Sewing Supplies List - The 10 things you actually need

Published on 23 January 2024 at 07:00

Sewing for yourself or your family is such a beautiful way to bless your family!  Through sewing you can:

  • Save some money on clothing if you shop fabric sales. 
  • Make unique and personalized clothing items that your kids love and wear on repeat. 
  • Make clothes that actually fit those hard to fit youngsters. 
  • Show your love to your children in the clothing that you make especially for them.  

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If you're here, I'm guessing that you want to get started with sewing, but are unsure of what you really need to get started.  There are so many tools and gadgets for sewing that it's hard to know what you actually need.  I'm not here to sell you all the fun gadgets, I'm here to tell you what you actually need to get started on a shoestring budget.  I'm all about making due with what I have and improvising if I can.  And I'm here to share that with you!

1) Besides a sewing machine, the first thing that you'll need is a seam ripper!  You don't need to spend much on this.  Any basic seam ripper will do the trick.  And trust me, this will become your new favorite tool!

2) You will also need a good sewing scissors.  Choose scissors that is specifically made to cut fabric and don't let anyone use it for anything else!  Cutting anything but fabric will dull a sewing scissors.

3) A flexible tape measure is a must.  You will use a tape measure to take body measurements for sizing.  You will also use it to measure things like trim, cord, zippers, fabric, and pattern pieces.

4) Hem gauges are very helpful!  They allow you to measure and precisely fold your fabric for your hem or any other area that requires you to fold over a specific measurement of fabric.  One end also doubles as a tool to gently push out corners.

5) It is also necessary to have pins.  Pins keep the pieces of fabric together while you are sewing.  I actually prefer clips to pins, they are so much easier to use!  I rarely use pins anymore, but occasionaly it is necessary to use pins in areas that can't be clipped.  So, if you're on a shoestring budget, just get pins.  If you can spare the extra $4 or so, get both!

6) You will need either safety pins in multiple sizes or a turning tool for turning things like straps and bow pieces.  To be honest, I have been sewing since I was a little girl and have never used a turning tool.  I am sure they are great, but a safety pin works for me and I like to make do where I can.

7) This might be obvious, but you need thread!  I always have white, black, and navy blue on hand.  Also, when you buy your fabric just get in the habbit of picking up a spool of thread that matches your fabric.  If your pattern requires gathering, spend the extra to get a good brand like All Purpose Gutterman.  There is nothing as aggravating as your thread breaking while you are trying to gather it!  If you are just doing straight sewing on seams that won't be under a lot of stress, All Purpose Coats and Clark is just fine.  I wouldn't go with an off-brand though.  It's not worth it to have seams break on you.  

8) You'll want extra needles!  If you are sewing with woven fabric, I would recommend getting a pack of universal needles.  10/70 - 14/90 is perfect for most clothing projects.  If you plan on sewing knit fabric, get a pack of ball point needles.  Again, 10/70 - 14/90 is a great range.

9) You'll need something to mark your fabric with.  Heat erasable frixion pens are amazing, but if you are trying to do this on the cheap, you can also use a white piece of chalk or a white colored pencil for dark fabrics and a yellow piece of chalk or colored pencil for white fabrics.

10) You will need an iron and an ironing board.  A well pressed seam will make all the difference in the look of the finished garment!  It doesn't have to be a fancy iron.  It just has to have good temperature regulation so you don't scorch your fabric and a good amount of steam so you can press with ease.  I have a Rowenta and I love it!  But I've also used a Black and Decker for sewing and it worked just fine.  If you already have an iron, just use that one.  If you don't, either of these two options would be great choices for sewing.


This might look like a long list, but many of these items, you probably already have.  And nothing on this list is going to break the bank!


If you have a little extra to spend, I have a list of things that are really nice to have, but not totally necessary.

1) A rotary cutter, a self-healing cutting mat, and a clear plastic sewing ruler are some of my favorite sewing tools.  These three tools together make cutting out your fabric a breeze!  I like the 28mm cutter for cutting out clothing patterns.  It is easier to take sharp curves with a smaller blade.  The cutting mat should be at least 24" x 36" (Any smaller and your pattern pieces will not fit).

2) Hem tape can be a very valuable tool for keeping your hems nice and neat.  

3) Fray check is helpful for keeping vulnuerable edges from fraying.  This would include scalloped edges and button holes.

4) Pinking Shears can be used instead of trimming your seams.  I love the ease and the look of seams trimed with pinking shears.

5) An expanding sewing gauage is very handy for easily measuring your button hole placements on dresses or shirts.

6) An ironing ham is helpful for ironing sleeves.  Although to be honest with you, I don't have an ironing ham.  I just roll up a towel and shove it in the sleeve before ironing it.


Have fun gathering up those supplies!  Next Tuesday (Jan. 30th) come back, same time, same place, for the first free sewing lesson!!!!  I'm so excited to get this sewing party started!  In the meantime, join my new facebook group.  It will be a fun place to share your sewing makes, get some inspiration and encouragement, and ask me questions as you go through the lessons!  See you there!

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Julie Reim
6 months ago

This is a perfect list!