Essential Beginner Sewing Tools

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Are you just starting to sew and are wondering what essential sewing tools and equipment in sewing you really need? Are you getting confused over some of the sewing tools names or wondering which are the best tools in sewing to choose if you are a beginner? Well here are the best ideas of sewing tools and notions that you should have as a beginner.

Essential Beginner Sewing Tools 

It can be very easy to get carried away buying a whole load of fancy sewing equipment and tools when you first start sewing. But before you outlay a load of money buying expensive sewing materials and sewing supplies, read this guide to the essential sewing tools that you really cannot do without.

Whether you plan to be using a sewing machine, hand sewing or embroidering, these sewing tools and materials will be the most commonly used and thus most cost effective items in your sewing kit.

There really is no need to go out and buy all the most expensive professional sewing tools, sewing notions  and cutting tools in sewing. Just knowing a few basic sewing tools and their uses will suffice.

Good Fabric Scissors – My Personal Essential Sewing Cutting Tools

No sewing kit would be complete without a pair or several pairs of good fabric scissors. There are a lot of different types out there but my own personal brand preference are the ones made by Fiskars. They are reasonably inexpensive, but are good quality and mine have lasted well. I have a pair of left handed fabric scissors, that are used only for fabrics.

*Don’t ever use your fabric / sewing scissors for anything else than to cut fabric as they will go blunt quicker!

sewing scissors

I also have a smaller embroidery pair for more intricate cutting, and a pair of tiny stork snips for cutting thread. And finally I use a separate pair of paper scissors for cutting out paper when pattern sewing. 

Pinking Shears

Whilst we are still on cutting tools sewing requires, the next of the basic sewing tools I would recommend you buy is pinking shears. These are a special type of fabric scissors that cut a zigzag pattern out from the fabric as you use them. They are perfect as a beginner way to finish seam allowances as when used on woven fabrics this zig zag edge prevents the fabric edges from fraying. So they are definitely one of the essentials to shop for when you start sewing.

Pinking shears

Pins and Pin Cushion

The next essential sewing tool that you need is a pin cushion and pins. When you start sewing, you will probably require lots of pins or clips to hold your pieces stable as you sew a seam for instance.

Prym Love pin cushion and pins

Initially, when you are a beginner, I would recommend a magnetic pin cushion and glass headed pins as you can iron over these pins without the heads melting! Glass headed pins win for me over regular pins every single time as I find them less fiddly. But as you get more advanced, or if you are sewing more challenging materials such as vinyl and stretch, then you may prefer clips.

Hand Sewing Needles

Next, whether you plan to use a sewing machine or not, you do need a hand sewing needle set. You will be using these for finishing items or adding trim, and for mending. I also have some curved needles as part of my kit. You may also wish to include a sewing needle threader in with these, as sometimes the eyes can be very small for the thread. I have this pretty pink bird

Once you start more advanced or specific projects such as Sashiko stitching, you may wish to invest in authentic needles to do this. But standard hand needles in multiple lengths are a great idea when starting.

Tape Measure – Essential Sewing Measuring Tools

Next, we come on to the essential measuring tools sewing requires. A good measuring tape is definitely one of those essential tools and equipment for sewing. You will need this to measure fabric, measure seam allowances and measure yourself if you wish to make garments. I have a couple, and always cart one around with me in my handbag!

Once you get past the beginning stages and have more projects in mind, you may want to progress onto more advanced seam guide instruments and rulers. But a tape measure and maybe a standard 12 inch straight ruler are great for beginners.

Seam Ripper

It is all very well having a load of stitching tools, but sometimes sadly you will find that you have made a mistake and need to remove all your stitches. And then it is important to have a seam ripper or ripping tool.

Seam rippers

Seam rippers come in all sizes, from really small fine ones to a heavy duty version. A simple one will do at first, but I bought one recently from Etsy that folds away, and also has a stiletto (used for pushing close to the needle) at the other end.


bodkin is one of those really handy dressmaking tools to have, and they aren’t very expensive. You use one for inserting drawstrings and elastic when making waistbands (such as for a simple skirt) or for making drawstring bags. So I would definitely recommend having one in your sewing room.

