After your replies to my sewing confessions, (which by the way, I loved reading them all) I decided to do a sewing bare basics for all of us who are just starting out. Really. Let’s just go over the simple stuff, the stuff people assume you all ready know. If you do all ready know, you might want a refresher. Or better yet, share with us what you know. Your trick of the trade.
When I visit the craft store, the sewing section can seem a bit overwhelming. Not only the cost of the sewing tools, notions and fabric, but also the amount of supplies and tools on display. Really. What do I need as a beginner? What are the basic stuff to get me started? What if I just want to test the waters of my sewing skills and not quite ready to invest a whole lot of money into this?
The Basic Necessities
- Sewing machine. Not pictured above. I think you know why you need a sewing machine to sew.
- Pins and pin cushion. You will ned lots of this. It’ll hold things in place while you sew. Some people sew right over the pins, but I don’t… anymore. You can and most of the time you will probably be fine. But if your sewing machine needle happen to hit a pin, it can break your needle and/or cause your sewing machine to be off rhythm.
- Seam ripper. Take out seams. Fixes mistakes, not all but enough.
- Sewing machine needles. Check your sewing machine manual to make sure you get the right kind. You will have moments when the needle will break, either from hitting a pin or sewing thick fabric or other reasons. It’s nice to have some backup so you don’t have to stop your whole project when a needle breaks. There are different types of needles for different types of fabric. And some people like to switch needles before or after a project so they have a sharp one per project. I don’t. I keep mine on for a few projects. I do change it if it breaks, or for specialty fabrics, or if I see it is messing up my project.
- Sewing needles. Some projects will require you to hand stitching parts of it. Also good for attaching buttons if you don’t have that setting on your machine.
- Fabric scissors. Don’t cut paper with them. In fact, don’t cut anything but fabric with them. And if you want nice clean cuts, invest in a more expensive one. Cheap ones will do, but you really do get what you paid for in this instance. Although, you probably don’t need to purchase the professional grade ones that are $40-50 if you are just starting out.
- Safety pins. These guys will come in handy, especially for getting elastic through casings.
- Measuring tape. It’s impossible to sew without this. So get a nice thick sturdy one.
- Bobbins. Have extra empty ones to make switching thread colors easier.
- All-purpose thread. White is also a nice color to have in stock. Once you get more advanced in sewing, you might find the need to get into specialty thread. But for now, all-purpose will work for your projects.
- Iron and ironing board. Not pictured above. To have a more professional look and to make sewing easier, you will want to press your fabric at the seams.
- Disappearing ink marking pen. Not pictured. It costs a bit more than the marking tools pictured above, but it is awesome. You mark on fabric and it wipes off with water. This way you don’t have to worry about your markings showing. I don’t have one of these. So it’s possible to mark fabric with what you have around the house.
- Sharpie. It’s dark, permanent and will bleed. So be careful to which types of fabrics you are using. And only mark in seam so you don’t see the marks later.
- Pencil. It’s lighter, but not washable on most fabric. So you’ll have to do this on the in seam too.
- Color pencil. Works the same as a pencil.
- Chalk. This is washable. But only visible on dark color fabric. And not as precise in its markings since the tip is thicker.
Other Sewing Stuff That You May Need
- Elastic. For waistbands, armbands and anything else that needs a stretch.
- Needle threader. I don’t use this. But if you have a hard time getting thread through the eye of the needle, this can be helpful. Some machines come with a needle threader that helps you pull the thread through the eye on your machine.
- Thimble. I don’t use this either. It comes in handy when you are hand stitching and tend to poke your thumb.
- Buttons. I have jars of buttons by color and this jar of random buttons. I take off all the buttons on clothing that I am throwing away. Not the ones I donate to Goodwill, but the ones that are so trashed that no one would want. It’s great for projects.
- Ribbons. You may find it handy to make ties or bows on your sewing projects.
Don’t Really Need But Nice To Have
- Yard stick. Not pictured above. Makes measuring and marking easier.
- Cutting board. The one pictured above is a small one. I first got it for paper crafts. I would eventually like to get a large one, but will have to save up for that since it’s quite expensive.
- Pinking shear. It has a zig zag cut. You can use it for a decorative edge. Or also great for finishing seams to prevent raveling of fabric edges. But remember to only use it on fabric and nothing else.
- Clear sewing ruler. Really nice for measuring and marking fabric when you are using a cutting board. The visibility is a luxury here.
- Rotary cutter. An awesome tool to cut straight edges. You will need to use it with a cutting board and yard stick/clear sewing ruler. And like the fabric scissors, this is probably something you will want to pay extra to get a nice one. I got the cheap one (pictured above) and it is not good at cutting. So if you are going to get one, get a nicer one.
» Tell me… What are some of your essential sewing tools? What tips do you have for beginners for where to find good prices on tools?