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…..so 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.
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??