So you want to start sewing. Maybe you’re hoping to be able to hem pants and make a few curtains, maybe you have dreams of Project Runway, or maybe you’re not sure yet what you want to do, but you know you want to give it a try. No matter what the reason, I’m excited for you! Sewing is both a fun and useful hobby and skill. The possibilities are really limitless.
The things you can buy to support you in your skill also seem to be limitless. But how much do you really need? Today I’m going to tell you the five things I think are absolutely essential to get started. We’re talking minimal, but crucial supplies. Ready, set, go!
1. A sewing machine that you are comfortable working with
This is first on the list because it is obviously a no-brainer. You need a sewing machine (as well as the accompanying accessories). You don’t necessarily need to own a machine, but you should have easy access to one. But just as important as the machine itself is your comfort with it. You need a machine that you know how to use and with which you are comfortable.
Here’s the thing: fear kills sewing. I could have learned to sew years ago, but I was too afraid! My mom’s machine confused and frustrated me, so I gave up time and time again. Once I got to know her machine a little better, things got easier, but my sewing really took off once I got my own machine. The difference was that I had the owner’s manual to my machine (because I bought it new) and I had customer support as well. I know my machine really well now and if there’s something I don’t know, I know where I can get the answers. I’m not afraid of it and I’m comfortable using it, therefore I do use it. I’m not saying you need to run out and buy a machine right this second. Just make sure that you have a good working relationship with whatever machine you do use.
2. Straight Pins
You’ll be using pins constantly. Seriously, all the time. Pins are how you hold fabric together before you sew it, so they are essential. I’ve actually gone through a couple sets of pins already because I sew so often that my pins actually get dull relatively quickly. Recently I finally sprung for the box of 300 pins and so that should last me for a while. Also, you should have a place to put your pins when you aren’t using them. I have this magnetic holder and I love it. It makes it simple to pick pins up and there’s a place to store pins that you aren’t using on the bottom. Very practical.
3. A good pair of fabric-only scissors
Scissors are crucial and the better your scissors are, the happier you’ll be. I’m not making this up. Now, if you’re not sure how much you’ll actually be sewing, you don’t need to invest in a fancy pair of scissors right away. You can get by with a cheaper pair of scissors, but is best if you get a pair of scissors that you use specifically for sewing. Scissors get dull quickly when you use them to cut other things like paper. And wire. Not that I know about cutting wire with scissors or anything. And believe me, trying to cut fabric with dull scissors is really aggravating.
If you’re ready to invest in a good pair of scissors, go for the Gingher brand. I got mine with a 50% off coupon and I haven’t looked back. They are awesome—cutting fabric becomes like cutting butter with a hot knife. I’ve had mine for about a year and a half now and I got them professionally sharpened today. It made me weirdly happy. I know, I’m a total dork.
4. A seam-ripper
I know you’re probably hoping you really won’t need this that much, but you will. Pay the extra few bucks and get a decent one.
5. Measuring tapes
The good news is that these are super-cheap. I got mine for $0.99 at JoAnn’s, where they are labeled, “Fun Tape,” so that’s what I call them. And I own about five of them because they are constantly getting lost. Meaning my kids like playing with them and take them all over the house. In any case, sewing requires lots of measuring and so you’ll need something to do the measuring with. And no, you don’t want to use your husband’s measuring tape!
And that’s it! The very basics to get you started on your sewing journey. There are lots of other fun and exciting tools that will make your life easier and I’ll be sharing those with you, too. But if you’re just getting started and are feeling a little overwhelmed by all the fancy gadgets, just stick with these basics to begin with.