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9 Must-Have Sewing Tools for Every Aspiring Sewing Guru

Sewing is a fun, rewarding, (and sometimes stressful!) hobby that’s easy to pick up. Before you can get started taking a course or simply practicing at home, you'll need to stock up on all the essentials. Though it doesn't take much to start sewing, there are several crucial items that will make your life significantly easier in the early stages of learning.

Take a look at our recommendations: 



Seems obvious, right? We thought we'd mention that as a beginner, you don’t need to buy an expensive fabric. In fact - you shouldn't! There are many options for premium, easy-to-use fabric under $10 - for the best deals, you should take a look at online fabric stores first.

Fat quarters (cheap packs of smaller fabric squares, for those not in the know) may be appealing, but it's easier to practice on larger pieces of fabric to start. Our recommendation: buy several yards at a minimum to practice on. 


 Fabric Scissors

You’re going to cut your fabric frequently, and there's nothing worse than a bad pair of scissors that just don't cut well. There are many kinds of fabric scissors, ranging from just $5 to over $50 a pair. 

For the thrifty beginner, fear not! You likely won't see the benefit from the high-end scissors - we'd stick with a pair under $20. Singer and Fisker are the top brands for a reason - look there first.



A simple, yet necessary tool. Any plastic ruler will be sufficient to start - clear rulers are easier to work with, since you can see what's underneath. If you're spending more than $5 on this tool, you're probably doing something wrong.

When you start to get more comfortable working with fabric, look to add a rotary ruler and cutting mat to your workbench. The benefit of these tools will become apparent as you work with a higher volume of fabric. 


Sewing Needles

Again, an obvious one. Even if you use a sewing machine, you'll still need a hand needles for sewing. You'll need several different sizes of needles, depending on the thickness of the fabric you'll be most frequently working with.

Sewing machine needle sizes are easy to understand: they range from 9 to 19: the higher the number, the larger the gauge, and the thicker the fabric should be. For heavy fabrics such as leather, denim, and canvas, look for an 16 or above (though we'd recommend starting with a middle-of-the-road option, like a 12 or 14).


Marking Tools

We like to think of these as "sanity" tools - can you sew without them? Probably. Will it make your life harder, and will the end result be rough around the edges? Most definitely.

There are 3 main types of marking tools: the first is tailor’s chalk. Use the chalk to transfer your stitch line or other markings from your pattern to the fabric. The chalk comes in various colors, but is usually pretty easy to erase accidentally with your hands. This is typically the easiest way to mark fabric.

If you keep erasing your chalk markings, try use tailor tacks. Although categorized as an old technique, it's still an effective method to mark your pattern on your fabric. However, these are best used to mark a pattern's shapes, such as button or pocket placement. 

Finally, a perfectly viable option is disappearing ink, or "fabric pens". These are pretty widely available, and contain ink that can't be wiped away with your hand. Have no fear, though - you can easily remove it using a damp cloth. 


Pins And Pincushion

Can you imagine lining up your fabric to sew and having it shift at the last minute, only to mess up a whole line of stitches? That's why you need to make sure to pin your fabrics together prior to sewing. 

Pin sizes are pretty standard, but use caution when working with light fabrics such as silk -  you need to use the smallest gauge pins to avoid creating permanent holes in your creation. Just make sure to grab a big pack of pins, as they tend to go missing easily..

To keep your pinch organized, grab yourself a pincushion. Magnetic trays are an option, but to us, nothing beats a good ol' pin cushion.


Seam Ripper

Fact: you're only human. Sorry, but you're bound to make mistakes when first embarking on your sewing journey. The earlier you accept this fact, the better.

And the earlier you buy a seam ripper, or "physical backspace key" as we like to call it, the better your chances are of being able to successfully complete a project right after making a mistake. 

This is another cheap item - if you're paying more than $10, look elsewhere.


Iron and Ironing Board

Finally, something on this list you likely already own! Before cutting your pattern pieces, it’s good if you iron them first (depending on the fabric type, of course).

Don’t set the heat too hot, otherwise it can damage your fabric. A good fabric retailer will advise you how to care for your fabric - if not, every iron also comes with a heat setting guide based on fabric type. If you're unsure, err on the cool side.


Confidence and Positive Attitude

Time to be sentimental: all you really need to get started sewing (beside the list of tools above, obviously) is a good attitude. Yes, there's a learning curve - but that's true of all great hobbies.

Buy extra fabric, practice often, ask family and friends for tips, but most importantly - don't give up! As any sewing enthusiast can attest to, there's nothing quite as rewarding as creating a tangible product entirely by yourself. With the right tools, you'll be there in no time. Happy sewing!



2 thoughts on9 Must-Have Sewing Tools for Every Aspiring Sewing Guru

  1. avatar Lori says:

    I’ve been sewing for several years, and my seam ripper was my best cheap purchase! Used it countless times.. would recommend.

  2. avatar Janice says:

    This is a great list – thank you!! I’m going to try tailor tacks out instead of chalk. I’m excited to try my hand at sewing!

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