10 Essential Sewing Supplies for Beginners - How to Sew 101

Sewphilia Studio
by Sewphilia Studio
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In this tutorial, I will share with you the top 10 essential sewing tools for beginners. If you’re just starting out in the sewing scene and don’t know what to get, I have a list of the basic tools you’ll need to build up your sewing toolbox from scratch. Ready? Let’s begin!

Tools and materials:

  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Measuring tape
  • Seam ripper
  • Snips
  • Bobbins
  • Sewing needles
  • Thread
  • Markers
  • Pins
Neutral colored thread

1. Thread

Alright, let’s start with threads. I suggest going for neutral-colored threads such as black, white, brown, navy blue, and grey. These are the basic colors anyone needs. You don’t have to go out and buy all the rainbow colors. Trust me, most of the time, you’ll only need black or white thread, anyway. 

Marking tool for sewing

2. Marking tool

You need chalk or marker to mark your fabric. I’m holding up a set of pencils that come in different colors. However, you can get any tool for marking, such as chalk or fabric markers. 

Bobbins for the sewing machine

3. Bobbins

Next up, you’ll need a set of bobbins. Sewing machines usually come with four bobbins, but I recommend more. A good tip for sewing faster and more effectively is having several bobbins winded up with thread. This way, you won’t need to take out the bobbin, wind it, and put it back every time it’s finished. Also, be mindful of what bobbins you need; some sewing machines take only metal or plastic bobbins. I find that metal ones are more effective as plastic ones break easily. 

Sewing pins are essential

4. Pins

Pins are another essential for any sewing enthusiast. I got glass head pins because the ones with the pearls actually melt when you iron fabric together with the pin. With glass-head pins, you can iron your fabric while it’s pinned, and nothing will melt. This is why I highly recommend these. 

Solid metal shears for sewing

5. Scissors

For cutting fabric, go for solid metal shears that last a long time. Mine was quite pricey, but it’s really worth it as they’re easier to sharpen, unlike the plastic ones. The second set of scissors you’ll need is for cutting paper patterns. Also, don’t use your fabric scissors to cut paper; it will blunt your scissors quicker!  

Seam ripper

Snips for sewing

6. Seam ripper & snips

Another beginner must-have is a seam ripper. No matter how professional or how long you’ve been sewing, you’ll find yourself reaching out for one of these. Also, snips are essential and are always on my table while sewing. These are good for snipping threads while you sew. 

Measuring tape for sewing

7. Measuring tape

Taking measurements is super important; otherwise, your project may not turn out well. Ensure you buy a measuring tape that has both centimeters and inches. Like this, you’ll have both if you ever need them. I like measuring in inches because that’s what I’m used to, but it’s still handy to have both. A standard measuring tape comes in 60 inches, and that should suffice. 

Sewing machine needles

8. Sewing machine needles 

You’ll need a bunch of sewing machine needles in different sizes and types. Here, I have ballpoint needles that are good for stretchy fabric. Also, I have size 14 needles that are generally good for medium to lightweight fabric. This is what I usually sew with. If you use more delicate, lightweight fabric, then a size 8 needle will work. Or, when it comes to heavy-weight fabric, like denim, then size 18 will be the best. 

Long ruler for beginner sewing

9. Long ruler

Long sturdy rulers are another must-have. Back in South Africa, I had a metallic ruler (which I prefer), and the one pictured above is wooden. You’ll definitely need this when cutting your fabrics or adjusting your patterns. 

French curve ruler for sewing

10. French curve 

Usually, if you’re into pattern making, you’ll need a French curve to draft your armhole, hips, and other curves. 

Essential sewing supplies for beginners

So, these are all the items I got to sew from scratch! These are really the ultimate essentials you’ll need as a beginner.

Of course, if your design requires elastic buttons, zippers, and clips, you’ll need to get those. However, what I've shown you are things you can sew without fasteners. I hope you found this tutorial useful, and good luck!

If you're an experienced seamstress, let me know your top sewing essentials in the comments below.

Suggested materials:
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Measuring tape
See all materials

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