Essential Sewing Kit

Essential Sewing Kit

When you’re new to sewing, it can be difficult to know exactly what you need. There’s so much stuff out there and some people might tell you that you need it all!

In my opinion, less is more. It’s much better to have a few, essential things that you use all the time than boxes of stuff that you never use. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get started!

The list is divided into essential items and nice to haves. It’s all stuff that I use regularly. I’ve included links to all the items on Amazon. These and the other links are affiliate links.


A decent pair of scissors. I would say that this is even more important than a sewing machine. I use Fiskars dressmaking scissors and they cut through fabric like a hot knife through butter.

A sewing machine. It’s worth getting a good quality machine, especially if you’re going to use it a lot. I have a Silver Viscount 8000E which I can’t rate highly enough.

If you’re buying a sewing machine, things to consider include: straight and zigzag stitches, a special stitch for sewing with knits, overcasting, ease of threading, ease of accessing the bobbin, button hole capabilities and accessories, such as a zip foot.

Hobbycraft have a decent but not overwhelming selection, including several at the budget end of things. Otherwise you could on look Ebay, or there are places that sell reconditioned machines.

A tape measure. A plastic one is best as fabric tape measures sometimes stretch over time. Look for one that has metal protectors at the ends as these will help to prolong the life of your tape measure.

Pins. They need to be nice and sharp, otherwise they will snag the fabric. I prefer pins with a bobble on the end. Glass headed pins are better than the sort with a plastic bobble as the plastic melts if you accidentally run over them with the iron!

Needles. These are essential for any little bits of hand sewing that you need to do to finish your project, and for tacking.

Good quality thread. Poor thread can cause problems, from snapping thread and puckering fabric to bent needles and a damaged sewing machine. I use Gutermann or Mettler thread and avoid the cheap stuff completely. It’s not worth risking damage to my sewing machine.

Spare sewing machine needles. Needles need replacing every so often and if it breaks at midnight, or on Sunday afternoon, you’ll want to have a spare!

A zip foot. I would not recommend having dozens of sewing machine feet, but a zip foot is very useful. Not just for sewing zips, but also for getting in close where it would be tricky with an ordinary foot.

An unpicker. It makes rectifying mistakes much quicker and easier than if you use scissors, and you’ll be less likely to accidentally gouge a hole in your fabric. I have several unpickers!

Iron and an ironing board. I joke that I only iron if I’m making something as I haven’t done any normal ironing in years! It can be tempting to skip the pressing stage, but it makes a huge difference to the finish if you press seams as you go.

Nice to Have

A rotary cutter and a cutting mat. Cutting out pattern pieces is much quicker this way, especially if you use pattern weights instead of pins.

A dress form. If you make clothes for yourself, a dress form makes things a lot easier. An adjustable one is best but they can be pricey. The fixed ones are cheaper, but you’ll have to check that its measurements are the same as yours. If not, you can add some padding or carve bits off with a bread knife :).

Extra bobbins. It’s much better to have a bobbin for each colour, than to have different coloured threads wound onto just a couple of bobbins.

A sharp pair of smaller scissors for trimming threads.

Pattern paper. You could use greaseproof paper, but pattern paper is easier to use and it comes in bigger sheets. You can get pattern paper that has dots or squares on it, which is useful. Swedish pattern paper costs more but it has the advantage that you can sew it.

A French curve. This is a nice to have if you like to draft your own pattern pieces.It’s especially useful for drawing curves of armholes and necklines.

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