There are many great reasons to take up sewing! Saving money, expressing your personal style (in clothing and home décor) and learning a new, practical skill are just a few. We’ll get you started with these sewing essentials.
Sewing Essentials 101:
Hand sewing supplies
- Esprit Sew All Sewing Kit
- Unique Creativ Assorted Colour Plastic Head Pins
- Dritz Hand Needles, Assorted Sizes
- Fiskars 9” Dressmaker Scissors
- Prym Sewing Yard Marked Tape Measure
- Viva Infinite Rotary Cutter
- Coats & Clark All-Purpose Polyester Thread
- Prym Sewing Wire Needle Threaders
- Unique Creative Seamfix Thread Remover
Machine sewing essentials
- Singer 1304 Start Sewing Machine
- Klassé Universal Sharps Size 90/14 Sewing Machine Needles
- Unique Creativ Pre-Wound Reusable Bobbins in Assorted Colours
- Unique Creativ Sewing Machine Maintenance Kit
If you’re new to sewing, look for pre-assembled sewing kits like this one by Esprit that contain a variety of essentials in a single package. For most simple jobs you’ll need: needles, thread, a threader, scissors, straight pins, pin cushion, buttons, a tape measure and thimble. Other items handy to have include a fabric marking pen, seam ripper and tracing wheel.
Hand sewing supplies
Stitching by hand is a great way to work on a small project.
Straight pins temporarily secure fabrics and allow you to easily mark and cut out patterns, attach fabric or hem and sew seams. Straight pins feature round or flat heads and come in different lengths, thicknesses and materials. Dressmaker or seamstress pins are all-purpose, like this 100-pieces pack from Unique Creativ, appropriate for most sewing projects. If you’re working with heavier fabrics, choose longer specialized pins, such as quilting and upholstery pins. Use a pin cushion to organize and store your straight pins.
Most sewing projects, from stitching doll clothes to hemming drapes, require some hand finishing, so you’ll need a good selection of common sewing needles like bodkins, sharps and appliques. Be sure to use a needle that’s comfortable for you and appropriate for your fabric. Thinner needles are best for stitching lightweight or delicate fabrics, while thicker needles are suited to hemming denim, tapestry and heavier materials. Look for a variety pack of needles, like this one from Dritz, that contains an assortment of sewing needles in different sizes.
A sharp pair of fabric shears, like these from Fiskars, will cut through most materials with ease. Shears have asymmetrical handles that are bent upwards to provide better leverage for cutting thicker fabrics. Pinking shears cut in a zigzag pattern that helps reduce fraying and is helpful for finishing seams.
A tape measure, like this one from Prym Sewing, is a must-have for any sewing project, big or small. For consistently precise measurements, replace your cloth tape measure every few years as it will stretch slightly over time. Keep a small notepad and pencil within reach to jot down measurements for accurate sizing.
The fast and simple way to transfer patterns to fabric and cut them out is to use a rotary cutter, such as this Viva Infinite model. Replace the blades of your cutter regularly to ensure they’re always sharp. Use the cutter with a cutting mat and ruler. A self-healing cutting mat can protect your work surface and create a dedicated workspace for sewing projects. A clear gridded ruler can be placed right on your pattern or fabric, making it a cinch to mark off measurements, transfer patterns to fabric and straighten your fabric edges.
The success of any sewing project ultimately depends on the quality of the thread. Look for a high-quality thread with a smooth finish to prevent seams from coming undone. Choose thread with a similar fibre content to your fabric. This polyester thread from Coats and Clark works well for most sewing projects and comes in 26 shades. Choose a thread colour that matches your fabric’s dominant colour and is one or two shades darker. Keep several basic colours on hand for everyday sewing.
Threading needles manually requires plenty of patience and a steady hand. Prym Sewing’s 3-pack of needle threaders can save you time and frustration, whatever your skill level. Each threader has a rigid wire loop that makes it easier to slip your thread through the eye of your needle.
Whether you’re a needlework newbie or a domestic doyenne, a seam ripper can be invaluable. This pencil-thin tool has a tiny pronged blade on one end to remove stitches without cutting into the fabric. Use it for ripping out seams when hemming pants or skirts, upcycling fabric from vintage clothes, widening buttonholes, removing basting stitches or undoing sewing mistakes. Unique Creativ’s seam ripper features a unique plastic cap that grabs and removes excess threads without marking the fabric.
Machine sewing essentials
Sewing machines come in different styles for varying levels of ability. Begin with something simple and move on to more complex machines as your ability develops.
A sewing machine saves you time and money by letting you transform fabrics into practical pieces for your home and wardrobe. A basic sewing machine, like this Singer model for beginners, is great for everyday craft projects and clothing repairs, such as mending and hemming. Look for easy-to-use features, upgradable parts and a variety of stitch patterns and speeds.
Sewing machine needles come in various sizes and fabric weights and are colour coded and numbered. Higher-number needles are better for denim, velvet and heavy fabrics, while lower-number needles work well for delicate, sheer and lightweight fabrics. Buy a variety pack in assorted sizes and fabric weights, like this one by Klassé, so you’re ready for any sewing project that comes your way.
Whether you’re crafting a Halloween costume for your toddler or designing a dress for date night, bobbins will help you bring your sewing project together. A bobbin is like a small spool of thread that sits inside the sewing machine to interlock threads and create an even, strong stitch. Most sewing machines come with two or three bobbins, but keep extras handy, like these pre-wound, reusable bobbins, to swap out thread colours at a moment’s notice.
Your sewing machine needs only a few simple tools to work its stitchery magic. A small screwdriver is a must for changing sewing needles, letting you loosen and tighten the screw that holds the needle in place. Most sewing machines come with a screwdriver set, but if yours doesn’t, this Unique Creativ Kit will help you do maintenance and make small repairs. It includes sewing machine oil—regular oiling is important to reduce friction on moving parts and prevent rust. A rule of thumb is to add oil after every 20 hours of use.
By hand or by machine, sewing can be satisfying, money-saving and a creative way to spend your time. The best way to learn is by doing, so now that you know what you need, let’s get stitching!