Learn which sewing supplies you absolutely need to start sewing
Hey y’all – one thing that can be overwhelming or a complete surprise for beginner sewists is sewing supplies. I mean beyond a machine and fabric, which sewing tools do you actually NEED to have to start sewing? Today in a sewing for beginners post I’m going to cover my list of 5 must have tools to start sewing. And there are really only 5. If you’ve been sewing for a while, feel free to chime in in the comments with what your top 5 sewing tools are.
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If you’ve ever stood on the notions aisle at a fabric store, staring at all.the.pins. and having no idea which ones to get, it can be discouraging. You’ll sometimes find a pre-packaged sewing kit, but the problem with those is that they may include things you don’t need (like who actually uses those teeny tiny spools of thread?) and the quality of the items you do need isn’t always great. So, in no particular order, these are the bare minimum things that probably didn’t come with your sewing machine that you need to start sewing.
Sewing For Beginners – 5 MUST HAVE Supplies
- Fabric Scissors
- Machine Needles
- Seam Ripper
That’s it! Take those 5 things, some fabric and your sewing machine and you can get started sewing.
Let’s elaborate on each – plus I’ll give you links to order online, so you can avoid the pin overload confusion at the store. The product links in this post are affiliate links, so if you use them to purchase I get a small percentage of the sale, and you’ve helped to support this site!
I swear by my 20 year old pair of Mundial scissors. Another popular brand of scissors is Gingher. However, if those are out of your current budget, Fiskars also work well and are affordable. Regardless of what brand you go for, look for blades at least 8 inches long, and ONLY use this pair for fabric cutting.
Unless I’m doing specialty work, (like a twin needle hem when I opt for Klasse needles), Schmetz needles are my go to brand. Get a pack of assorted sizes of universal needles like this one when you’re beginning, and you’ll be covered for most sewing situations. Later, when you venture into sewing knits, leather, denim, etc you can add to your needle collection with specialty needles for those materials. To learn more about the different kinds of sewing needles, check out this post.
The choices for pins can be overwhelming – there are so many variations on that aisle at the store. These glass headed fine pins are my favorites. The reason is that the glass won’t melt under the iron (like plastic heads can) the fine width means that the pins slide easily into most fabrics, and if you accidentally sew over one, they are likely to bend instead of breaking your needle (though the needle can still break, so be careful). The glass heads also help you see them against your fabric, where pins with plain metal heads are easily overlooked. The only drawbacks are that their thin width means they can bend when you work with thicker fabrics, and the shorter length is also sometimes hard with those same thick fabrics.
You’re going to make mistakes. (In fact, I recommend that you do!) And so you’re going to need a seam ripper. I have both an ergonomic one and this plain one, and both work fine. The only thing I recommend against with seam rippers is those tiny ones that come in sewing kits and sometimes with sewing machines. Spend the $4 to get a hand sized one and avoid hand cramps that the tiny ones will give you.
There are lots of threads out there. And lots of opinions about thread. I’ve been happily sewing with pretty basic Coats and Clark All Purpose threads for years. This is a nice assortment of them if you want a starter kit, but honestly I just buy as I go and keep black, white, navy and gray on hand. For more about different kinds of threads, check out this post.