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The Ultimate List of FAVORITE Sewing Supplies

I get asked quite a bit what types of supplies I prefer using while sewing.  I have used a variety of sewing tools and supplies over the years……some I love and some rarely get used.  My husband tends to call me a bit of a craft hoarder, but I just like to call it being prepared! ;) Because you just never know what you might need…ha!


But, if I really had to narrow it down, here’s a list of items that I would recommend to someone wanting to get started with sewing.  Or even someone who would like to bulk up their supplies, to have more on hand.  Because nothing’s worse than sitting down to sew something, and you don’t have everything you need.


Hopefully this is helpful……and can also be used as a “hint-hint birthday list” to pass on to a husband/mom/grandma/etc. :)




1. Gingher 8-inch Dressmaker’s Shears — my very FAVORITE pair of scissors!  They are heavy, really sharp, and slice through fabric like butter.  My kids know to never use these scissors because I save them just for fabric, and they are AWESOME!  (In fact, I have 2 pairs because I lost my first pair, couldn’t live without them, bought another pair, then found the first. But that’s okay……2 is better than 1!)


2. Fiskars Rotary Cutting Set — I go in spurts using a rotary cutter…..but when I do, I love having all three parts, the mat, the cutter, and the clear wide ruler.  This set makes cutting straight pieces of fabric (especially quilt pieces) so much faster!


3. Fiskars Rotary Cutter — if you don’t need a full rotary set, this is a great rotary cutter, with a contoured cutter. Especially if you’re doing a lot of cutting.


4. Self Healing 24 x 36 Rotary Mat — but then, don’t forget to buy yourself a mat.  And if you’re getting one, don’t buy one of those tiny 12 inch mats.  You’ll be frustrated when trying to cut larger things that don’t fit on the mat.


5. Pinking Shears — oh, how I love these!  Pinking Shears cut in a zig-zag and are just what you need to give your a edge of fabric a quick finish.  Because a zig-zag cut won’t fray like a straight edge will.  Pretty cool pair of scissors!


6. Flower Head Straight Pins — I really hate short straight pins…..they frustrate me when they won’t quite make it though several layers of fabric like I want it to.  I love these 2 inch pins because they are nice and long….but also the flower on the end is easy to grab.  And the flower is kinda cute! :)



7. Pin Cushion — Honestly, it doesn’t matter what type of pin cushion you use, but you definitely need a place to store those straight pins.  And as a side note…..did you know that the little berry hanging from the tomato pin cushion has emory powder inside, so you can sharpen your straight pins??  Cool, right?



8. Seam Ripper — I can’t even tell you how much use I get out of my seam ripper.  There are so many variations of the seam ripper but as long as it’s sharp, it works for me!  No need to spend a ton of money on one (or three)…..but trust me, this is a necessity!




9. Singer Sewing Machine — choosing a sewing machine can seem overwhelming. If you’re just learning to sew, you don’t want a machine that is overly complicated or does way too much for what you’ll be needing.  But, you also don’t want a super cheap one that has problems with tension, alignment, and power.  Here is a nice sewing machine that is very affordable, but also has plenty of options.  And even better, it has really good ratings… most people have had a good experience with it.



10. Sewing Machine Cover — if you don’t have a permanent desk or table to set your sewing machine, more than likely, you’ll have to store it in the closet and pull it out each time you need it.  A cover is the best way to keep it protected.  (I sewed like this for years….hauling it from the closet to our kitchen table, over and over again.)


11. Serger — a question I get a lot is what type of serger to buy.  Although you don’t have to have a serger to sew really well made items, it really is a fun tool to have.  And makes sewing long edges of fabric a BREEZE!  And so strong and professionally finished.  I personally own a Bernina serger but it cost about 4 times as much as this serger.  (And really, as much as I love my Bernina, if I could go back, I’d probably buy something more like this.  The reviews on this are really good, especially for such a low price.)




12. Thread Organizer — once you start collecting different colors of thread, you definitely need a place to store them.  There are caddies and cases but this open stand is what I use and love having my thread out, ready to use.




13. Bobbins — you can never have too many bobbins. So buy lots of them!!!




14. Bobbin Box Organizers — you definitely need a place to store all those bobbins though.  I usually store mine on my thread stand, like the one above……but this cool caddy is another great way to keep them organized.



15. Extra Long Flexible Sewing Measuring Tape — this is a MUST!  You need it for measuring all sorts of things and because it’s vinyl, it can be wrapped around people, lamps, couches etc.



16. Sewing Gauge — this will help you get a perfectly measured hem, every time.  I love using this thing!



17. Hand Sewing Needles — even if you have a sewing machine, there’s always a time you need to hand stitch something closed, sew on a button, etc.  A simple set of needles is perfect for that.



