Sewing Essentials


Seam Rippers

This was the number one answer I received, so this nifty tool is a must sewing for beginners essential. If you’ve made an error in your stitching, simply unpick them away and et voila! Start again and forget the whole thing ever happened.


Sewing Machine

The first thing you will need to have if you’re learning to sew is an entry level sewing machine. Before purchasing any sewing machine, I suggest you do some research. There are plenty of machines out there and you want the one that works best for you.

The things to look for for a beginner is does it do a straight stitch, zig-zag stitch, a button hole and a back stitch to lock in the thread. I say this because not all machines have those options.



Fabric Scissors

You will need a good pair of scissors that are dedicated to cutting fabric only. These must be kept separate from all other scissors because they will quickly become dull if they are used to cut paper. As a beginner sewer, you may want to keep a plastic storage box with your sewing supplies hidden away from family members who will snatch those scissors and use them to cut everything in site.

I would also recommend getting two pair. One for fabric and one for patterns.


Iron & Ironing Board

You will need an iron and ironing board handy when sewing. Most inexpensive steam irons will work if you keep them clean and in good working order. I recommend looking for an iron with an automatic shut-off and some sort of non-drip feature. Sewing takes its toll on irons, so I recommend getting the best one you can afford. I have two irons, one for the home in general and one strictly for sewing.


Machine Needles

I only recommend Schmetz sewing machine needles. They are high-quality needles and have a great color-coded system for helping you remember which needle is in the machine. For most sewing you will need a universal 80/12 needle. However, when sewing with knits you will need a ball point needle. Heavy fabrics will require a jeans needle and quilting is best done with a top-stitching needle.


Hand Sewing Needles

Hand sewing needles will always come in handy. They come in handy for sewing on buttons, and closing up small areas that the machine can’t get too.


Straight Pins

Straight pins are needed for pinning your projects together prior to sewing. You will need pins for sewing with woven fabrics and pins for sewing with knits.


Wonder Clips

Wonder or Clover clips, however you’d like to call them will come in handy for harder to pin projects. Some materials like suede, leather or plastics can get holes int hem when using pins. These clips are great for holding pieces together without damaging the material.



There are so many variations to thread, however, a sewing beginner really needs a small collection of general purpose threads. Gutermann or Coats & Clark threads will work perfectly for most of your sewing projects.


Marking Chalk

Occasionally you will need to make a mark on your fabric to show where darts or other features will be placed. There are a few options which will depend on the fabric and type of project you’re sewing. Water soluble markers are very good for marking things like buttons and buttonholes. Tailor’s chalk is very cost effective and comes in several colors. My favorite is the Chaco Liner Pens from Clover. You get the function of a pen but the results of chalk. I love chalk because it’s easy to wipe off if a mistake is made.


Tracing Wheel

If you are using tracing paper then you will need some sort of tracing wheel to get the pattern markings onto your fabric. A tracing wheel is the best thing when using tracing paper.


Rotary Cutter

A rotary cutter, self-healing mat, and ruler are essential for cutting out many of your projects. It speeds up the process and allows you to get accurate cuts. I recommend getting a rotary cutter that is sized for a 45mm blade. They come in many shapes and sizes and easy to use.


Self Healing Mat

The size of your cutting mat will depend upon your available space. One thing to remember is always store your mat flat and never place anything on top of it.



Eventually, you will need more than one ruler for rotary cutting, but just a basic straight ruler is good to start with. There are so many for garment making as show in the picture. Once you advance more then I’d recommend grabbing a few of these.


Sewing Books

It’s always good to have some sewing books to look back on when learning to sew. I found a few sites but rather have books. That way I can mark notes in them if needed and easy to reference instead of having to search the web all over again.