So you’ve decided to try your hand at sewing. Great! Now you’re thinking “where do I start” or “what do I even NEED”, right?!? That’s where I found myself about a year ago when I decided I wanted to sew my own Christmas stockings. So what DO you actually need to get started sewing? Let’s get to it.
* A Sewing Machine
Choosing a sewing machine can seem like a daunting task. Sewing machines come in all different price ranges, from more affordable basic sewing machines to modern computerized versions. The key is to find what works best for your budget and sewing needs.
For tips on buying a sewing machine, here is a great article on Craftsy’s website:
I personally use a Brother CS6000i, which is highly rated on Amazon and has served me well.
There are several different brands and types of needles. Make sure to check compatibility with your specific machine! Most people new to sewing can get by with universal needles, but make sure you have PLENTY. Needles should be changed frequently and never used if bent or broken. When using certain fabrics (knits, denim, leather, etc), different, specific needles are indicated.
You will need regular scissors for cutting paper patterns, printed PDF patterns. Scissors specific for cutting fabric can be found at most fabric stores (JoAnn’s, Hancock, Hobby Lobby, etc) as well as online. I also like to have a pair of small embroidery scissors to cut threads while sewing. It’s nice to have it right there next to my machine. While not completely necessary, I’ve found a rotary cutter and mat are worthwhile additions to add to your supplies. If your budget can handle it, I HIGHLY suggest it. Just be careful! Those buggers are sharp and it’s even more necessary to keep them out of the reach of small hands
There are different types of thread to choose from and it’s important to use the right type of thread for your machine, fabric, and project. In general, ALL PURPOSE thread is best to start with, but again this will be based on each individual situation. Read your labels, people!
Be sure to check your user manual for your sewing machine to insure you are using the correct bobbins! They are typically either plastic or metal, and often not interchangeable. I like to have several extras on hand so that I can start a new bobbin when using a new color thread.
Measuring tapes are necessary for checking measurements and choosing the correct sizes. Trust me… you’ll want one or two. I like having both a retractable and regular sewing measuring tape, but one would suffice. A ruler is helpful for patterns that give specific measurements on square/rectangular pieces to be marked and/or cut. I personally
THIS. CAN. BE. YOUR. BEST. FRIEND! Seam rippers are invaluable for undoing those stitching mistakes that are inevitable for all sewists (but especially for newbies). Mine came in a starter kit with my machine, so check first before you buy another…. Although, I must admit I have 2. It’s a sad, sad day when you spend time searching for that misplaced seam ripper.
* Straight Pins
Pretty self explanatory. Some are sharper than others. You’ll also need some form of storage for them (box, pincushion, etc). In lieu of pins, clips can be used for some projects. Small binder clips work well according to some. I bought Wonder Clips (by Clover) and really enjoy using those. Less poking 😉
These come in the form of pens/markers, chalk, or pencils. I have a vanishing ink marker that works great. Word to the wise: before starting a project, make sure your marking tool will wash out!!! After all that hard work, you don’t want an ugly reminder that you forgot… *tear*
I honestly use the iron I have had since college. It works, it’s decent. You can invest in a more sophisticated iron if you’d like. To each his own.
You don’t NEED a pattern for every project and there are times you can make your own, but they can be very helpful to new sewers. Look online for free patterns and tutorials to get started.
And last but certainly not least (and honestly, my favorite part),
There are tons and tons of different types of fabrics. They are classified typically by their weave and content. It’s very confusing to those of us new to the sewing/fabric world and I’m still learning. The basic thing to remember is that wovens have very little stretch, while knits tend to have some amount of stretch. Different fabrics require different types of stitches, thread, needles, pressor feet and so on and so on. The best to do is take note of the fabric label (or online description) and research, research, research! Also, make sure you practice on scraps before you start on your fabric needed for your project. It will save heartache in the end. Places to buy fabric are endless: big box fabric stores, specialty fabric stores, online sites, thrift stores. Don’t forget to use old clothes, sheets or blankets as well. With so many options, it’s like being a kid in a candy store!
*Other Random Things You May Someday Need:
-Notions (Elastic, Buttons, Lace, etc)
-Extra Pressor Feet (i.e. walking foot, button foot, buttonhole foot, etc)
*Other OPTIONAL Things to Kick Your Sewing Up A Notch When You Are Feeling Brave:
If there’s anything I left off, please let me know!