Beginning Sewing Must Have Supplies (other than a sewing machine!)
Dannelle! I'm about to go shopping and I have no idea what I need to get started sewing can you help? Yes! Below is my top 8 go to list, I recommend to my students and use myself, any further questions drop me an email or comment below. Happy sewing!
Seems pretty basic right? But not just any. For my beginners especially kids I recommend buying something you can practice with that is cheap. Too often we buy a pretty fabric, then A- don't want to use it because it's too pretty and we spent a lot of money on it or B use it, but screw it up repeatedly and feel awful therefore we avoid sewing all together. Don't do this! Local fabric stores especially the chains will have remnants for sale (smaller, left over pieces of fabric for a discount), a clearance fabric area or coupons you can apply towards fabric. Buy felt (not the sheets), but by the yard. Felt tends to be wider and is a pretty great practice fabric. Flannel and cotton would be my next recommendations. Buy something you can work the kinks out on. How much do you need? Depends on your project. For kids I recommend buying fat quarters up to 1 yard of fabric. For adults a good rule of thumb is 2 yards.
#2 A marking pencil, fabric chalk, fabric pen or crayon!
Yes, literally any of these as you begin tracing from pattern. Make sure they are washable.
#3 Good thread
It is tempting to buy the cheaper thread, but I'd caution you not to. Cheaper threads tend to snap more. I also would advise against buying older thread. Threads from an estate sale or local thrift store maybe a great bargain, but tend to snap easier. What thread do I recommend then? My favorite brand is Gutterman. You can find it online and at Joann Fabrics. I use it for sewing and embroidery. A good "sew all" type of thread will work. I typically recommend buying a bigger spool if you can. Start with a white or black color this will help for most of your sewing projects. As you gain more experience you can switch up the colors. If the spool of thread you are wanting to buy is smaller, buy two and save the receipt in case you don't need it. Nothing is more frustrating than running out of thread mid project.
#4 A variety of Sewing Machine Needles
Next, the right needle for your project! My machine came with these needles won't they do the job? More often than not you received the basics and they will either ruin or snap as you try to work on your project. I load up on needles from my local sewing shop during their sales. For example thicker material items (jeans or webbing- thicker straps you'd see on suitcases or gym bags) need special needles like a denim, jean or leather needle. Stretchy clothing items (made with knit fabric) couldn't use this type of needle as it would ruin the material. In this case you would need a stretch, ball point or Jersey needle. Make sure your machine does not require a specific brand of needles. Sometimes Walmart or Amazon has the best price on sewing needles. My go to brand is Schmetz, it seems pretty universal, but again check your machine manual.
#5 Large Safety Pins
Ever heard of a Bodkin? It's a fancy turning tool. At some point in your sewing journey you may need to use one- This is my hack that is just as effective. I have the latest turning tools, but honestly this is my go to any time I need to turn something inside out like a strap I've made for a dress or to thread elastic for a baby crib sheet. Does the trick and is cheap.
#6 A large cutting mat.
I sewed for a long time using a smaller 12" by 36" mat, but it was a game changer buying a big one! I find it especially useful for clothing items. Joann Fabrics has a large one near their patterns. It's generally rolled up but goes up to 60" I believe. Absolutely worth it.
Specifically this brand (other knock off brands break easy) are my go to instead of pinning. They hold tightly and save my fingers from getting pricked.
#8 A variety of cutting tools.
Fabric Scissors- I need fabric scissors? Yep. Buy a pair and label it (and possibly hide it!) You will appreciate it later on.
Paper Scissors- cutting patterns only.
Snips- tiny little scissors designed for cutting thread and cleaning up a project (my go to for cutting jump threads from embroidering) Amazon used to sell a 3pk for around $6
Rotary Cutter- great for clothing, going around corners and quick jobs.
Rag Snips- perfect for making rag quilts. These are different than regular snips- more industrial.
Check out our beginners sewing kit to save yourself a trip to the store. We've included most of these recommendations to get you off to a good start.