Anyone who has ever been in a fabric store knows that there are aisles and aisles of notions, tools, and supplies. It can be a bit overwhelming to navigate through it all to figure out what is necessary and what isn't. At the beginning of my sewing classes, I give each student a list of basic sewing supplies that they'll need. I love love love doing this because it reminds me of elementary school supply lists and going to pick out new crayons and pencils. Who doesn't enjoy picking out new supplies?
Anyway, the things I recommend for class are just a nice basic set of sewing tools that are really everything you NEED (in addition to a sewing machine!) as a beginning "sew-ist,"so I thought I'd share it with you today. Of course, as you learn more and discover what kind of things you like to sew, you can add to your arsenal of supplies accordingly.
Fabric Scissors or Dressmaker's Shears- Invest in a good pair of fabric scissors and protect them at all costs! Only use them on fabric, because paper will dull the blades so that they won't cut fabric any more. It's a good idea to buy fabric scissors that are a different color than other scissors in your house. David kindly remembers not to use any scissors with blue handles. If you have kids, you'll probably need a good hiding spot.
Hand Sewing Needles- Some projects require a bit of hand sewing to finish up. These are also useful to have for sewing on buttons and adding special details to your work.
Basic White Thread-It's always good to have. You'll accumulate different colored threads from projects, but white almost always works in a pinch.
Fabric Marker or Pencil- These special markers have ink that disappears with water. I use one all the time for drafting directly on fabric.
Hem Gauge- This is essentially just a small ruler, but it's used to create even hems. It's really convenient for sewing clothes and I use it on almost every project to make sure my edges are nice and straight. I like mine because you can mark your hem width for easy reference.
Measuring Tape- A must have for making clothes...It also makes you feel very professional when you hang it around your neck.
Seam Ripper- Oh how you will use the seam ripper. It's the eraser for all of your sewing mistakes. I hate to use it, but I'm so glad I have it.
Ball Head Pins and Pin Cushion- I like long pins, like these, because they're easy to grab quickly as I'm sewing.
Small Scissors- Having another set of small scissors will make your life easier. Keep these beside your sewing machine to clip all of those dang threads! Often you can buy fabric scissors and these small detail scissors as a set.
In addition to those tools, the only other essential is a good iron. If you haven't done much sewing before, you may be surprised to learn that there is A LOT of ironing involved! The iron is used to "glue" fabric together before you sew and to finish seams to make a project look crisp and finished, among other things. Don't worry... it's not like ironing laundry. Promise.
::Not Necessities, But Really Nice to Have::
If you do a good bit of sewing, I highly recommend investing in a rotary cutter, ruler, and self healing mat. I didn't have one for a very long time and then my mom got me one for Christmas a few years ago. I can never go back! These can be a bit expensive, but they regularly go on sale at JoAnn's or it would be a good use of your 50% off coupon.
The Purl Bee has a great tutorial for using a rotary cutter HERE.
If you are just starting out sewing and have the basic supplies I've mentioned here (and even a few more) a cute sewing basket may be perfect for you.
But friends, for serious sewing tool storage, you simply can not beat the fishing tackle box. Trust me.
The compartments are just the right size, everything is visible- no digging around and getting stabbed with pins, and it closes up tight to be perfectly portable with no spilling.
My love for tackle box organization runs deep. When I was a little tot I stored all of my art supplies in a tackle box that my dad gave me. Evidently I'm not the only one who knows its merits, because the same company who makes fishing tackle boxes sells the same box (only it's purple) at craft stores for this very purpose!
What it lacks in looks it makes up for in practicality.
Like a mini-van.
Hope this list is helpful in your sewing!