Sewing Essentials: What Every Beginner Needs
Sewing is a great way to create unique pieces for yourself and live a more sustainable lifestyle. Whether you just got your first sewing machine or you’re starting by hand, these are the sewing essentials every beginner needs in their kit.
A Good Pair of Fabric Shears
Fabric shears are among the most important items on this list. While a quality pair of fabric scissors can be a bit pricey, they are worth the investment. I’ve had mine for about eight years, and they still work great.
Choose a trusted brand like Fiskars or Gingher—the pair you need will have eight-inch blades and will be called “dressmaker’s shears” or “fabric shears.” Use these scissors only for cutting fabric or trimming threads; cutting plastic or paper with them will wear them down. Dull scissors will create uneven cuts in your fabric.
Your scissors will still dull over time, but the great news is stores like Jo-Ann offer scissor and knife sharpening for affordable prices.
This one is crucial if you’ll be altering any garments—from changing a hemline to ripping out a shoulder pad. Seam rippers make it much easier to remove existing seams. They also reduce the chance of cutting yourself or the garment you’re working on. They’re pretty inexpensive, so pick up one of these instead of attempting to use your fabric scissors.
This is essentially a tiny ruler with a built-in slider. You’ll want to whip this tool out any time you need to make a seam or hem. You’ll set the slider at whatever length you want for the hem; for example, a half inch. Check the hem every few inches to make sure it’s straight. I recommend doing this while pinning the hem in place; it takes a little extra time, but it’s much better than pinning, or worse, sewing, everything in place only to find out later on that your hem is uneven.
Straight Pins and a Pincushion
You’ll use straight pins for nearly everything. I suggest getting a pack with colorful heads rather than the all-metal ones. They’re easier to hold and find if you drop one. While not strictly necessary, a pincushion will make your life much easier than trying to put your pins back in their box.
Though it won’t be your most used item, it’s definitely an important one. You’ll need a measuring tape for taking measurements for yourself or whomever you’re sewing for, and also to check the fabric before cutting it. Be sure to choose the perfect measuring tape for your sewing projects. Remember—always measure twice, cut once!
With these sewing essentials every beginner needs, you’ll be sewing beautiful pieces in no time. If starting a project from fabric sounds daunting to you, go thrifting and find a piece to upcycle. There is no right way to begin your sewing journey!