18. Sewing Machine Needles — speaking of needles, you will more than likely break your sewing machine needles.  The worst feeling is being in the middle of a project, your needle breaks, and you don’t have a back up.  Always have extras on hand!




19. Buttons — these are something that are great to have on hand, especially a variety of colors and styles.  No just never know when you’ll need them.



20. Heart Wood Buttons — these aren’t necessarily a necessity, but are so cute……and really inexpensive!  Wow.



21. Safety Pins — these are a must!  So grab 6 packages of them…..because you’ll use them for quilting, threading elastic through waistband casing, temporary fabric placement, etc.




22. 1-inch Elastic — I make a lot of clothing for my children and the best thing to have on hand for waistbands, is elastic.  I generally always have 1-inch elastic on hand because I use it the most often.  But I also always stock up on 1/4 inch elastic and cord elastic as well.



23. Elastic Thread — I absolutely LOVE shirring and smocking my fabric…..and this is the stuff that makes that happen!  It’s like magic!  (And here’s a tutorial on smocking….because you can do it too!)




24. Chalk Pencil — some sort of temporary writing tool is really great to have on hand, when marking fabric while sewing.  This chalk pencil makes really thin lines, which helps with accuracy.  But the magic erase markers are really cool too.  Just use what you like best!




25. Sewing Caddy — when I was engaged, I had a bridal shower.  My mom gave me my very first sewing caddy because she said that’s what she got at her bridal shower.  I still have and use the same caddy she bought me 10 years ago for my shower……and I think everyone needs one.  It doesn’t have to be padded or look like this at all, but it’s a great idea to have a place for all your sewing tools.  Especially if you don’t have a sewing room and you need to haul out your sewing tools each time you want to sew.


26. Iron with Steam Function –an iron that has a good steam setting is SO IMPORTANT when sewing!  You don’t even have to spend a ton (though a really good expensive iron is on my wish list!).  But just be sure that it has several heat settings and a steam function, and you’ll see a huge difference with your projects!


27. Snap Set, with Hammer Tool — ooooh, snaps are so fun.  They really are so simple to attach and are fun to add to a variety of projects!  My favorite method to attach them is also the cheapest way.  The little hammer tool that comes with this set is all you need to attach your snaps, and works better than any of those larger snaps tools you can purchase.  (If you need help attaching them, check out this snap tutorial.)




28. Bias Tape Maker Set — making Bias Tape can take some time……but using these little tools speed up the process and create nice sharp even folds and lines!  I recently purchased this exact set, and am in LOVE!



29. Pattern Weights — using pins to attach your pattern pieces to fabric is definitely an option.  But using pattern weights is so much more precise and keeps the pattern pieces flat and right where you need them.



30. Sewing Clips — using pins to attach layers of fabric together sometimes bends fabric and makes it hard to sew the fabric evenly.  These clips are such a great tool to keep layers together and in place….especially when you don’t want to poke holes through a material like leather or vinyl.


31. Fusible Adhesive — this is a great item to have in your sewing stash, and lasts a really long time.  It helps adhere fabric shapes to other fabric, so there’s no shifting while sewing.  I love this stuff!



32. Zippers — I use zippers often, on more than just clothing.  They’re great for pouches, clutches, totes, etc.  And I always have a variety of colors on hand, because I never know when I’ll need one.  If you click on the link…you can buy 48 of them for $8.  Not a bad way to keep them on hand!


There are many more sewing tools out there…..but this is a really great start!


So, now tell me…..what are your must-haves??



Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with my craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. June Denicola says:

    Thank you. Trying to help my granddaughter get off to a start. Also brushing up on my own supplies.

  2. Loisjean says:

    To keep sewing scissors safe from paper and other craft uses, I tie a piece of pink ribbon on all of my sewing scissors. It also helps when sewing in a group to recognize yours right away when it is time to clean up.

    The product I find very useful is a rotary sharpener my husband gave me a couple Christmases ago. It is made by Tru-Cut.

    I don't have any of there other products, but have seen the rulers and rotary cutters in use in quilt shop and they work very well.

  3. Jennie says:

    I think we all have our favorite things to use. I prefer the olfa brand cutting mats, I’m left handed so I’m partial to the Martelli (sp) handed rotary cutter. It also is easier with arthritis.
    If you live in a dry, dusty place, I live in Arizona, don’t put your thread on a thread organizer like this. Cotton thread dries out and isn’t as strong or frays, and the dust is terrible. I have all of my thread in a tub with a lid. I use baby hair elastics to keep it from unwinding, and I’m trained to look in the box before I buy another spool. I like my bobbins separate in a container of their own.
    I love the clover clips, even though mine are the cheap Amazon brand.
    Pattern weights should be a first sewing project. They’re good practice.
    Pins wear out replace them when they’re dull. Same with your sewing machine needles, hand needles, and rotary blades.
    Have your scissors professionally sharpened, have fabric scissors and craft scissors, it’s cheaper than replacing them when you mess them up
    I like my Babylock sewing machine, and I also have a brother sewing/embroidery machine. Don’t buy it without trying it out.
    I like the Schmetz needles, I think I’m spoiled.
    The biggest thing, don’t buy it until you need it. Do some research. Ask questions at the store. Email the company that makes what ever you need. Read blogs.

