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Best Sewing Supplies for Beginners: The Essential List

Repurposed Cloth Face Mask Dress Collar: 2nd Version
90s Babydoll Dress Refashion with Repurposed Face Mask Collar

Learning how to sew can be really intimidating at first. Worrying about how well you’ll be able to pick up this new skill is stressful enough. Add picking out the equipment you need to get started on your sewing journey, and watch the analysis paralysis kick in!

Not everyone has a sewist friend or family member to help them get started on their way. That’s why I’m here!

Worried about how much you should spend on supplies? What supplies are best for a beginner? Are there particular sewing brands you should buy? If you’re wanting to learn to sew but have no idea what supplies you need to get started, then look no further. I’ve put together a comprehensive list of must-have sewing supplies for beginners.

This post contains affiliate links which won’t cost you anything extra, but may provide me with a small commission.

sewing supplies

Whether you’re new to sewing, or an experienced seamstress, having the right sewing supplies can make all the difference.

These are my favorite sewing supplies I recommend for beginners.

1. Sewing Machine

This is probably the scariest decision a beginning sewist has to make (and the priciest).

There are so flipping many sewing machines out there, ranging in price from uber cheap to crazy expensive.

While I sew on a fancy Pfaff that retails in the $1k range, don’t worry (It was payment for some promo work I did for them a while back)! You don’t need to spend that much, and I actually don’t advise doing so when you’re just starting out.

You do, however, want to make sure your new machine is made by a trustworthy brand and that it will hold up to whatever sewing challenge you put before it.

You can read why I don’t advise learning how to sew on a cheap mini sewing machine here.

My top pick for a beginner sewing machine is the Brother XM2701 Lightweight Sewing Machine.

Best Sewing Machine for Beginners, Brother XM2701 Lightweight Sewing Machine, White
My top pick!

I’m a huge fan of Brother sewing machines. My first sewing machine was an older version of this model and it checked a lot of boxes.

It’s lightweight, which is super important if you’re not going to have a dedicated sewing area right away. Mine lived on top of my fridge between uses for over a year, and it was never a problem lugging it out for my next project.

This sewing machine is also sturdy and well-built. It can handle sewing through thick layers of fabric and extensive use. I’ve tried using super cheap machines (think $60 and under), and they just feel cheap. This machine feels more high end than its price tag indicates.

You get a lot of good basic features with machine as well, including multiple presser feet and an array of different stitches.

The price is right. The features are decent (especially for this price point). The construction is solid. I don’t think sewing beginners can go wrong with this one.

If this sewing machine doesn’t quite strike your fancy, here are a few others by reputable brands that consistently get positive reviews:

Janome Arctic Crystal Easy-to-Use Sewing Machine

Brother CS6oooi

SINGER Start 1304

Brother Project Runway CS5055PRW Electric Sewing Machine


2. Fabric Scissors

The only cutting supply you really need to get started are some good fabric scissors.

Some will say you need cutting mats and rotary cutters, but these aren’t necessities (I can’t remember the last time I used mine).

Make sure to keep your fabric scissors away from your other household scissors and to ONLY use them for the sole purpose of cutting fabric, or they’ll become dull very quickly.

Best Sewing Supplies for Beginners: The Essential List 4

Gingher 8″ Dressmaker’s Shears

Havel’s 8″ Fabric Scissors

Fiskars 8″ Fabric Scissors


3. Pinking Shears

I also recommend investing in a pair of Pinking Shears. These funky scissors have saw-toothed blades instead of straight, which lets you cut a zig-zagged line.

If you’re working with a fabric with unfinished edges, cutting the fabric will result in a lot of fraying. While pinking shears can’t prevent the fabric from fraying, the zig-zag pattern limits the length of the frayed thread, resulting in a cleaner finish.

pinking shears cutting fabric

Fiskars 8″ Pinking Shears

JISTL 9.5″ Comfort Grip Pinking Shears

Gingher 7.5″ Pinking Shears


4. Small Scissors for Snipping Threads

These little guys are helpful for keeping your sewing projects looking tidy by snipping off threads, cutting corners, and more precise cutting work that your larger fabric scissors might struggle with.

scissors cut thread on cloth background

Fiskars Ultra-Sharp Thread Snips

Fiskars Thread Snips

Singer Pro Series Thread Snips

Havel’s Snip-Eze Embroidery Snips


5. Seam Ripper

I keep a few of these on hand (they always seem to wander off when I need one) for my refashioning projects. You just can’t beat them for ripping off sleeves, shoulder pads, or whatever else is getting between you and the awesome design you’ve envisioned. They’re also helpful for helping fix the occasional sewing mistake!

I prefer flat seam rippers to round ones as they’re less likely to roll off your work surface and get lost!

