Sewing Tools List
This Sewing Tools List is made to help you, the beginner seamstress, know what basic sewing tools are needed to get started in learning how to sew basic sewing projects. The picture above shows the contents of a Dritz Sewing Kit. You can also purchase these Sewing Tools separately.
Basic Sewing Tools for the Sewing Basket
Scissors– I have three pairs:
Gingher Scissors for cutting ONLY fabrics. I get pretty irritated when my kids decide they are going to use MY fabric scissors for something else! You want to keep your fabric scissors sharp so they will cut thru fabric with ease! I did see a funny picture that had a pair of sewing shears with a mini lock on the handles!
Pinking shears for finishing seams( to prevent fabric from raveling)
Small embroidery scissors for clipping threads. The smaller blades help to minimize the chance that the blade tips will accidentally cut thru some fabric where you are snipping. Always remember to keep excess fabric out of the way while trimming threads.
Tape Measure– A flexible tape measure is great for measuring curved edges and long lengths. The basic measuring tapes I have are 60″ long. I’d LOVE to have a retractible tape measure from THE SHOP COMPANY because it is retractible (no folds in the tape from folding) AND it also has a neck cord to keep the tape measure close by for easy use; sometimes my basic ones fall on the floor or they get covered up by fabric and it takes me some time to search for them!
Seam Ripper-Used to remove basting stitches, accidental stitches from fabrics, and can also work for cutting the slit open for buttonholes. I have several seam rippers that I use that came with my sewing machines. These seam rippers are all short and would LOVE to have a longer length handle! I found some great alternative choices than the seam rippers that come with the machines, and would most likely choose a brass seam ripper.
Pins– Approx. 1 3/8″ length works well for firmer cotton fabrics. I recommend getting pins with glass heads for TWO reasons:
1) The bead heads make for easier locating of your pins whether in fabric or if they have fallen on the floor.
2) The glass head will NOT melt which means that you can keep the pins in your fabric while pressing.
The pins that are pictured above are simple pins without colored bead heads. Another great reason to purchase pins with colored bead heads is that you will see the pins easier to pull them out of your fabric and NOT sew over them.
Marking tools– Some examples are: water soluble marking pens, tailors chalk and tailors pencils and a tracing wheel with tracing paper. The tracing wheel and tracing paper are very simple to use and are great for the beginner seamstress. Tailors chalk and marking pencils are great choices to use on cotton fabrics. I like the marking pencils better just because I can keep a sharper marking point by sharpening the pencil.
Hand Needles-Some projects need basting stitches during construction, or finishing stitches. ‘Universal’ needles are great for the beginner because they will work for woven fabrics such as cotton and also knits. A quick lesson on hand needle sizes– needles have a numbering system from 1 to 12. The smallest number size 1 is the coarsest needle for heavy weight fabrics, size 6 works for medium weight fabrics and size 12 is for lightweight or sheer fabrics. I have several different needle sizes available in my sewing room just so I am prepared for whatever fabric I’m using.
Needle Threader-This is a helpful tool if you have a hard time getting the thread to easily slide thru the needle. Just stick the flexible part of the threader thru
Measuring Gauge–This tool works great for measuring hems or when needing to mark/measure fabric edges to a certain length. This tool is sturdier than a tape measure and the plastic marker stays in one place for faster marking.
Thimble– Thimbles are used to push needles or pins thru fabric, and help protect your skin. Sometimes I’m stubborn and don’t use a thimble and will get little holes in my skin from where I pushed the needle thru the fabric! Save your fingers from ‘pin pain’ and use a thimble! I’ve only ever used the metal thimbles. I was looking online and found that there are MANY different sizes and different styles of thimbles-WOW!
The Biggest Sewing Tool
Sewing Machine-(Not included in the Dritz Start-to-Sew-Kit) If you need to buy one, choose the best basic machine from a reliable manufacturer. Some stores have a trade-in policy that will allow you to upgrade in the future, just ask before you buy a machine. That may change your mind as to what kind of machine you’d like to get. Some reliable brand names are: Brother, Singer, Baby Lock, and Elna. I have an Elna that is now 21 years old and is still reliable with regular tune-ups. Baby Lock Tempo is my newest machine, which is an upgrade from the basic models and very nice! When looking to purchase a machine, I suggest that you actually test the machine, in a store, to make sure the machine feels comfortable to use. Then you can purchase the machine in the store OR go online to find a good price and order online. The advantage of buying a machine in a store is that you may get free classes for learning how to use your machine. Before you start a project, make sure you have a variety of universal sewing machine needle sizes and a variety of all-purpose thread colors needed to sew a project on the sewing machine.
Extra Helpful Sewing Tools for Beginners
When I started sewing many years ago, you only cut fabric with sewing scissors. Then the Rotary Cutter came in the picture-oh so nice! This tool works great when cutting edges, remember to use a rotary mat with your rotary cutter to protect furniture surfaces. (There are different size Rotary cutters. A larger cutter is great for straight lines and large curved lines and a small cutter is great for cutting small curves) I use both scissors and the rotary cutter, no rules as to when I use what tool, I do use scissors when I need more control and precision. A Rotary Cutter and Mat Set is a nice ‘EXTRA’ to have in your sewing tools!
Now that you have your basic sewing tools from the Sewing Tools List, read:
Learning How to Sew: Projects for Beginners to get you started on your Sewing Adventure!
Thanks for Reading and Happy Sewing!