Essential Items for Your Sewing Box

Getting started with sewing needn’t be expensive, but if you walk into a haberdashery shop or browse online stores, you’ll soon see how it could turn out that way! The best way to build up your tools is to start with a basic kit and buy things as you need from there. So here’s our list of the essentials.

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Fabric Scissors

Most seamstresses are particular about their sewing scissors, and with good reason. You need a pair of really sharp scissors to accurately cut out fabric. Your fabric scissors should only be used for cutting material – otherwise they could get dirty and mark your precious material and will certainly lose their edge. Be prepared to sharpen them, too.

Tailor’s Chalk

This chalk is used for tracing pattern pieces on to fabric, or any other time that you need to mark your material. Specially designed for using on dressmaking fabrics, it can be removed by rubbing with another pieces of fabric. An alternative to this is the fabric marker.

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The best way you can help yourself as a novice sewer is to choose dressmaking fabrics that are good quality and easy to sew. You can find them at

Measuring Tape

Choose a fabric-based measuring tape. You will need one that is flexible enough to hug the contours of the human body but that will not stretch, as plastic tapes sometimes can.

Seam Ripper

Sorry to say, but you will use this tool more than you would like to! When you find that you’ve made a mistake or you just want the opportunity to improve on your first go, this tool will help you quickly and easily undo the seam. Also useful for upcycling.

Sewing Machine

Finding the right sewing machine for you will take some research. This article is a good place to start.

Hand Sewing Needles

There are always pieces that need to be finished by hand, so hand sewing needles should be a part of your kit. Keep a variety of needles on hand, as different weights of fabric will need different needles.

Pins and Pincushion

Pins come in a variety of thicknesses and lengths. Which you choose is up to you, but there is the danger of damage to finer fabrics if you use thick pins. Some people prefer glass-headed pins – others like straight pins.