11 Sewing Tools You Need to have to Get Started with Sewing

by Leanna Levine | Last Updated: March 1, 2017

If you look on Amazon or JoAnn Fabrics websites you’ll see zillions of sewing gadgets. Do you need all those to get started? No! It’s fun to collect them as you get more and more into sewing, but to start with, all you need are these few basics besides your sewing machine.

1. Iron and Ironing board



Just as important as your sewing machine, these tools make your projects crisp and precise. Ironing your seams after you finish sewing them, make a huge difference in the quality of your work.

Measuring Tools

“Measure twice, cut once,” as the old saying goes. You need to have some tools to make sure you cut your fabric to the right sizes.

2. Ruler



The best kind of ruler for sewing is clear so you can see your fabric through it. A handy and versatile size is 6 inches wide by 24 inches long. This will serve you well for just about all types of projects.

3. Measuring Tape:


Whether it’s a cloth or plastic tape it will come wound in a coil and is usually five feet long. You need this especially when you sew garments because it’s flexible enough to be wrapped around a person to make sure the clothing will fit.

4. Seam Gauge:


This small tool helps you make sure your hems are even and seams are consistent.

5. Marking Tools:


There are several options for marking your fabric, but you want to make sure those marks are not permanent.

So don’t use a pen made for paper.

Sewing tools for marking are made of chalk or washable ink so you can use the marks to properly line up pattern pieces and then get rid of them after your project is sewn.

Make sure to get both a light and dark color to show up on dark or light fabrics.

Cutting Tools

It’s kind of funny that we cut fabric up just to sew it back together again, but it’s true. Sewing involves a lot of cutting and there are lots of different tools to accomplish this.

6. Sewing Scissors:


Every seamstress will tell you, keep one pair of scissors for fabric only. If you live with other people, make sure to write “fabric only” on the handle of your sewing scissors with a permanent marker. There’s nothing so maddening as trying to cut fabric with scissors that have been ruthlessly dulled by somebody chopping paper with them!

7. Pinking Shears:


This handy little type of scissors makes finishing seams a breeze. It’s the easiest method to solve a perplexing problem. Many kinds of fabric, especially quilting cotton, will fray on the cut edges if you don’t do something about that. Pinking shears cut in a zig-zag pattern, which makes the fibers short on the tiny zigs and zags and prevents your seams from unravelling.

8. Thread Scissors:


Keep a pair of tiny scissors around to cut your thread. If you cut it with your large sewing scissors you might accidentally nip your fabric where you don’t want to. These little guys are always getting misplaced too, so it’s a good idea to tie a length of ribbon to the handle and hang them around your neck like a necklace. That way they’re always right where you need them.

9. Pins and Pin Cushion:


You may think you can get away with holding your fabric together with your fingers as you sew, and OK, that can work for really short seams. But your fabric will creep up on longer seams and you’ll end up with the ends a long way from matching up. So to solve this, use pins to hold your fabric perfectly in place. And keeping your pins in a pin cushion will keep them from falling all over the floor. Your feet will thank you for that!

10. Hand Sewing Needles:


As much fun as it is to use your sewing machine for everything, there are still some things only a good ol’ fashioned needle and thread can do best, like sewing on a button or whipstitching a casing closed.

11. Seam Ripper:


Don’t feel bad when you make a mistake. It happens to us all whether we’re beginners or advanced seamstresses. Have a seam ripper handy before it happens, so you can solve the problem quickly and move on.

So now that you have your basic toolbox full and ready to go, you’re all set to make something lovely!