A complete guide to a beginner sewing kit - essential sewing tools
Table of content
Let’s talk about sewing tools! For me this is one of the most important topics when it comes to sewing because you can't get to the sewing part of your project without important tools such as sharp fabric scissors or pins. There’s many sewing accessories and tools out there and in this article we will discuss the most important ones that will seriously make your life easier.
Essential sewing tools
First of all you need to make sure that you have good quality, sharp fabric scissors. Sharp scissors will make your projects easier to accomplish because they will cut through the fabric easily. Your fabric scissors should be long and very, very sharp. Tailor’s scissors are the best because they can last for a really long time if you use them correctly (make sure to NEVER cut paper with your fabric scissors it will dull them very quickly). Once you notice your scissors becoming dull make sure to get them sharpened straight away. Don’t cut fabric with dull scissors!
The members of your household have a hard time remembering that fabric scissors are just for fabric use a scissor lock.
These shears are great when cutting fabric such as wool. They’re amazing whenever you want to have a raw hem but you don’t want it to fray. The sawtooth pattern on the sewing scissors does not prevent the fraying but limits the length of the frayed thread minimizing the damage to the fabric thread.
Seam Ripper and Tweezers
How many times have you sewn the right side of fabric with the left side? Because I have done so a lot even as an experienced sewer, a seam ripper has been my saviour during those times. A seam ripper will be your right hand in everything when it comes to sewing. It will rip all the seams whether it’s a seam that you’ve made by an accident or seams that you want to rip when you’re refashioning garments. Tweezers will be your other best friend right along with a seam ripper. The best tweezers when it comes to sewing are ones with long “arms”. They will save your life whenever something happens with your sewing machine. Whether it is to clean it from dust or to thread your serger/overlock.
They’re usually used by quilters but also great when sewing garments. A rotary cutter is very helpful when you want to cut through a few layers of fabric at once especially if it’s sheer fabric. It usually cuts through up to six layers of fabric. It’s perfect when you have a favourite pattern and you want to make a few variations of it. Rotary Cutters come in four standard sizes but a 45mm blade is the best if you want to have just one rotary cutter. Remember to replace the blades often because once they become dull they won’t cut through as many layers and they may skip places when cutting resulting in a piece that is not cut out fully.
A cutting mat is very important especially if you’re using a rotary cutter. It will save the surface that you’re cutting on from being damaged. We recommend a “self healing” cutting mat because you won’t have to change it for a new one as often.
Whenever you’re sewing a tape-measure should always be around your neck. It will not only help you with taking your own measurements but you can measure your fabric with it, check if your seam allowance is correct and much more. It’s good to have a measuring tape that has two units of measurement – inches on one side and centimeters on the other, especially if you’re using patterns that have the measurements given in just cm or inches. It’s a staple in the world of sewing tools and accessories. I recommend having more than one measuring tape because if you’re anything like me then you know that you can easily misplace them.
Ironing Board and Iron
A good iron and an ironing board are essential when it comes to any sewing project. Your iron should have the option of steaming as it's very important when it comes to pressing seams and decatizing fabric. When you’re purchasing an iron board make sure that it comes with a little ironing board that’s used for ironing sleeves/collars. This little ironing board will be a huge time saver and you will never regret buying it for your sewing room.
Pins/Pin Cushion and Binder Clips
Pins, a pin cushion and binder clips (yes, binder clips) will be your best friends when it comes to keeping fabric together. There are many types of pins out there but I recommend the ones with little colourful heads. Pins are especially great when you have a garment that you want to take in because you can put the garment on, pin in places where you want to take it in, take it off and sew along the pinned parts. A pincushion is great if you use your pins often. It helps you keep them in one place. You can make a DIY pincushion yourself as a little beginner project.
Binder Clips have made quite the revolution in the sewing world. They’re perfect to use when cutting fabric (you can clip the fabric piece and pattern piece together to prevent it from moving around). They’re also great to use instead of pins while sewing. If you want to start using binder clips in your sewing projects then I recommend purchasing a few different sizes.
An assortment of Rulers
An assortment of different rulers is extremely useful when you want to start drafting your own patterns but they will also be useful for ready made patterns. Rulers are extremely useful when you’re marking out darts, spacing out buttons and buttonholes and much more. Your ruler set should include – a straight ruler, an L-shape ruler, a french curve (especially useful when you want to start drafting your own patterns) and a protractor.
Pattern weights are a must whenever cutting patterns/fabric. They stop the pattern and fabric from moving around while you’re cutting or marking. You don’t have to spend lots of money on pattern weights. A trip to your local hardware store will definitely bring you success in finding the perfect pattern weight. Buy some washers (make sure that they’re the larger heavier type or just glue a few smaller ones together). If you can’t find any washers, get some cement, mix it up, pour into ice cube trays, wait for the cement to dry and voila you have your pattern weights.
Chalk (especially a tailor’s chalk) is great for marking. You can use it to trace your pattern onto fabric. If you use tailors chalk, the lines will disappear when you steam the marked piece with an iron.
Erasable pens are a huge help when it comes to marking out your darts, marking out button and button-hole placement and marking out pocket placements (especially pockets that are sewn onto a garment). The markings disappear when you steam them with an iron.
Needle Threader and Thimble
These two are usually used when hand sewing but I guarantee that you won’t regret having them when sewing with a sewing machine. The thimble will be very helpful while sewing. You can place it on the finger that comes the nearest to the needle while you’re sewing. It’s especially great when you’re sewing on a fast setting. The threader is great for not only threading while hand sewing but it’s also great for threading a sewing machine or a serger.
Sewing Needles and Thread
With no doubt sewing needles and thread are very important when it comes to hand sewing. If you want to find out what types of thread and needles to use for each fabric type then check out our blog post about types of sewing needles and thread
These sewing tools will definitely become helpful when creating a sewing kit for your craft room.
And what is your favorite sewing tool?