Sewing newbies often get overwhelmed when they are tasked with buying the right sewing tools, and it’s hardly surprisingly given the huge variety out there. Of course, you can’t just go buying everything you think you will need, as it can not only get quite expensive, but you will also end up with a bunch of tools you may never use.
So what exactly do you need to get started with sewing, apart from a good, functional sewing machine of course? Let’s find out below.
Everyone that wants to explore the world of sewing needs three pairs of scissors. The most important one among them is a pair of dressmaker shears; they need to be of extremely good quality, and you shouldn’t try to look for a “budget” option here.
This is because when it comes to these type of scissors, you really do get what you pay for. The more expensive the scissors, the better quality they will be.
With a high quality dress shear, cutting through the fabric will be a breeze. If you have to put in a lot of effort while cutting the fabric, your scissors are far from good enough. And given cutting through the fabric is a crucial part of almost every sewing project, you wouldn’t want to compromise one bit on the quality of your scissors.
High quality and expensive dressmaker shears are safe and extremely easy to use, and are worth every penny you spend on them. So just go ahead and get the most expensive ones you can!
That said, you would want to be careful with the way you use them. It’s highly recommended that you do not use them for anything else other than cutting fabric. This will literally make them last a lifetime.
The second pair of scissors you would want to add to your collection of sewing tools are smaller, pointed ones. They will need to be very sharp, as they are supposed to be used for tasks such as snipping threads and cutting very close to seam lines. Dressmaker shears won’t help you here as they are too big and not pointed enough.
The last pair of scissors that you likely wouldn’t have to purchase, as you may already be having it, is a pair of your usual scissors that you use for cutting paper and other stuff. They should be your go-to scissors for everything other than the things you would use the other two types of scissor for.
But these are just pointers; you would likely want to know a bit more about scissors to be able to make a wise purchase, so I recommend you to head over to our ultimate sewing scissor buying guide.
Your sewing machine likely came with a small seam ripper, and you can use it if it helps get the job done properly. If it doesn’t, however, you would want to invest in a sharp, quality seam ripper with a good grip. The sharpness is needed to ensure that it’s fast and efficient.
We like the Dritz Deluxe Seam Ripper.
I can probably go on and on about the importance of pins, but I know you won’t make it past a paragraph or two, so I’ll simply get down to business.
Shopping for good pins isn’t exactly easy, what with all the different types of pins – short, long, plain and decorative ones. But, if you’re anything like me, you wouldn’t want to bother sorting through all that clutter and would rather stick to something dependable and easy to use.
And if that’s indeed the case, you can simply look for good glass head pins to buy and ignore all the other attractive, tempting options you see out there. The glass ones are a breeze to put through a piece of fabric, and they come with a glass ball head instead of the plastic ones that you see all the time.
And why does that matter so much? Well, plastic ball heads usually fail to withstand the heat of an iron and may melt away, but the glass ones wouldn’t. Another important benefit is that glass pins also won’t rust, will be way sharper than plastic ones, as well as glide through a fabric effortlessly.
We like the Wrights Multicolored Pins.
You might be having a long school ruler or even a yardstick, but they are not the kind of measuring tools you need for sewing. You see, taking body measurements is very different than what the said tools are used for, and hence we have measuring tools specifically designed for sewing stuff.
The most important measurement tool you will need here is a measuring tape. Get one that’s 60” long; anything longer than that is going to make life difficult for you, as it’s going to be too cumbersome to work with it.
An important feature to look for in your measuring tape is two-sided measurement reading. In other words, no matter which end of the tape you pick, one side should start from 1” and the other from 60”. You probably don’t have a clue how big of a convenience it’s going to be later down the road.
Other sewing tools you won’t be able to live (sew) without include a sewing gauge and a few see-thru rulers. The sewing gauge needs to be 6” in size, with a metal one being a preferred option over a plastic one.
The sewing gauge is basically a small ruler with a sliding bar that lets you set it to a specific measurement reading, allowing you to take consistent measurements. Turning up the hem is something that’s going to be impossible to do without a sewing gauge.
It’s also going to turn out to be extremely useful for a wide range of other sewing tasks, and you will likely find yourself using it all the time.
Coming to see-thru rulers, although they are primarily designed for quilting, they will actually come in handy when working on pretty much everything related to sewing, ranging from crafting to making clothes.
(Here’s some quilting fabric you may like)
They come with 1/8” increments, and their see-thru nature helps you stay on top of what you’re doing. They are particularly useful when working on projects like pattern drafting and alterations, and pretty much everything that requires simple but careful measuring.
See-thru rulers come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, but if you’re a beginner garment sewer, you would want to stick to something that’s 18” long and 3” wide. As your sewing skill set grows, you can consider getting the larger and the smaller ones, depending on the type of projects you plan to work on.
We like the Dritz Sewing Gauge.
When working on sewing projects that involve commercial patterns, you will likely need marking tools in order to have your fabric sport the markings of the pattern. And for this purpose, you have quite a few techniques and marking tools.
However, which method to go with and which tools to use is going to come down to the fabric you’re working with. The most important factors here are going to be the thickness, stability and surface of the fabric.
For hard surfaces with enough stability, the paper and tracing wheel method should be employed, and going with any other method may complicate things. This tracing wheel method basically involves putting a double-faced transfer paper between folded fabric in a way that exposes it properly.
Then the tracing wheel should come in and find the area to be marked. It will then transfer the markings as well.
Fabrics that aren’t as stable or are on the softer side would demand to be treated with chalk or a marking pen. There’s a lot of variety here as well but you can always refer to our detailed buying guides for sewing tools to know more about how you should be going about buying them.
We like the Dritz Fons and Porter Mechanical Fabric Pencil.
While a colored tape is not something that gets a lot of attention from sewing newbies, there aren’t many sewing tools more useful for beginners than a colored tape.
Just have one close to your sewing machine while working, and you will thank yourself for doing so, especially when learning to sew straight lines as well as sewing lines.
We like the tape from Singer.
Head back to CHAPTER 4: Sewing 101 for Aspiring Home Sewists!