Are you new to sewing and need to know where to start? Or are you looking for more items to up your sewing game? This list is for you.
Below is a compilation of sewing notions that are necessary and some that are nice to have. You don't need to break the bank when you're just starting out. You will need a sewing machine of course, but there is a large handful of other items you're going to want as well.
These are the tools you need to sew all the magical things. Cue sparkly unicorn music.
"It's not sewing unless you use the seam ripper"
The almighty seam ripper is a tool I reach for constantly. Sad, but true. So, get yourself an affordable one that you love. You'll be using is a lot.
There are so many options to choose from when searching for a sewing machine. Some of my friends bought the $99 Singer on a Black Friday deal. You can find used ones on sites like OfferUp. I wouldn't go that route unless you have experience or a friend/ family member who can check the machine out for you. They might be missing parts or are broken. A trip to the shop costs upwards of $100. Big box stores, Amazon, and other online stores sell sewing machines.
I prefer Brother machines. I've had lots of luck with the ones I've purchased and you get a lot of bang for your buck. Most have automatic threaders, speed control, drop in bobbin and thread cutters. They cost a tad over the black Friday deal machines, but you get a few more bells and whistles.
The serger is used for finishing seams and sewing knit fabrics.
You do not need this. If you find that you love sewing, then this could be a future purchase option. The zigzag stitch on any sewing machine works for knits and most machines have a zigzag stitch.
These are some of the tools you'll want to invest in. Some items are fun extras while others are a necessity.
Clockwise from the top:
1. Pin cushion. You can make one by cutting a piece of fabric and closing the open end with a rubber band. Fill it with flaxseed or rice and it'll work for years. You can also buy the classic tomato at your local craft store too.
2. Pencil, chalk marker, and air soluble pen. You need something to write with on paper and draw patterns with. I prefer a pencil so I can erase the marks easily. You also need something to write on fabric with. Air soluble pens have ink that disappears after awhile or with heat. Chalk markers are a fave. Always reliable, they don't dry out, and a little water washes the markings away. Win-win!
3. Rotary cutter and mat. These fall into the "nice to have" category. These give a straight cut line and work hand in hand with a ruler. It's a pizza cutter for fabric. The self healing mat goes under the fabric and the rotary cutter cuts through the fabric into the mat. You do not need one of these, but they make life wonderful. :)
4. Clear grid ruler. This is another "nice to have" item. I'm not a quilter, but I use my clear ruler for everything. It's wide, long, and has grid lines. Great for making square or rectangles. Think skirts, bags, wallet, scarves, pillows, curtains, kids pants, etc. You can get one at the craft store, or in the office section at big box stores.
5. Thread. So many colors to choose from. Is there really a difference? Yes. You can sew most things with polyester thread. Cotton thread is used mostly for quilting, and silk thread is used for specialty items. If you plan on making a bowl cozy, for instance, you'll need cotton thread. Polyester can burn in the microwave. You can purchase large spools in black and white and smaller sized spools in colors you love.
6. Pinking shears. These are old school, seam finishing shears. Think back to when you were a kid and had those fancy scissors that cut your paper with a scallop edge. These do that, but in a zigzag pattern. You can find these at a craft store. They cut the fabric in a way that keeps the raw edges from fraying.
7. Seam gauge. This fancy little ruler isn't a necessity at all. Many garment sewists love a seam gauge because it helps create a perfect hem. It has a fancy little blue slider that stays in place when your measure.
8. Bobbins. This is the small circle that holds the thread under the needle. Some are clear plastic and some are metal. They come in a few different sizes too. Your machine comes with one or two. Check your manual for sizing info and learn how to wind your bobbin. You will use the same thread on top and the bottom.
9. Chopsticks. No, not the song you learned to play on the piano as a kid. This is for turning tubes and poking out corners. They sell point turners at craft stores, but I love my chopstick. A pencil works too, think anything with a blunt end. Do not use scissors to poke out a corner, you will cut through the fabric. I know these things, because I've done these things. LOL! Get yourself a chopstick.
10. Scissors. A favorite notion. Gimme all the scissors. You want a pair ONLY for fabric. Mark them, draw on them, tie a ribbon around the handle, attach them to your soul, do whatever you need to, to protect these beauties. Do not use them on paper patterns, ever. Buy a separate pair for cutting paper. Paper dulls scissors faster than anything. A small pair for clipping threads and making notches is nice (In the above photo, the pair near #5 is a pair of thread snips) but, not a necessity. Again, find all these at the craft store or big box store in the craft section.
11. Pins and clips. Pins are a necessity for keeping fabric pieces together. There are multiple types of pins as well. Match your pins with your fabric. You can also use clips. They sell cute little ones or just use binder clips. They all do the same job. These bad boys are great for holding slippery fabric such as minky or multiple layers that pins can't poke through. Fabrics like oilcloth, leather, and vinyl can't be pinned because pins leave permanent holes.
These are other items you'll need. Sewing magical things is fun and having all the gadgets and gismos makes things easier.
And don't forget the best part of sewing!! The fabric. All the fabric. The glorious, beautiful, colorful, soft fabric that brings joy to your world. The fabric store is where you can spend hours looking through everything. It's an adult candy store and you have to touch everything.
Oh and there are so many different types of fabric. Quilting cotton is fun and bright. There are so many novelty prints to choose from. The baking, flamingoes, and trailer fabric pictured are quilting cottons. They make great bags, pillows, and headscarves but aren't great for garments. They are usually 100% cotton and have zero stretch. You can make gathered skirts with them though. Woohoo!!
The green and white polka dot is poplin and can be used as a garment fabric because it has stretch. It'll make a fun St. Patricks Day shirt.
The black tiny floral fabric is rayon challis and is a garment fabric. The Rita Blouse was made with it. Check out thatpost here.
What are you favorite sewing gadgets? Or your lease favorite? Tell me in the comments below.
Thanks for popping by and happy sewing!
Hi there, I'm Annette and I love eating and sewing. I usually have a cup of coffee or tea with me, but not next to my machine because I'd probably spill it. I am the reason we can't have nice things.
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