Aside from enthusiasm, a sewing machine and something to sew: you will need a few basic supplies. Some of the items listed below can be gradually acquired; others are necessary or simply handy to have. Make sewing easier by using the proper tools. This list can also be used for shopping ideas for the seamstress on your Christmas list. If for a present, look for the top of the line, or interestingly designed or personalized version.
Sewing Kit Staples
Sewing Basket. Look for a specially made sewing basket or choose a funky tool box. Whatever you choose be sure that it is large enough to hold your supplies. Even if your sewing machine is housed in a cabinet, having a free standing sewing basket can come in handy for carrying a project and all the necessary tools around with you.
Scissors. Do not skimp here. Choose a quality pair and declare them off limits to anything unrelated to sewing. Take care of them and they will last forever. Look for a knife-edged bent scissor and a small sewing scissor to round out your collection.
Sharp Needles. High-quality hand sewing needles are worth the money. Buy a variety pack and a storage carrier to
keep them handy.
Straight Pins. Look for a starter kit. You can choose from small steel pins that stick to a magnet. (Making clean-up a little easier) or pins with large colored plastic balls on the end that are easy to locate and pick up. If you are working with delicate fabric, you will need superfine needles with flat heads.
Thread. Thread will need to be purchased often, but having a basic starter set of versatile thread is a good idea. Choose cotton-wrapped polyester or 100 percent polyester in black, white, khaki and clear.
Tailor’s Chalk or a Dressmakers pencil. These make temporary marks on your fabric. Helpful when altering a pattern, hemming or tailoring a dress.
Pin Cushion. Choose from a huge variety of pin cushions from the classic tomato to a modern magnetic pin case. Many come with emery to sharpen and clean needles.
Measuring Tape. Buy a quality fabric measuring tape, but be prepared to replace it once it starts to show wear if you want an accurate measurement.
Seam Ripper. Mistakes happen, be prepared. Seam rippers work much better than fingers and teeth!
Sewing Gauge. This tool is great for measuring and marking pleats and buttonholes.
Hem Gauge. A useful addition to your tool chest: it is for measuring a hem.
Thimble. This is an optional addition to your sewing kit. When choosing one, know that it should fit snugly on your middle finger. It takes a bit of getting used to, but can save finger pricks and help in hand sewing.