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13 Essential Sewing Tools: Get Started With Sewing

November 6, 2016Eve Tokens

13 Essential Sewing Tools: Get Started With Sewing

So you want to learn to sew. You’re excited about the idea of making your own clothes. But you’re not sure where to start?

You need a sewing tools list!

Why? Because if you have the right tools, even just the basic essential sewing tools set, you’ll find that it’s a lot easier to get crackin’ with your sewing your own clothes journey.

Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you make a purchase at no further cost to you.

What Classifies As Sewing Tools?

Some people refer to sewing tools as notions. I stick to the term tools. They are tools that help me achieve what I see in my head, much like a DIY-er using a hammer and a saw to build a table. Right?

If you’ve ever been to a sewing store, you’ll know that it can be quite an overwhelming and inspiring place to be. I used to go to sewing shops with my gran when I was little, and loved exploring al the different shelves and drawers.

Rows of fabrics, scissors and other tools, reels upon reels of different threads! Ribbons, zippers.. So much to look at and touch!

Keeping a Sewing Tools Kit

13 Essential Sewing Tools for Sewing Beginners - The Creative Curator

My gran used to keep her sewing kit in an old flat biscuit tin, and it was always close to hand, while her threads and buttons were kept in a beautiful sewing box my grandad made for her. I have continued with her ways, with a big flat cupboard drawer for my tools – I have a much bigger toolkit than she did 😉 – and a sewing ‘cabinet’ of sorts for my threads, zippers and other bits ‘n’ bobs. I actually inherited the sewing box made by my grandad, but sadly it become too damaged to save during a bad flat rental. One of my biggest regrets! 🙁

Anyhow, lets take a look at the basic tools to get started, and then some more advanced options too further below, that will help you to achieve a more professional finish!

The Sewing Process

Now, it is important to remember that there are different tools used for different purposes.

The sewing process includes:

  1. Measuring the body and fabric
  2. Marking the fabric
  3. Cutting the fabric
  4. Pressing your seams
  5. The sewing up process too!

If you’re new to sewing and not quite sure where to start, check out this post on sewing seams!


13 Essential Sewing Tools for Sewing Beginners - The Creative Curator

There are so many options for measuring both yourself, your pattern and your fabric!

The basic options are

  1. Tape Measure
  2. A Ruler for measuring
  3. A Seam Gauge

Fabric Marking

Again, so many options! It’s a good idea to use a dark colour on light fabrics and light colour on dark fabrics, just be careful to do a test first, and remember that only one of these is necessary to start!

  1. Fabric pencils
  2. Washable pens
  3. Tailor’s Chalk (this is my favourite, but it takes some getting used to!)

Fabric cutting

13 Essential Sewing Tools for Sewing Beginners - The Creative Curator

Your fabric deserves to be cut with a nice sharp blade!

• Fabric Scissors or Shears
(be sure to use paper scissors, not your fabric scissors, for those times when you want to trim the pattern!)

Pressing fabric

  1. The absolute essential item you need is a good steam iron. If it doesn’t have steam, your creations won’t be as professionally finalised as you’d like
  2. An ironing board helps too. I have a teeny one that came with the flat I’m now living in. It does the job, until I can get my bigger one back from storage.
  3. Press cloth – another essential for when you are preset tricky fabrics. Man made fibres need to be pressed at a lower heat setting, and can often end up with a ‘shine’. A press cloth helps with this!


13 Essential Sewing Tools for Sewing Beginners - The Creative Curator

Now this is where the list gets busier!

  1. Pins. You need some good quality pins to keep your sewing sections together. You don’t need to use a lot, but the garment pieces should be pinned together at the notches at least!
  2. Needles! Either for your sewing machine or hand sewing needles if you are more into working by hand.
  3. A pin cushion to stab those pins and needles into, if you’re inclined. I just thrown mine into a lovely old tobacco tin, just like my Ma does.
  4. Seam Ripper. Because we all make mistakes!
  5. Matching sewing thread. This is an essential. Don’t try to sew with any old thread lying around, your sewing won’t look so good. The shade of your thread should match as closely as possible the shade of your fabric!

(Do you know the basics of sewing? When the sewing machine was invented and the different stitches? Check this post out to fill in your knowledge!)

More Advanced Sewing Tools Options (To Add To Your Kit Later)

  1. A 1m metal ruler and pattern master if you intent to modify or get creative with the sewing patterns (the pattern master I recommend is here and not an affiliate link. Other pattern masters just don’t match up, and this is exclusive to Morplan in London.
  2. Tailors thread for marking if you’d like to be more thorough
  3. A Rotary Cutter and Cutting Mats for those times when scissors just aren’t so convenient. You can’t have one without the other, so make sure to buy both!
  4. Tailor’s Ham for pressing 3 dimensional shapes. It’ll really help when it comes to pressing sleeves and other curved seams!
  5. Pressing board – a hard, thin piece of board with markings to turn and press the correct amounts (I’m not sure if you can buy these, I made my own!)

13 Essential Sewing Tools for Sewing Beginners - The Creative Curator

That’s it my friends! An essential getting started with sewing tools list. If you want to grab the checklist as a PDF and store on your phone for when you’re out shopping, or print for handy reference, sign up below. You’ll also get access to my content library filled with sewing guides and upcoming free patterns too!

Til next time.

Sewing Tools for sewing Beginners - Sew Like A Pro! - The Creative Curator



Comments (4)

  • Lesley

    November 12, 2016 at 7:53 am

    I would like to add that a very useful tool is something magnetic for when you tip over your pin box! I have a telescopic stick that looks like an aerial that I can sweep over the floor and those pesky pins I can’t see just leap to it.

    1. Eve Tokens

      November 12, 2016 at 12:08 pm

      Argh! How did I forget to add a magnet to the list! Great thinking Lesley – will add it in ASAP! Thank you! 🙂

  • Janet

    May 9, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    Hi there Eve,
    I dont think I saw a sewer’s best friend, a un-picker on the list!

    1. Eve Tokens

      May 9, 2017 at 10:26 pm

      Are you serious? Did I actually miss the un-picker off the list? It’s my go-to tool, because I frequently need to unpick a stitch – or many – and am never without it! Yikes! I’m off to check this and add it in if it is missing!
      Thank you so much for pointing it out Janet! x

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