The Most Important Sewing Supplies For Beginners

The Best Sewing Supplies for Beginners

So yes, when it comes to sewing I am still a total beginner! I started researching, gathering supplies, and learning as much as I could about sewing over the last 3 years. Like most of you, life gets in the way and I did not spend every day perfecting this craft, but I was excited when I did find time to work on it. There is still so much to learn, but I know I can help you get started as well. Whether you are a total newbie or you just need a little refresher, these upcoming posts are perfect for you!  I will be sharing new tips, tutorials, projects, patterns, etc. Today is all about the most important sewing supplies for beginners. It is so exciting to have you right here with me as we learn to sew together!

I wanted to start with the ESSENTIALS. The supplies that every beginner sewer should have to get started.  These are items that I have and use EVERY time I sew something. They will be needed for most of the projects I share with you.

Don’t worry, you have plenty of options and you DO NOT need to buy everything right away! Your tools can accumulate over time. Purchase what you need for a particular project you want to complete. Also, keep your eyes open for coupons and promo codes! There are a lot of great deals at places like Jo Anne Fabric,, Hobby Lobby, etc.  Some stores will even match competitor’s coupons.

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The Essentials

  1. Sewing Machine & Needles
  2. Thread
  3. Bobbins
  4. Measuring Tape
  5. Scissors
  6. Seam Ripper
  7. Straight Pins
  8. Iron/ Ironing Board

Some Say These Are Not Essential, But I Cannot Live Without Them!

  1. Rotary Cutter
  2. Self-Healing Cutting Mat
  3. Acrylic Fabric Ruler
  4. Fabric Pen/Pencil
  5. Seam Gauge

Great Stuff! Hold Off On Purchasing Right Away, But Remember for Later!

There are so many things to put here! I think this section will be a work in progress. Just be ready because I will have a separate post on these amazing notions when we start needing them as well.

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1. Sewing Machine/Needles

Of course, this would be #1.  Unless you have the option of borrowing a sewing machine, you are obviously going to need to purchase one.  I received mine as a gift. It is the one pictured here.  I do not have a lot of experience with different brands, but I have had zero issues with this one.  It probably has more bells and whistles than I need right now, however; there were so many detailed resources that made it very easy to learn how to sew on it. This sewing machine is very reasonably priced, super simple to use, and looks cute as well.  I would highly recommend it.  Do not forget to check out the manual for appropriate needles to use with the machine. Click on the image below to learn more.


2. Thread

Different threads are created for different purposes. Your finished product will look better if you match your thread to the task you are trying to complete. You are also going to want to have different colored threads to match the projects you want to complete. Do not use vintage thread or discounted “buy in bulk” thread because often times they are not very strong and can break easily. I wouldn’t throw that vintage thread away! I would totally use it for decorations. Can’t you just see them in a big, beautiful glass jar?

To get started, I suggest you look for a thread that is labeled “all-purpose”, “cotton covered polyester” or “poly covered poly”. This is your all-purpose thread and will be perfect for most projects. I will write more about the different types in a later post. For now, just make sure you have at least white and any other colors that will match the fabrics you plan on using for your projects. Matching your thread to your fabrics will make your finished projects look so much nicer! Below  are my favorite brands:








3. Bobbins

Your machine will most likely have a few bobbins included when you purchase it.  I suggest buying extra and winding your bobbins with the different colored thread you have in your collection ahead of time.  This makes getting started on your projects even easier! Let nothing stand in your way! You will not like having to stop to wind your bobbin with the appropriate color thread!  Check your sewing machine manual or take one of the bobbins from your sewing machine with you to the store. You do not want to use the wrong ones in your machine! These are the bobbins I use with my machine.


 4. Measuring Tape

A flexible measuring tape is such an inexpensive, yet important tool that makes it easy to measure both straight and curved surfaces. Having more than one is great because you can keep one in your purse/bag and use it when you are out shopping.

Here is the one I have and use all the time!

5. Scissors

I will probably need a whole separate post for all things having to do with scissors.  Really, I have learned a lot! I have a few, but what I think you absolutely need to start sewing is a great pair of stainless steel shears that will cut through all types of fabric with ease. Why stainless steel? Because you can sharpen them and they will last SO much longer than other scissors.   Gingher 8-Inch Knife Edge Dressmaker’s Shears seems to be one of THE absolute best (and more expensive) shears.  A lot of people really like  Mundial Classic Forged 8-Inch Dressmaker Shears with Safety Sheath as they hold up very well.  I haven’t had any problems with my Fiskars like the ones below. It is best to spend a little extra on a good pair.


6. Seam Ripper

At first, I was so sad to have to use it, but it truly is a lifesaver. We all make mistakes so isn’t it wonderful we can fix them very easily? Just use this handy little helper to remove those stitches without tearing the fabric and start again. There is no shame in that game! We all make mistakes and no one will ever know once your project is finished. Yay! There is nothing fancy about mine.  I have heard very good things about the Clover brand. They seem to be sharper, but I also read that a seam ripper that is a little dull will save beginners because they will have more control and it will stop them from slicing through the fabric by accident.

*Helpful hint: slide the seam ripper under every third stitch and cut with the blade. Then you just need to pull the thread out of the fabric.


7. Straight Pins

You WILL need these when you’re just starting out. They will hold your pieces of fabric in place before sewing them. Look for 1 1/2 – 2″ pins. I personally like using the colored ball head pins because they are easy to see and simple to use.  Do not forget the Pin Cushion! Here is what I have in my stash!