  4. Maria Perez-Garcia says:

    Where can I purchase the wooden buttons? I love those. Also the Bias tape Marker Set shown, and the zippers mentioned for so cheap!
    I absolutely Love your site!!! It is a must have. I am kind of new to sewing and crafts, and you have the best ideas and for organizing too! God Bless you!!! Thank you Thank you

    1. Ashley says:

      If you click on the name of the item, it will link you over to where you can buy them online. However, I just updated this post so that if you click on any of the images, it will take you to a place to purchase them as well.

      Hope that helps!

  5. Justin Pope says:

    great features! I got to step up my game! Love the dresser makeover! Amazing!

  6. Gay says:

    Well I have everything on the list! But I want one of those irons that has the feet that pop out to set it on when you’re not ironing. I’m bad about buying all kinds of notions, looking all the time for the quickest and best way to do something. But a lot of those items are just sitting there not being used. Oh well live and learn I guess.

  7. Jumi says:

    This is such a great list. I already have a lot of them. I was so excited to start sewing 2 years ago but I lost my fire and recently decided to rekindle it so very excited to finish up my supply list. I also got your book last year and I want to try some of the projects in there too.

  8. Pruthvi says:

    Hey Ashley!

    This list is exactly what I wanted. It couldnt have come at better time. I had sewed a few things with my mom’s old machine back when I was a teenager. You have been the biggest motivator for me to buy a sewing machine for myself and start stiching a thing or two for my kiddo. Now that I want to increase my sewing tools and accessory collection, this list has come like a breeze. I am waiting to try so many of your tutorials. Now that I know exact the item which I can order online, I am gonna place my order right away. I couldnt thank you more!!

  9. Kristin says:

    I love your recommendations! The one tool I use daily, besides my iron and rotary cutter, is a bodkin. I have several different types but they are so useful for turning skinny tubes of fabric or lacing elastic or ribbon through casings. (I’m unlucky when I use a large safety pin instead as they always seem to open up at the worst time!) Thanks for sharing your favorites!

  10. Sandy Yarbrough says:

    A pair of hemostats. Wonder to help hold things. Also a sewing bird. It’s like having a third hand.

  11. Mitzi says:

    Thank you for providing this list. I am just learning to sew and needed to know what I needed to get started. This helps a great deal.

  12. Sheena says:

    I love so many of the same tools as you!! I do want to check out some of those clips though. That would be a really helpful tool to add to my collection. Oh I am a craft supply hoarder too.

  13. Ellie says:

    I wish I was your neighbor. It would be so fun to sew with you and learn all your tips and tricks in person. I know you just moved, but there is a brand new house for sale on my street if you guys decide you need to move to southern California.

    This list is great and there are a few things I don’t have that I can casually show my husband before my birthday. I love my rotary cutter (with the big mat and the ruler) and I have a pinking blade for it so I can cut zig-zag edges super fast.

  14. Regina Roza says:

    I recently bought a light pad for tracing….oh my what did i do before? I used my windows and looked like a crazy that’s what! I got mine at AC Moore with a coupon it was worth it!

  15. Sue R says:

    Almost all of the above (minus the serger and the pattern weights), plus: Rowenta professional steam iron; a ham; a sleeve board; appliqué paper; and I use a box-type thread case that I can put threads together with their matching bobbins and it closes up, which keeps the dust away. Also, an ironing board cover that has measurements and bias markings on it – couldn’t live without that one! Oh, and several hanging sweater and shoe racks which I use to store fabric (in rainbow order) as well as future projects with the pattern, fabric and notions all in the same slot. Thanks for your list – it will help me get my grandaughter’s sewing needs together. She is making her first dress now and is a quick study. So much fun to have a hobby we can share!

    1. Sandy says:

      Where did you buy your thread case? I have looked on Amazon and can’t find anything. I would also like to store my thread and matching bobbin together.

    2. Sue R says:

      Got mine at Joann’s w a 50% off coupon. Art Bin brand. I got the one that flips over so there are two sides to fill. About 24 compartments per side, and each will hold a large spool of regular thread and a matching bobbin. Not big enough for cones, but just right for my needs. Cost w coupon was $7-8 as I recall. Happy sewing! Sue

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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