7 Simple Tools Every Beginning Seamstress Must Have

7 Simple Tools Every Beginning Seamstress Must Have

Learning to sew or beginning to sew as a hobby can be a fun little project to keep your hands busy and to make useful things that you can wear or have around your home. But just starting out can also be a little overwhelming. I’ve been sewing for a long time and I still get overwhelmed whenever I set foot inside of a fabric or craft store! Today I want to take a little bit of your stress away if you are just getting into sewing, by sharing a few of my favorite things.

7 Tools every beginning seamstress must have

Taking one look down an aisle of sewing tools and products is enough to make anyone a little itchy. Maybe a little excited to dig into your next project, but also a little crazy because why does there need to be so many of the same thing! Here are the top 7 things that I think you really need when you get started sewing.

1. A Good, Basic Sewing Machine

Did you see that word I added in there? Basic. If you are just learning to sew, you do not need a sewing machine with all of the bells and whistles that it can possibly come with. Find a good deal on one? I would still pass it up in favor of a nice basic machine because there are many more things that can go wrong with a complicated model, not to mention they are more difficult to learn how to use!

If you are just starting out, I would recommend a Brother or Singer Machine right around the $100-$150 range. Something that isn’t so cheap that it will break, but not so expensive because it doesn’t include a pony and a swimming pool with it. I have this Brother Computerized Sewing Machine with a Wide Table and it’s perfect for what I need. It’s easy to use and not really all that “computerized”. It has plenty of stitches to keep me busy for a long time and it’s from a reputable company.

2. Fabric Scissors

After a sewing machine, scissors is the other tool that you will be using the most of so it’s worth it to invest in a good pair of fabric scissors that is only for sewing. Do not use the scissors to cut paper or other items as it can dull them. After you have one good basic pair of scissors, you may also want to invest in a pair of Embroidery Scissors (good for snipping thread as you are sewing) and a Pinking Shears (keeps fabric edges from fraying).

3. Rotary Cutting Set

I know it seems a little crazy to get this many items that just cut things but trust me, a Rotary Cutter will be your new best friend, especially if you struggle to cut in a straight line like I do! The Rotary Cutter and mat set are the perfect tools for cutting out sewing projects that use patterns. Also, if you plan on trying any quilting you will definitely want a Rotary Cutter.

4. Pins and Pincushion

Since you will use pins in almost everything you sew, having a set of pins and a decent pincushion is a must. There are several different styles of pins depending on what you like (there are pins with larger heads which are perfect for larger fingers or for those that may have trouble grabbing the little heads). And there are many styles of pincushions. I have and love the little Tomato Cushion because it’s the same one my mom and grandma had when I was growing up.

5. Seam Ripper

Yes, you will need one of these! No matter how many years of experience you have with sewing, you will always need a good seam ripper. Like the pins, there are several different styles available including some really nice ergonomically shaped ones. Personally, I just stock up on the cheap ones because I have a really good habit of losing them…and my children tossing them down the furnace vents.

6. Tape Measure

No, your husband’s tape measure from the garage isn’t going to work for your sewing projects. You need a nice flexible one Fabric Tape Measure that can bend with your fabric! Be sure and get a cloth or vinyl covered one, no paper tape measures as they will tear and not last very long. One or two tape measures is all you need. Two can be handy when you need to measure two sides at one time.

7. Fabric Pencil

Again, this is another item that you will be using all of the time! If you can only get one, get a white Fabric Pencil. If you can get more than one, be sure to get a light and a dark pencil to use on all colors of fabrics.

With just these 7 things you will be able to easily do most simple sewing projects, and if you never decide to do any kind of complicated sewing, these items may be all you need! (Besides the fabric and thread of course!)

Beginning sewers…do you have any of these items yet? Seasoned sewers…what would you add to this list?

