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Essential Sewing Tools

Here are some tools that we find essential for sewing success!

Sharp Sewing Scissors

Get yourself a good pair of scissors and reserve them only to cut fabric. Even cutting paper will dull the scissors over time. The scissors should be sharp all the way to the tip. The bent handle is designed to keep fabric flat as you cut. 

Sewing Ruler

We love these see-through sewing rulers. It allows you to position and mark your fabric accurately. It's printed with a 1/8-inch grid, so you can measure both width and length.

Seam Ripper

Mistakes happen! Use a seam ripper to remove stitches. This makes a tedious task go much quicker.  However still let those around you know if they see a seam ripper, now is not a good time. 

Iron & Pressing Cloth

A good iron is almost as essential as a sewing machine. Before you cut your fabric ensure your fabric is wrinkle-free for accurate measurements. You also need an iron to press hems, seams, darts, and much more. Always press your fabric according to the care instructions. 

You may also find it necessary to use a pressing cloth to prevent scorching your fabric. If you don't have one a piece of muslin will do. Iron and press on the wrong side of the fabric when possible too. 

Sewing Machine Needles

Sewing machine needles will break occasionally so have some sewing machine needles handy. You should change your needle after 8 hours of sewing. You should be aware that there are different needles needed for different types of fabrics. Generally, woven fabric will use a universal sewing needle and knit fabric will use a stretch, jersey, or ballpoint needle. Schmetz Needles are a solid quality choice. 

Universal

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Jersey Ballpoint

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Hand Sewing Needles

You may occasionally still need some manual sewing needles. If you have a basic sewing kit, then you probably already have these in the kit. 

Sewing Pins

We prefer the long pins with a ball head because they are easy to see and handle. 

Sewing Clips

Once we made the switch to using sewing clips we never turned back! You still need pins in some cases, but overall you will find these are more efficient way of holding multiple layers of fabric securely in place. 

DIY Hem Guide

This handy tool is my go-to for a straight hem! Get a piece of cardstock or manilla folder. Add lines for common hem lengths such as 1/2", 5/8" & 1". Fold the fabric over the edge and iron right on top of the cardstock. 

Other Helpful Tools

As you get more proficient in sewing, you may want to get other tools and equipment such as the following optional items.

Fabric Rotary Cutter & Cutting Mat

Make more precise cuts using a rotary cutter with a cutting mat. I have found that OLFA brand is high quality. In addition, I prefer the cutter with the safety lock as seen here. Always cut away from yourself and be careful with these handy tools. 

Small Scissors

Small scissors with a sharp point are great for snipping threads and making clips into fabric. 

Medical Exam Table Paper for Tracing Patterns

You can preserve the original pattern by tracing it onto another paper. I recommend using medical exam paper. Yes, that is the paper they roll out at the doctor office at the exam table. This type of paper is just the right balance of durability and transparency, making it ideal for pattern tracing. Aim for the widest roll you can find to accommodate large pattern pieces without issue.

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More tools:

  • Measuring tape for body measurements - If you don't have one handy, then use a non-stretchy string or piece of fabric and then measure it against a ruler.

  • Pin Cushion

  • Sewing Gauge - this ruler has a slider for marking hems, alterations and checking seam allowances.

  • Fabric markers - make marks in your fabric and it will disappear with a little water

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