with my life, and they’re not to be used for cutting anything except for fabric, thread etc. No cutting paper or cardboard with sewing scissors!
2. A rotary cutter and self-healing mat, also known as a cutting board. Thank you to whoever invented these, as they are a God-send for sewing and crafting. I wouldn’t want to be without either of them. I use my large self-healing mat and rotary cutter all the time, and if you ever decide to make hand-tied fleece blankets, you’ll be very happy that you have these two items.
3. Straight pins, pin cushion, sewing machine needles, hand sewing needles, extra bobbins, safety pins, seam ripper, measuring tape, all-purpose thread. Rather than buying each of these supply items separately, I opted to buy a sewing basket with accessories because the sewing basket “kit” includes all of these necessities for sewing but the basket is also great for storing supplies when not in use. If you’re just using a table for sewing and not using an actual sewing cabinet that has drawers and cabinets for storing away supplies, you’ve got to have a place to put away your sewing stuff.
4. A rotary ruler. What a great sewing tool this is. It goes hand in hand with using the rotary cutter and self-healing mat. Unless you plan on only sewing stuff 12 inches or less, where you could get away with using an ordinary ruler from school supplies, you’re going to need a rotary ruler. Some refer the rotary ruler as a quilter’s ruler, but don’t let that discourage you from getting a rotary ruler as a beginner sewer. You’ll need one.
5. A hem gauge for measuring and pressing seams and hems. I ignored the sage advice from the store clerk to buy a seam/hem gauge, figuring I’d do just fine guessing or eye-balling the hem width, but I soon went back to the store and bought this sliding gauge like she had recommended. I’m glad I did.
6. Iron and ironing board. Don’t make the mistake of skipping this; you will definitely need an iron and ironing board for pressing fabrics and seams as you sew, and once you finish the project for a good once-over with an iron to look nice and crisp. Sewing my sewing table area is nowhere near where our iron and ironing board is always kept, I decided to buy another iron and an over door ironing board to keep right by my sewing machine for quick and easy access.
7. Fabric marking tools. Washable marking tools, chalk and marking pencils help a great deal when working with patterns, but the marks are washed out in the washing machine once the project is completed.
8. A bodkin. I know, a what?! A bodkin is a great tool to have on hand and ready to use when making anything with a strap or elastic, like when making elastic waist pajama bottoms for example. The bodkin feeds the elastic through easily, without risking poking yourself trying to do the same thing with a safety pin. Just trust me on that, you need a bodkin.
9. Special presser feet for your sewing machine. Having a variety of presser feet for your sewing machine on hand is a very smart thing to do, which is why I include it in the must haves for beginner sewing. Sewing “expert” friends told me to be sure to have several different types of presser feet for my sewing machine, like for doing hems, small 1/4″ seams, a zipper foot, and so on. I briefly considered ignoring the advice from the store clerk to buy a few presser feet, but I remembered my friends saying the same thing, so I went ahead and bought some. Good thing I did because I found I needed a zipper foot pretty quickly into my project.
10. Simple, easy to make sewing patterns for beginners. When you’re just starting out learning how to sew, sticking with very simple patterns that aren’t at all complicated can mean the difference between moving forward and learning how to make more complex sewing projects, and completely giving up before you’ve really even started. When I first started sewing, I wanted to jump right in and start making medical/dental scrub tops, but the particular pattern or style I wanted to make only frustrated me when trying to figure out how to finish the V-neck correctly. It has since been tossed into a sewing/fabric storage drawer and I haven’t had the courage to try finishing it yet.
Well, there you have it. My top 10 list of sewing essentials for sewing beginners. Is there anything else you’d add to my list?