Essential Sewing Tools for Beginners
I get it, shopping is fun! So naturally the first thing you want to do when you start a new hobby is go buy all the things related to said hobby before you even start. I’m not speaking from experience on that one at all…
If you aren’t able to go out and buy a bunch of sewing tools right away, that’s totally ok, because you really don’t need to! Yes, you could fill a room with fun and handy sewing tools, but many of them are unnecessary, especially when you’re just starting out.
Here’s what you need:
- Sewing Machine
This is an obvious one, but deciding what kind of machine to buy and what features to look for can be daunting. If you are looking to buy a new machine, check out my Sewing Machine Buying Guide for some tips.
You need something that, at minimum, can cut thread, but ideally easily cuts fabric. There are all kinds of scissors and many people have multiple pairs for various uses. I suggest getting one good pair of fabric scissors. Scissors that you already have at your house will work find for cutting thread but will probably struggle to cut fabric. A pair of Fiskars brand will work great for you.
3. Thread Snips
These are so quick and easy to use for cutting threads. I always use them for cutting the threads and my machine when I remove the fabric. I also use them when I’m trimming extra threads off a finished project. They are quick and easy to use and take less time than scissors. They automatically open and take very little force to cut. It may sound silly, but with a bigger project you will appreciate a tool that saves your hands from becoming cramped or tired.
4. Measuring Tape
There is a time where “eyeballing” measurements is fine, but you will need exact measurements on a regular basis. Even if you purchase one of our pre-cut kits, you will need to be able to measure for hems and bands. If you are sewing projects on your own, you will need a measuring tape for every project. If you are sewing clothing, you will need to measure yourself to choose the correct size.
Keep in mind that measuring tapes can stretch out over time and can become inaccurate. You probably have one that came with you machine but may want to consider buying a new one if yours is old. You can also use a ruler for measuring small areas.
5. Seam Ripper
If you are perfect in real life, you will sew perfectly and not need a seam ripper—for the rest of us who make mistakes, this tool is always within arm’s reach. Like the name suggests, a ream ripper is used to remove stitches that have been placed incorrectly. A very small and basic seam ripper was likely included with your machine. Over time your seam ripper will become dull. If you are finding it difficult to grab and cut threads it may be time to buy a new one.
It’s important to be able to hold your fabric in the proper place while you sew. Sewing clips are perfect for holding edges of fabric in place. I prefer them to sewing pins because they are quick to attach, easy to see so you don’t sew over them, and they can’t poke you. Save time and pokes—enough said.
7. Sewing Pins
While I prefer sewing clips over sewing pins, there are times when pins are the only option. Clips can only be used along the edge of fabric, so you need pins for attaching fabric to the middle of another piece of fabric, for example a pocket on a t-shirt.
An iron is essential for sewing. You will need it to iron fabric in place for creating binding or hems on woven fabric. You can also use it to iron fabric flat after it’s been washed before you cut it, to iron seams flat throughout a project, and for ironing finished projects to achieve a crisp look. The iron you already have should work just fine for this. If you are going to purchase an iron, look for an iron with a steam setting.
This is another obvious necessity. You can’t sew without thread. However, it is not necessary to have thread in every color. I see a lot of sewing kits with a rainbow of tiny spools of poor quality thread. I use white, cream, gray, and black for almost everything. You can acquire more colors as you go, but purchase at least standard quality of every color.
A bodkin is used to thread elastic. If you will be creating projects that require elastic, a bodkin is so super handy. It makes threading elastic quick and easy. The alternative is a safety pin. It will work and you may not mind using it. After your first time threading elastic though you may change your mind.
The Hive Makery Starter Set
I have put together all my favorite essential sewing tools into a starter set. The set includes all of the following and comes in a handmade wooden sewing box with lid:
- Thread Snips
- Sewing Pins
- Clear Sewing Clips
- Seam Ripper with Fitted Cover
- Safety Pins
- Gray, White, and Black Thread
- Measuring Tape
- Monthly Cleaning Checklist
You can learn more or purchase the Starter Set Here.