Marking Tools – A Way To Mark Cloth

Depending on what you are making, you may need to mark darts, pivot points or other landmarks to help you sew. So you need something too make these marks.

Cloth marking pencils / tailor's chalk

One of the tailoring tools my mum used to use was tailor’s chalk, and this is good, but you can also get pencils and pens these days that can be so much more accurate! I would advise starting with pencils, as these come in sets of colours, but I also love the heat erase marking pen sets you can find on sale.

Rotary Cutters And Board

Once you get more adept, you may wish to get some different cutting tools. I prefer scissors, but some people really love using a rotary cutter. If you do get a cutter, do be aware that you will probably need a large cutting mat to protect your table surfaces. Once you start buying more advanced items, the total price starts to add up.

Iron And Ironing Board

The one thing that people don’t tell you about sewing is that you have to be good at ironing too! It is wise to press all your stages when sewing certain projects. So on this list of basic tools for sewing and one thing I would definitely recommend is to get a really good steam iron and ironing board. I always check out the length of the cable or you may want a really swish cordless type unit. It is always good to read the reviews before making a large purchase, though an iron will have other domestic uses too.

Once you have been sewing a while, you may also wish to get other ironing aids such as tailor’s hams and mini ironing board but a standard domestic iron and board are fine for beginners.

Sewing Machine and Sewing Machine Needles

Lastly, I would recommend getting a sewing machine. A machine will always make light work of some of the general sewing jobs and is a great tool to have. New sewing machines will normally come with a small selection of sewing machine tools that may include a couple of the other tools I have mentioned above.

Which sewing machine would I recommend? See my post on how to choose a good machine.

Have You Enjoyed This Post About Essential Beginner Sewing Tools With Names And Pictures? Why Not Read Some Of My Other Sewing And Craft Posts?

I hope this has helped you choose which basic tools you need when you start to sew. I love to show you free easy sewing projects ideas that you can make. Some of these also include free sewing patterns. So why not read these other posts I have written?

I would love to hear how you get on! Let me know in the comments, or find me on social media

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And please do pin this post for later.

Sewing Tools For Beginners - guide to the most essential sewing equipment and tools you need when starting to learn to sew. Essential tools for sewing. Are you just starting to sew and are wondering what essential sewing tools and equipment in sewing you really need? Well here are the best ideas of tools for sewing that you should have as a beginner. Sewing materials. The best tools and equipment for sewing you need to start sewing. Save money and only buy these basics.

11 Replies to “Essential Beginner Sewing Tools”

  1. Dee | says:

    Everything we need!! Gonna check out your post on choosing a sewing machine. Mine is a Kenmore that’s probably 25 years old and was very finicky from the beginning. By the way, I found your post at a party and wanted to let you know that I host parties too. Won’t you drop by and linkup with me?

  2. MaryJo Materazo says:

    This is a great post! My MIL was a great seamstress and as a newlywed she gifted me many of these items. Unfortunately she is no longer with us, but I have her Bernina sewing machine in the garage just waiting for me. Learning to sew is on my list of goals, but with no time line I might add. lol. Anyway, the fabric sheers she gave me over 25 years ago are a prized possession around here and I am very protective of them. If you would like, I would love for you to share your post at our Home Imagined link party. Hope to see you there. XO- MaryJo

  3. Kim Carberry says:

    What a great list and fantastic tips.
    You have reminded me that I need some new hand sewing needles. We keep losing ours and I keep joking that we need a needle threader, my eyes are not as good as they used to be. x

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you Kim, and yes, in the last 5 years I have found a needle threader invaluable!

  4. Carol says:

    This is a great post and so informative. I took a sewing class a thousand years ago in school and was not good at all with a sewing machine. Few people sew now which is such a shame. Sewers can really be creative with fashion. #MMBC

  5. chickenruby says:

    Yep, I have all those in my sewing kit and probably use them all weekly. I always remember my mother yelling ‘not the big pair, don’t you dare cut paper with them’ when ever I asked if she had scissors I could use.
    Thanks for linking with #pocolo

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Oh yes, I remember my own mum’s fabric scissors when I was small were always put away from us after she used them!


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