Today we will talk about what it takes to get into sewing. Sewing isn’t a cheap hobby. You can try to skimp here and there, and I certainly do but in order to get started there are some necessities. I have all the following items. Some I was given and some I had to bite the bullet and buy, but by no means did I accumulate this all at one time. You’ll have to check out my craft buying tips blog for tips on how to use sales at various stores to your advantage.
A sewing machine
For years I have been using an old sewing machine from the 70’s that someone gave me. I still have that sewing machine but it did nothing fancy. I found the one below on Facebook marketplace used and got a deal on the whole package. I think it’s pretty good, I’m sure there are better ones but I can sew thru thick fabrics and it can handle me sewing all day long. So at this point, we’re good.
Brother Sewing and Quilting Machine, CS6000i, 60 Built-In Stitches, 7 styles of 1-Step Auto-Size Buttonholes, Wide Table, Hard Cover, LCD Display and Auto Needle Threader
Definetly an important tool, you need it to cut fabric! You don’t need to buy the most expensive pair, nor does it technically have to be out of the sewing department. However, I like this pair and its served me well for years. I tried to upgrade and bought a pair of titanium scissors but they are junk, now they are my paper cutting scissors.
Scissors, 8 in. Length, Straight, 3 1/2 in. Cut, Right Hand, Blue, Sold as 1 Each
Pins and a pin cushion
When you go to the sewing department you will have multiple options for pins. I personally like the ones with the ball on the end because they stand out on the fabric and on the floor when I accidentally drop them. For a pin cushion, I actually made mine, so you can’t buy it, but the old fashioned tomato is what I started with. Its thick enough that needles won’t poke thru and you can get it cheap.
Classic Set, 150 Premium Glass Head Multicolor Sewing Pins with Original Classic Tomato Pin Cushion. Premium Quality.
Something to make marks on fabric with
This is important, especially when you’re measuring fabric and need to cut it. I use: pens (regular everyday) on the backside only of fabric (DO NOT use a gel pen, I learned the hard way), fabric pencils, tailor’s chalk (white and blue), and I have a disappearing ink pen. Depending on the side I’m marking, if it will be washed, the color of the fabric, these are all factors in determining which to use.
Clover Water Soluble Pencil Assortment, 3EA (Q5003)
Dritz 2-Piece Tailor’s Chalk
Dritz Quilting Fine Point Mark-B-Gone Marking Pen, Purple
Having tape on hand is a necessity if you plan on using online printable sewing patterns, because you have to assemble them. You can also use it if you accidentally rip a paper pattern.
Duck Brand Matte Finish Invisible Tape With Dispenser, 3 Rolls, Each Roll 3/4-Inch x 500 Inches for 1500 Total Inches
A seam ripper
I am not perfect, I make mistakes on a regular basis, and when I do I get so frustrated. You can use this tool not only to correct your mistakes and rip open your seams but also to take apart a piece of clothing to turn it into something else or to alter it.
Dritz 608 Seam Ripper, Small
A 60″ measuring tape
This is important to have, to size yourself or someone else if you’re making clothes. It can also be a helpful tool if you need to measure something. I have used it for many things not even sewing related.
eBoot Soft Tape Measure for Sewing Tailor Cloth Ruler (Blue)
A small 6″ metal ruler with sliding marker
This is great to use for measuring small projects like hems or the placement of buttons or button holes. I use this tool often, very important.
SINGER Sewing Gauge, 6-Inch
A long clear ruler
I just upgraded to this ruler. For a long time, I used a 17″ wooden ruler. It worked, don’t get me wrong but I’m so happy with this 24″ long clear 6″ wide ruler. Let me tell you why, because its clear, not only does it help you make straight lines but it helps you to make sure items are square.
Omnigrip 6-Inch-by-24-Inch Non-Slip Quilter’s Ruler
Light, medium, and heavy interfacing
A lot of projects call for interfacing. It is an iron on type of fabric that adds stability and substance to a piece of fabric. Think of it as ironing on a permanent second layer of fabric, depending on which one you choose (light,medium or heavy) you will get a thinner or thicker layer. I use this stuff all the time, I should probably buy stock in their company.
Pellon Lightweight Sew-in Interfacing (PLS36)
Thermoweb Heat’n Bond Medium Weight Iron-On Fusible Interfacing-White 20″X36″ (3337)
THERMOWEB 3338 Heat’n Bond Heavy Weight Iron-On Fusible Interfacing-White 20″X36″
This is another type of fabric stabilizer you can buy. Essentially, it is fleece fabric with an iron on backing. It’s almost like ironing on a thin layer of batting to your fabric. A lot of projects use this, again, I use a lot.