Person holding seam ripper

Dritz Deluxe Seam Ripper

Dritz Large Seam Ripper

Singer Seam Ripper Pair


6. Measuring Tape

Measure twice, cut once! Accurate measurements are extremely important in sewing, regardless of the scale of your project. Because these are on the cheap side, I recommend having at least a couple (they tend to wander off when you need them!).

sewing-supplies-measuring-tape

Singer Measuring Tape & fabric marking pencil combo

Singer Extra Long Tape Measure

Retractable Tape Measure 3 Pack


7. Sewing Gauge

Whether you’re hemming, making bias binding, or measuring pleats, you won’t want to be without this terrific tool!

Sewing gauge

Dritz Sewing Gauge

Singer Sewing Gauge

Clover 5-in-1 Sewing Gauge


8. Steam Iron

A huge part of making your sewing projects/refashions look professional is pressing them. Fortunately, you don’t need a crazy expensive iron to do this. As long as it heats up quickly and is reliable, you’re all set to press! Inexpensive models do the trick just fine.

sewing supplies steam iron

Sunbeam Steam Iron

Rowenta Professional Steam Iron

Black & Decker Steam Iron with Retractable Cord


9. Ironing Board

Some sewing practitioners recommend tabletop ironing boards, but I prefer their larger fold-out counterparts. I think they’re easier to work with, plus you get the added bonus of a fold-out work space for non-ironing projects as well.

I use my fold-out ironing board as a makeshift cutting table all the time, as it sits at a perfect height to not strain my back. And when I’m done with it, I can tuck it neatly away in a closet or or the corner of my sewing area.

sewing supplies for beginners ironing board

Steel Top Ironing Board with Blue Lattice Cover

Sunbeam Ironing Board with Rest Holder Stand

Compact Ironing Board


10. Sewing Machine Needles

Needles wear out and break fairly frequently. Unless you want to take an unwelcome pause in your creative project while you run to the craft store to pick up a new pack, it’s a good idea to have some on hand. Just make sure to replace them when they start to snag your fabric!

For most sewing, all you need a universal 80/12 needle. But when you’re sewing with knits you’ll want a ballpoint needle. Heavier fabrics (Think: Denim) will require a jeans needle.

Don’t worry! These are all usually color-coded and easy to tell apart.

sewing-supplies-sewing-machine-needles

Schmetz Universal Needles 10 pack

Schmetz Stretch Needles 5 pack

Schmetz Heavy Duty Jeans Needles 5 pack


11. Hand Sewing Needles

While the vast majority of your sewing will done on your machine, you’ll still need to complete some projects by hand. Bummer, I know. 😉

Needle eye and thread

Singer Hand Sewing Needles Multipack

Dritz Hand Sewing Needles 50 Pack

Singer Self-Threading Hand Sewing Needles Multipack


12. Straight Pins

Straight pins are used to pin fabric together prior to sewing. I prefer pins with colorful heads to the all-metal variety, as they’re much easier to find when you drop one (which you will), and they’re just more visible in general.

Colorful sewing pins

Glass Head Straight Quilting Pins

Clover Flat Head Pins

Dritz Dressmaker Pins


13. Pin Cushion

All of these pins and needles will need a place to call home! I like the classic Tomato model as it comes with a pin-sharpening attachment (Bet you wondered what that little strawberry thingy was for).

tomato pin cushion
Photo of a Pin Cushion

DIY Pin Cushion

Dritz Tomato Pin Cushion with Sharpener

Magnetic Pin Cushion

Singer Slap-on Wrist Pin Cushion


14. Thread

You don’t need a rainbow of thread colors to start your sewing journey. As long as you have black thread for dark colors and white thread for light colors, you’ll pretty much be okay. Of course, it’s better to match your thread color with your fabric color, but very few people will notice the difference. Guterman and Coates & Clark are two great thread brands I use.

sewing-supplies-thread

Guterman Sew-All Thread

Coats & Clark Dual Duty All-Purpose Thread


15. Fabric Chalk or Fabric Marking Pencil

Sometimes you’ll need to make temporary guide marks on something you’re altering. Tailors Chalk is great for this purpose, and comes in multiple colors.

fabric chalk

Dritz Tailor’s Chalk

Dritz Tailor’s Chalk Pencil

Dritz Marking Chalk Wheel Kit


16. Money-Saving Multipacks/Kits

If you’re buying sewing supplies for the first time, you can save money by bundling your supplies, rather than buying them individually. There are lots of great multipack/kit options available.

Sewing Supplies for Beginners: Dritz 27081-6 Start-to-Sew Kit
Just the basics.

Dritz Start to Sew Kit

Singer Fabric Scissor Multipack

I hope this list is helpful for those of you who are just getting started on your sewing journey!

Are there any other sewing supplies you have questions about? If so, let me know in the comments below!

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Sewing Supplies for Beginners
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