If you’re a novice at sewing, it’s easy to feel a little bit overwhelmed. Determining the best sewing tools for beginners can be especially difficult, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The fact is that you don’t have to rush out and buy dozens of tools just to get started on your sewing adventures.
For the most part, there are only a handful of sewing tools that can be considered absolute necessities, at least when you’re first learning. You can purchase the rest of them on an as-needed basis as you move along and become a better sewist.
What Are the Necessary Sewing Tools for Beginners?
In the beginning, you may not need tons of sewing tools and accessories, but you’ll naturally need a few to get started with if you want to be successful. While the following isn’t an all-inclusive list, below are five sewing tools that can help you learn to sew and make it much easier to get started.
When it comes to the right sewing tools for beginners, few tools are more important than a good sturdy pair of sewing scissors. There are two very important rules for choosing sewing scissors.
The first rule is that you’ll need a pair of scissors made specifically for sewing. When you’re a sewist, the bottom line is that a regular pair of scissors just won’t do, even if it is an extra-sharp pair. Bottom line: you need scissors made just for sewing and nothing else.
The second rule is that once you buy these scissors, you should never use them for anything except for sewing. You’ll soon realize how smooth and efficient it is to cut fabric with sewing scissors, but don’t be tempted to use these scissors for anything else. If you do, the scissor blades will become dull and blunt before you know it.
And while you’re at it, you’ll also need a good pair of pinking shears. Pinking shears are perfect for stopping certain fabrics from fraying, and they are especially useful on inside seams. They can also add a decorative touch to your project, so it’s important to have a pair of these on hand at all times.
You’ll also notice that both of these types of scissors are expensive, but think of it this way: they will both last a very long time. In addition, a good pair only has to be sharpened every few years, so they are always worth the investment you make in them.
2. Rotary Cutter, Mat, and Ruler
There are going to be some projects where a rotary cutter is simply easier and faster to use than a pair of scissors, and you never know which of your projects this includes. In fact, you’ll end up using your rotary cutter more often than you think, as you’ll be using it for almost every project you take on.
Rotary cutters come in different sizes for your convenience. For instance, if you’re cutting a large piece of fabric or a thicker piece, you can use a standard 45mm rotary cutter. For delicate fabric or projects where precision and detail are crucial, a 28mm tool can be used instead.
In addition to the rotary cutter itself, it’s always best to invest in a mat that is made specifically for rotary cutters. Many times, you can find the rotary cutter and the mat together in a kit, making it even more convenient for you to purchase. Sometimes these kits include a ruler as well.
And speaking of rulers, buy yourself a standard rectangle-shaped ruler to make measuring your projects a lot easier and faster. These rulers also make using your rotary cutter a lot easier because together, they make cutting fabric a breeze.
3. A Good Tape Measure
When it comes to sewing tools for beginners, a good tape measure is a must. In fact, measuring fabric and other items is going to be an important part of creating any sewing project, so anything you can use to measure something is going to go a long way regardless of what you’re sewing.
For fabric, you’ll need a good tape measure in several steps of the sewing process. They are all a standard length, so you can buy any tape measure that’s found at a good sewing store. Because they won’t stretch, a tape measure that is plastic-coated is the best one to buy.
In addition to a tape measure, it’s a good idea to buy a ruler that bends for those times when you have to measure curves, along with a sturdy clear ruler so that you can see exactly what you’re doing. The thing is that you never know exactly what type of ruler or measuring device you’re going to need each step of the way, so it’s always good to have several of them on hand.
Also, keep in mind that tape measures and rulers aren’t just necessary when you’re sewing garments or clothing items. They’re also needed for arts and crafts, household decorations, blankets, and anything else you might want to create using your sewing machine. They are truly a necessary item for beginning sewists.
4. Needles and Pins
While many sewists use clips to hold together pieces of fabric, pins are still a good all-around favorite. Pins that have flower or glass heads are easy to see if you drop them, and they stand out better on fabric as well. If you try both pins and fabric clips, you’ll be able to determine which one you like best.
Regardless of what you choose in the end, it’s always a good idea to have at least a handful of pins on hand at all times. You just never know when they might come in handy!
As far as needles are concerned, keep in mind that hand-stitching is not that uncommon for most sewing projects. Even with projects where you’ll be using your sewing machine, you might still have an occasion to hand-sew part of the project, so basic sewing needles are a must.
And while you’re at it, go ahead and buy yourself a good pin cushion to store all of those needles and pins. Some pin cushions even have magnetic capabilities, which makes it super easy to pick up your needles and pins when they fall on the floor.
No sewing kit is complete without a good collection of needles and pins, especially if you’re a beginning sewist. Oh, and get yourself a good embroidery needle as well for those thick fabrics you are bound to work with at some point.
5. Spools of Thread
When you go to the sewing store and look at all of those spools of thread, it might feel a bit intimidating, but keep in mind that you don’t need every one of those colors — at least not right away.
Thread is one of the most practical and essential tools for beginners, but to start with, just choose the colors that you’ll need for your project, plus a black thread and a white or off-white thread. That’s it. When you go to your second project, you’ll have the basic colors on hand and you can then pick out colors for that particular project.
It’s a lot of fun to amass spools of thread in many different colors. In fact, this is one of the most fun parts of being a sewist. But it can also be expensive, which is why buying spools of thread a few at a time is always your smartest option.
And speaking of prices, do yourself a favor and don’t buy the cheapest thread you find. More expensive thread is more expensive for a reason. Simply put, they last longer and won’t break or fray nearly as often as the less expensive brands do.
If you make it a habit to buy the higher-quality brands of thread, they’ll last much longer and you’ll actually save money in the long run. Keep this important tip in mind when you’re buying your thread.
When you’re looking for the best sewing tools for beginners, it’s best not to go overboard and start buying things that you don’t need. Sewing kits that include various tools are a great way to get started, but even they sometimes are missing important items.
The best thing to do is take each project one at a time. Buy just what you need for that project and no more. This can save you a lot of money and even a few headaches along the way because you don’t want to put stress on yourself.
Sewing is a great hobby and one you should be able to enjoy for the rest of your life. But don’t stress over getting started. It doesn’t have to be complicated, and it certainly doesn’t have to be expensive.
Buying just what you need at that particular moment is the smartest way to start building up your collection of nifty sewing tools, and going project by project will keep both the prices and your stress level way down.