8. Iron/Ironing Board

I am going to assume that you already have these, but it’s important to keep them close to your workstation because you will use them often! They are needed to make perfectly finished products. If by chance you do not have an iron or ironing board… this is similar to what I have at home.



Some Say These Are Not Essential, But I Cannot Live Without Them!

The first three items on this list go hand and hand (and hand)! I honestly do not know what I would do without any of them! It helps me cut my fabric straight and accurately! SO… if you are serious about sewing and you want accuracy, then look for those coupons and add these items to your list! I use them EVERY time I cut fabric for my sewing projects.

1. Rotary Cutter

This is a lifesaver when it comes to cutting straight lines. You can even cut through multiple layers of fabric with the right one. Keep in mind: you will need a Self Healing Cutting Mat in order to use your rotary cutter. Also, to get those accurate, straight lines you will absolutely need a clear, acrylic ruler! I think if I had the opportunity to choose again, I would pick a different one.  The first picture is the one I have.  It has worked fine, but I wish it was sharper.  I almost always need to go through the fabric again to make sure it cut all the way across the fabric. This sometimes leaves my fabric uneven.  I may need to look for a replacement blade or maybe a new one altogether. The other rotary cutters are ones that I researched to be the best of the best!



2. Self-Healing Cutting Mat

Like I said before you need this mat if you are using a rotary cutter. When buying a mat, try and get one at least 18″ x 24″. That is what I have. Although, I would totally get a bigger one if I had the room.  It comes in handy for not only cutting but for measuring fabric as well.   I like that the grid is easy to read. I measure all my fabric with this and the acrylic ruler.  Add this to your list!



3. Acrylic Fabric Ruler

A clear acrylic ruler is a must and again makes measuring fabric a breeze! It will also help you cut strips, shapes, and bias pieces, eventually! I have two, the one in the photo to the left and a bigger one. I think having one as long as your cutting mat is ideal. So my go-to ruler is 24-1/2-inch by 6-1/2-inches and has grid lines 1″ apart with markings at 1/8″ (same as my mat).  This size ruler will give a nice clean straight cut.  The one I have seems to be a little more expensive so I will include mine and a few others to check out.





4.Fabric Pen or Pencil

I have both a pen and pencil. Not sure which I like more, but check to make sure they are safe for the fabric you are using! The pens are great for transferring pattern markings. I have a dual purpose marking pen. It comes in 2 colors; the blue comes off with a damp cloth or when you wash it; the purple disappears on its own after about 10 minutes. The white pencil came in a kit I purchased. It includes two fabric marking pencils that are water soluble (a white and a blue) and a 120-inch tape measure (which I use all the time). Check out these items below!


5. Sewing Gauge

This tiny tool can be very helpful. it has a sliding tab that helps measure smaller things.  I use it mostly for an accurate measure of seam allowances (and then I use my fabric pen to mark it).  It can also be used to measure hems,  the space between buttonholes, adjust patterns, measure pleats, and draw circles. These are inexpensive so it wouldn’t hurt to have one.  This is also how I finished my burp cloths.  Check out the tutorial here!

Great Stuff! Hold Off On Purchasing Right Away, But Remember for Later!

Don’t forget to check back because there are many things to add to this section! Let’s consider it a work in progress!

I hope this post helps you with some of your purchasing decisions. I cannot wait to create SEW many wonderful things right here with you!

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Disclosure: Keep in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a small commission. I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The choice is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

The Best Sewing Supplies for Beginners

51 thoughts on “The Most Important Sewing Supplies For Beginners

  1. I needed this list a year ago when I decided to tackle a new sewing project with my sewing machine that had been sitting in the box for at least 7 years without being touched! This is a wonderful reference point for those of us that are still in the process of learning how to sew.

  2. I love these tips! I just recently got into sewing and some of these items are SO HELPFUL and I also see items that I don’t have that I will now grab 🙂

  3. This is a great list. It makes me want to break out my sewing machine that’s collecting dust in the basement. I’ve had it forever but have no idea where too start with it.

  4. I want to learn to sew again someday, but all of these items remind me of my mom. She used to sew alot and had all of the things you showed (some the same style too!) Thanks for a trip down memory lane!

  5. Wow! This is a very impressive post. I haven’t sewn since my school days but this write up brought back some fond memories. Thanks for taking the time to put such an informative post together. Keep the great work up.

  6. Thank you for this. For the longest time I have wanted to learn how to sew. I wish I could so I could shorten the length of many things that run too long for me. I will save this post for when the time comes 😀

  7. I’ve been thinking about learning how to sew. This post has seriously motivated me to buy a machine and this shopping list will come in handy. Thanks for sharing

  8. I am right along with those who have dust gathering on their sewing machine in a basement. I find it so daunting. My daughter just turned seven and considers herself a fashionista. I’d like to start sewing again and get her into it. Looking forward to future posts.

  9. Hi! Do you mostly quilt or make clothes? I really want to sew clothing, and my mother who primarily quilts said I wouldn’t ever really need a self-healing mat / rotary cutter because there just aren’t that many straight lines. Any thoughts?

    1. I am still pretty new and learning a lot. I am most interested in clothes as well, but I also like making things for the home (i.e. tablecloths). Your mom is probably right. They may not be necessary for you if you are most interested in making clothes. Honestly, I use my mat for measuring a lot. So my mat is always out when I am sewing.

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