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15 Comments

  1. What a good list! I consider myself a beginner seamstress still, there are alot of things I have to learn! Sometimes it’s a little overwhelming. Maybe you could make a list of important skills a beginner should learn?
    I have almost everything on this list except for a pincushion(I had one at one point..where did it go?), pinking shears, and rotary cutter. I really need to get the last two, my last project would’ve gone a bit easier with those.
    I found my seamripper under the couch cushions last week. I was just about to buy another one too! I think I will anyways because I also have a habit of losing them.
    Oh, and I think maybe an Iron should be on this list. Ironing makes all the difference sometimes!

    1. Great idea for another post! I will have to work on that 🙂 I forgot about the iron…you are right, it is a must! Our current house has one of those old school ironing cupboards and it just happens to be right next to the room with my sewing machine, I love it!

  2. I love this post. I have been sewing for many years and have all of these supplies except for the rotary cutter and pad. It is on my list now. I agree about the iron and ironing board because I am not sure how many people iron anymore. Pinned.

  3. Merissa I am an amateur sewer and I have most of these but the one thing I do not have and should have is a seam ripper. It will come in very handy as I am always taking fabric apart to create something new with it.

  4. I would add to your list a plastic bin to store all the tools. I have different bins for each different hobby (and wish I had more bins, draws or pretty boxes to be able to organize myself better). I noticed that when I am not motivated but I have tons of stuff to do, it most likely is because my tools and materials are all over my art/craft area. Time for me to put everything​ away in it’s place. Then I feel much better and can get to what I was planning to do.

  5. You reminded me to add a rotary cutter to my wishlist 🙂 Thanks for linking up with Merry Monday this week!

  6. Well, I have all the tools now all I need is the time to get started. Thank you for sharing your advice at the Snickerdoodle party. I am featuring your sewing tips at the party today.

  7. I’m in my mid 50s and just learned about multipurpose sewing clips. I’ve always hated pins, so I try to do without, and that doesn’t work well when trying to sew a straight seam, but sewing clips are a game changer for me!

    1. Thank You. I too, am in my 50’s, and haven’t sewn since high school Home-Ec class. I had no idea multipurpose sewing clips existed.

  8. Oh, I feel lost! I’m 75 and never sewn before. Now, I think I should look a little more into this project. I’ve always wanted to learn, but maybe to old now. Good sewing girls!

    1. Don’t feel lost Carol! Just go for it. Perfection is NOT necessary. Find some simple projects to start with – there are a zillion of them on Pinterest, plus lots of sewing tips for newbies.

      Get yourself a simple machine as suggested above. Don’t be intimidated by the word “computerized” either. I own two Brother machines, one simple and one ‘fancy schmanzy’ and they were both surprisingly easy to learn. Brother machines are actually very user friendly, the manuals are easy to navigate and understand, and you can always call their help line for advice. And if you buy a modest machine from a dealer, you can probably get some free lessons too!

      I’m 70, have been sewing since I was a kid but since the advent of the internet, I have learned so much that I never knew …it’s been enlightening!

      There are NO Sewing Police! (or quilting police, or dressmaking police, or even potholder making police!) Just get going and have fun; don’t be frustrated by any mistakes, they’re simply part of the learning process.

  9. Thanks for all your hints, tips and upbeat thoughts, even when you have challenges. I did some sewing in college – bottoms, minor rips and darning socks, yep socks. That was about 60 years ago. Recently got interested in machines (old, old) and am slowly working on them, Including treadles! A suggestion on machines is check thrift stores (Goodwill) and yard sales. Often with extras and inexpensive. The older machines also were metal (VERY heavy), metal gears and will sew several layers of material (as denim), if you work on work clothes/projects. The new led lights are much brighter but I recently found a small, flexible led light that stands alone and helps in threading needle or checking other things.

    To Carol I say go for it at 75. I recently took beginners classes in crochet and making pair of “comfy pants” and am doing some loom knitting. Now my WIFE wants to know when she gets her pants! Oh, so that means I am a male and also am 78+years old. Feeling better since I started doing some creative work!

  10. Growing up, we had a rectangle shaped sewing chair which is basicall a storage box with a padded lid on legs.