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Sewing Tools List for Beginners

Welcome to the wonderful world of sewing!

I know how overwhelming this craft can be if you’re just getting started. But don’t worry!

In this blog post, I’m going to walk you through the 10 sewing tools you need to get started.

By the end of this post, you’ll be able to confidently grab your supplies and start sewing!


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The 10 Sewing Tools For Beginners:

  1. Straight Pins
  2. Shears
  3. Seam Ripper
  4. Something to Mark With
  5. Fabric
  6. Thread
  7. Steam Iron
  8. Flexible Tape Measure
  9. Hand Needle
  10. Sewing Machine

Sewing Tool For Beginners #1:
Straight Pins

Sewing Tools for Beginners - Straight Pins

What is a Straight Pin?

Straight pins hold the fabric in position while you’re sewing. They’re used exactly like safety pins, minus the safety part.

Things to Look for When Buying Straight Pins:

  • 1.5” is a great beginner option. If you have thicker fabric, shorter pins won’t make it through all the layers 🙁 And longer pins can be tricky to work with
  • A big, easy to grip topper! Toppers make it easier to find and remove pins.
  • 250 Count or more. These little suckers get used up FAST!

~ Other than that, just find ones you like because you’ll be seeing them the entire time you’re sewing ~


The Most Common Options for Straight Pins:

Sewing Tools for Beginners - Plastic Head Straight Pins
Option 1: Plastic Toppers

These are the most common and they have lots of different shapes and colors.

  • Easy to Find
  • Wide Variety
  • Cheapest Option
Sewing Tools for Beginners - Glass Head Straight Pins
Option 2: Glass Toppers

These can be tricky to find locally and only come in this round-ball style but they won’t melt if ironed.

  • Won’t melt and stick to your project/iron
  • A little more expensive
  • Difficult to find locally
Sewing Tools for Beginners - Plastic Clips
Option 3: Clips

These are more expensive but some people find them easier to use.

They’re used exactly like clothespins.

  • No risk of stabbing yourself
  • Most expensive option

Sewing Tool For Beginners #2:
Shears

Sewing Tools for Beginners - Shears or Scissors

What are Shears?

Shears are a special type of scissor. Scissors have two equal-sized holes for your fingers, whereas shears have one long and one short hole.

Shears are used for cutting fabric, patterns, and anything else you need during your sewing project.

Things to Look for When Buying Shears:

  • Comfortable. Cutting out patterns can take time and you don’t want your hand cramping.
  • 3-4” Blade Length. The longer the blade, the fewer cuts you have to make. But, long blades make cutting smaller pieces more difficult. 3-4” is a good in-between length for most projects.

Sewing Tool For Beginners #3:
Seam Ripper

Sewing Tools for Beginners - Seam Ripper

What is a Seam Ripper?

This is basically the “eraser” of the sewing world. It’s used to tear out stitches, a.k.a. things you didn’t sew right the first time.

Things to Look for When Buying a Seam Ripper:

  • Comfortable to hold. If you make a really hard to reach mistake or a really large mistake, you could be holding this tool for a chunk of time.
  • Easy to find! Find a seam ripper that’s a bigger size or a bright color so you can find it easily! It’s no fun messing up, then spending the next hour looking for your seam ripper instead of finishing your project.

Sewing Tool For Beginners #4:
Something to Mark With

Sewing Tools for Beginners - Washable Markers

What Can I Mark With?

Pins, marker, chalk, pencils, whatever you can find!

And what exactly are you marking? You’ll need to mark your fabric with cut lines and sewing instructions.

Things to Look for When Buying Things to Mark With:

  • Variety. A pencil might work great on light-colored fabric but won’t show up at all on dark colors.
  • Easy to erase. When you’re done sewing, you’re going to want all the marks you made to disappear, or at the very least, not be seen while you’re wearing your new outfit.
  • Test the erasability on scrap fabric. Before making marks on your actual project, cut a test piece of fabric and check if your marker of choice really does erase or disappear.

Honestly, I use regular pencils or washable markers for 90% of my projects.


Sewing Tools for Beginners - Washable Markers
Washable Markers

Yes, just plain Crayola washable markers. Lots of colors, easy to find, and all the marks come off in the wash.

  • Easy to find
  • Cheap
  • Check that markers come off in the wash!
Sewing Tools for Beginners - Tailors Chalk
Tailors Chalk (Top)
Chalk Wheel (Bottom)

Chalk is amazing for dark fabric. However, it fades really quickly so you have to be very careful and work quickly with your fabric after marking.

  • Great for dark and/or textured fabrics (i.e.fur)
  • Easily removed
Sewing Tools for Beginners - Disappearing Ink Pens
Disappearing Ink Pens

These pens have special ink that turns invisible via contact with water or heat – depending on the type of pen.

Frixion pens are the most popular at the moment because the ink “disappears” when you iron over it.

  • More precise marks
  • More expensive

Sewing Tool For Beginners #5:
Fabric

Sewing Tools for Beginners - Fabric

What is Fabric?

This is what you’re going to make your project or garment out of! This can literally be any color, fiber, pattern, or texture that you want. It’s totally up to you.