Fusible Fleece by Pellon: 45″x60″
Thread in multiple colors- especially black and white
You ain’t sewing a thing without some thread. I go thru black and white like crazy, you should have seen me at Joanne’s when it was 75 cents a spool.
2-Pack – BLACK & WHITE – Coats & Clark Dual Duty All-Purpose Thread – One 400 Yard Spool each of BLACK & White
Your machine will likely come with a few bobbins but having extra on hand it really nice especially if you go thru lots of colors of thread. Let me also recommend you buy a storage case for them because the loose threads can get tangled really quick.
Paxcoo 50 Pcs Sewing Machine Bobbins with Case for Brother Singer Janome Kenmore
You will need a screwdriver to change the foot on your sewing machine, sometimes to change your bobbin (my old machine). Sewing machines come with these but if you don’t have one, it’s surely an essential item.
Dritz 905 3-Piece Screwdriver Set
Different kinds of zipper feet- especially a zipper foot, walking foot
Your machine will more than likely come with at least a zipper foot, the walking foot you may have to buy. The zipper foot helps you to install a zipper on a project, it is essential if you want to sew a zipper, you may be able to do it without one, but I have never or will never try. A walking foot, is a sewing machine accessory with built-in feed dogs to help guide two or more layers of fabric evenly through your machine. A must have, if you’re quilting something.
Distinctive Zipper Sewing Machine Presser Foot – Fits All Low Shank Snap-On Singer, Brother, Babylock, Euro-Pro, Janome, Kenmore, White, Juki, New Home, Simplicity, Elna and More!
Even Feed Walking Sewing Machine Presser Foot with Quilt Guide for Brother Singer Janome
If you need a place to start I would recommend just getting a yard of cheap quilting cotton fabric. Even better, you could just go and get a few fat quarters and play around. When you are comfortable with sewing, start a project and get the amount you need. Eventually, you will become addicted to buying fabric like the rest of us and you will have a “fabric stash”.
iNee Pink Fat Quarters Quilting Fabric Bundles for Quilting Sewing Crafting,18″ x 22″
Many projects, in fact all I think, require pressing. You have to use it to iron the wrinkles out of your fabric and to do things like press seams open or press a piece to make it look more professional. Must have, for-sure.
Hamilton Beach Steam Iron with 3-Way Auto Shutoff & Durathon Soleplate (19800)
Just use a piece of fabric to protect your project when ironing. Your iron can leave marks on fabric if it 1.) Has residue from things like interfacing 2) You have the heat too high and you burn the particular fabric. There is nothing worse than getting something all finished and giving it that last pressing, to leave a stain or burn it.
See my post about a simple and revolutionary tool about tools you can use to make hemming easier.
These are a bonus
A rotary cutter needs a rotary mat, so you have to get that too. I like the rotary cutter for making straight cuts. This is one of those nice to have tools, not really necessary. They say that using one of these makes your fabric more straight and perfect, I don’t really have an issue using scissors, just saying, but if I were a serious quilter, this would for sure make my life easier.
Fiskars 195210-1001 Comfort Loop Rotary Cutter, 45 mm
Rotary cutting mat
You have to have this, if you get a rotary tool. The rotary tool is so sharp, it will cut what’s under it, and to avoid that, you need a mat. Get a decent size one, if you do buy one, and just a warning they are a little pricey. I found mine at Tuesday Morning for ten bucks, I was happy.
Fiskars 12-83727097J Self Healing Rotary Cutting Mat, 24×36 Inch
These special scissors I just love. They make the edges of your fabric not fray, that’s the point of these things, but you can also make the edges of your fabric “pretty” with the cute triangles they leave behind.
BlueSnail Stainless Steel Pinking Shears Comfort Grip Handled Professional Fabric Crafts Dressmaking Zig Zag Cut Scissors Sewing Scissors(Green)
Fray check is a liquid that you apply to unfinished edges to prevent the fabric from fraying. I use it on the ends of ribbons. It is nice to have this, but I went for years without it.
Dritz 674 Fray Check Liquid Seam Sealant, 0.75-Ounce
I hope this list helps, in the event that you’re interested in sewing and want to get started. I wish you the best and I want to tell you, that its really not as hard as it looks, take your time and read the pattern, maybe read it again, and it’ll happen. I’ve been sewing since I was a little girl and sometimes I feel like a beginner again (especially when it comes to binding). Once you do learn, you’ll be hooked for sure.
If I missed anything important, or you have a tool that works great- let me know with a comment!