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.
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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.
My top pick for a beginner sewing machine is the Brother XM2701 Lightweight Sewing Machine.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!).
7. Sewing Gauge
Whether you’re hemming, making bias binding, or measuring pleats, you won’t want to be without this terrific tool!
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.
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.
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.
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. 😉
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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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