Things to Look for When Buying Fabric:

  • Make sure the fabric matches your project. You probably don’t want to make a summer dress of out sweater material. Just saying.
  • Look for less stretch. For your first few projects, try to find a fabric that doesn’t stretch too much when you pull on it. More stretch = higher difficulty.

Sewing Tool For Beginners #6:
Thread

Sewing Tools for Beginners - Thread

What is Thread?

This is what’s going to hold your fabric pieces together. Sort of like glue for craft projects.

Things to Look for When Buying Thread:

  • Color. Typically you want to match the thread color to the primary color of your fabric so that it blends in/isn’t too noticeable.
  • Pro Tip 1: Find thread that’s a shade or two darker than your fabric color so that it blends in even better.
  • Pro Tip 2: Pick a contrasting thread color to make your stitching stand out as a unique design element.
  • All-Purpose Thread. There are several types of thread but All-Purpose is a great option for most beginner projects.

Sewing Tool For Beginners #7:
Steam Iron

Sewing Tools for Beginners - Steam Iron

What is a Steam Iron?

It’s used to iron things, obviously.

Before you begin cutting your fabric, you’ll want to make sure it’s smooth and flat. Also, as you’re working on a project, you’ll want to iron out the seams for a crisp, professional finish.

Things to Look for When Buying a Steam Iron:

  • Steam. Most irons have this feature, but make sure the one you’re using definitely has it. Steam makes ironing 100x’s easier.

Sewing Tool For Beginners #8:
Flexible Tape Measure

Sewing Tools for Beginners - Measuring Tape

What is a Flexible Tape Measure?

This is used to measure things!

You’ll definitely need this to take body measurements, but it can also be super useful to measure curved lines.

Things to Look for When Buying a Tape Measure:

  • Flexible. It needs to be able to easily bend around curved edges and your body.
  • Retractable. If you have OCD at all like me, having a tape measure that retracts is a must. Also, it prevents the tape from getting into a tangled, unusable mess.

Sewing Tool For Beginners #9:
Hand Needles

Sewing Tools for Beginners - Hand Needles

What are Hand Needles?

Needles used to sew things manually – i.e. without the sewing machine.

While the sewing machine will be doing most of the work, you will still have some hand stitching to do.

And no, you won’t have to hand stitch cats, unless you just want to.

Things to Look for When Buying Hand Needles:

  • Variety. Tightly knit fabric will need tiny needles, and thick fabric will need long needles. Grab a pack with a variety of lengths and sizes so you’ll always be prepared.

Sewing Tools For Beginners #10:
A Sewing Machine

Sewing Tools for Beginners - Sewing Machine

What is a Sewing Machine?

This is the most important sewing tool on the list.

Without this (and thread), you can’t sew anything. That being said, pretty much any machine will work to get started.

Whether it’s a hand-me-down machine from grandma or a great deal you found on Craigslist, any machine will help you learn the basics of sewing, so don’t stress about finding the “right” machine.

Just get started!


Now, if you’re wanting to upgrade your current machine or really want to invest in a machine you can use for years to come, I’d definitely look for the following features.

Things to Look for When Buying a Sewing Machine:

  • Top-Load Bobbin. This is the fastest way to thread your machine.
  • Speed Control. As a beginner, this feature really helps you stay in control as you master new sewing techniques.
  • Auto Needle Threader. You don’t want to thread that needle by hand do you?
  • Free Arm. This is critical for small openings like sleeves and collars
  • Automatic Button Holes. This takes the headache out of putting buttons on a garment or project.

So, just to recap, the 10 sewing tools you need to get started are:

  1. Straight Pins
  2. Shears
  3. Seam Ripper
  4. Something to Mark With
  5. Fabric
  6. Thread
  7. Steam Iron
  8. Flexible Tape Measure
  9. Hand Needle
  10. Sewing Machine

Once you get all of your supplies together, head to my FB group and post a photo of your 10 tools.

I’d love to send you a virtual high five and help you with any questions you have on your sewing journey.


Remember, these sewing tools are just the first part of the journey!

There’s a ton more to learn and that can be both exciting and overwhelming. Be kind to yourself as you beginning sewing. You’re learning a new skill and it’s going to take practice.

Pro Tip: Step away from a project if you start getting frustrated. Try to focus on what you’re learning/getting better at, not the things that didn’t go quite right.


Wanna Learn to Sew Your Own Clothes – Even as a Beginner?

I know we only just covered the tools you need, but if you’re getting into sewing because you want to create custom clothing, then be sure to check out my current class:

Sewing Class for Beginners

Learn To Read A sewing Pattern

In this 4-week class, you’ll get a crash course of everything sewing. As long as you can thread your machine and sew straight-ish lines, then this class is for you. You’ll learn:

  • How To Read A Pattern
  • 3 Most Common Ways to Adjust Patterns for Fit
  • Intro to Sewing with Knits
  • And, Create Your Very Own Custom Fit Shirt!

All in just 4 weeks! Are you ready to start saying “Thanks, I made it?”

If yes, then click the button below to get all the details!

Hi Designers!

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Sewing can be challenging, but having great resources and a community really make all the difference.

So look around, join my group using the buttons below, and let me know if you have any questions!

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