When I teach Sewing 101 at Joann’s the very first thing I cover are the tools of the trade. You can easily spend a small fortune on tools so I suggest starting with the basics and adding to your sewing basket as you find tools you know you need or want. The tools you need vary based on the type of sewing you do but the ones below are your all purpose tools.
Scissors: Buy good ones and take care of them. Sharp tools are the key to enjoyable sewing. Cheap scissors will eat your fabric and make you miserable! Make sure you have a separate pair that you use for cutting paper, patterns and anything other than fabric. I like Gingher because of the reliability. I can cut through 3-4 layers of heavy fabric and the cut is just as clean as if i was cutting through one layer. Bonus: If you stick to only cutting fabric with them you will never have to sharpen them!
Small craft scissors or Snip-Eze Embroidery Snips: I always keep a pair of small craft scissors or snips nearby when I am sewing. I find them much easier to use when clipping threads.
Seam Ripper: This tool has a sharp edge and hook that snip through stitches to remove the. Sadly sooner or later, you will make a mistake and this little gadget will become your best friend. You might want to have more than one on hand. I have a small one and a large one. These also do become dull and must be replaced.
Pins and a pincushion: You will need regular pins for cotton fabric and ball point pins for knits. I use the Grabbit Magnetic Pin Cushion. I have one by machines, one on my cutting table and one next to my ironing board. I love not having to worry about spilling my pins!
Sewing machine needles: You’ll need extras for your machine since they will gradually become dull with use (remember, sharp is best!), and you’ll want to swap out your needles for various fabric weights. Larger number = thicker fabric. Here is great article by Sew Mama Sew on Sewing Machine Needles & How to Choose Them.
Hand sewing needles: Most sewing projects will require a little bit of hand finishing, like sewing on a button.
Tape Measure: Compact and flexible, it is a must no matter what type of sewing you are doing.
Water soluble pen and/or tailor’s chalk: I prefer Pilot FriXion Ball Erasable Gel Pens. They have a fine point, come in a variety of colors and best of all when you iron the marking instantly vanish. When I can’t use my FriXion pen I use a chalk pen. * always test a scrap piece of fabric first*
Seam gauge: A short ruler with an adjustable flange, a seam gauge is typically used for measuring seams but it can double as a ruler. I often use mine when making adjustments on a paper pattern.
Steam iron: A good quality iron makes all the difference. You want it to be heavy, have several settings and make sure it has steam!
What are your essential sewing tools? Let me know in the comments!