If you want to start sewing and are on a limited budget, or want to start small to see if you like it, (trust me, with a little practice you’ll love it!) then these are the basic sewing supplies and tools you will need to set up a beginners sewing kit. You can often save money by buying a kit with quite a few of these items bundled together.
Essential Beginners Sewing Kit & Sewing Supplies
What are the best sewing supplies to have in a beginners sewing kit?
1. Needles – Most of my digital sewing patterns have little or no hand sewing but there will be a time when you always need a needle handy. Just get a small pack of assorted sizes.
2. Machine Needles – Start with some Universal needles suitable for a wide variety of fabrics. (Read sewing machine needle sizes and uses guide)
3. Safety Pins – Buy a small pack of assorted sizes. These are commonly used for threading elastic through casings.
4. Thimble – While not absolutely necessary, a thimble can protect your fingers when hand sewing. They are generally included in starter sewing supplies kits.
5. Pins – Pins are an essential part of sewing as they hold your seams in place. Plastic ball head pins are cheap to buy and come in packets of assorted colors. If you have a little more to spend consider buying glass head pins as they won’t melt if you accidentally touch them with the iron. (Read types of pins for sewing)
6. Pincushion – You will need somewhere to keep all your pins safe. The white pincushion in the picture above costs a little more and has a magnetic base to hold your pins in place.
If you’d like something fancy then try making this colored felt one yourself with my free felt sewing cushion pattern. The red pincushion in the photo is called a tomato pincushion can be found cheaply at most fabric stores. It normally has a small strawberry attached which contains sand for sharpening your pins.
7. Thread – Even though you are on a budget, invest in a good quality thread like Rasant, Gutterman, Mettler or Coats and Clark. Cheaper threads get fluffy and break easily which will only frustrate you in the long run.
8. Scissors – For your basic kit you will need a large dressmaking pair and a small sharp embroidery scissor or thread snipper. It is also a good idea to buy a cheap pair of scissors for cutting paper patterns so you don’t dull your good dressmaking shears.
Pinking shears cost a little more but can be a good option for finishing seams if you don’t have an overlocker. Read my article on the choosing the best scissors for sewing.
9. Seam ripper – Hopefully you won’t use it too often but it is a fact of sewing that at some stage you are going to make mistakes. This happens to even experienced sewers so don’t be discouraged if you have to use yours at lot at first. (Read how to use a seam ripper)
10. Ruler – Get just a regular clear ruler preferably with both inches and centimeters on it. There are lots of fancy quilting rulers available but if you are just starting then something simple will do. Clear rulers allow you to see the fabric through it. This green one cost just $1!
11. Measuring tape – Measuring tapes help you take accurate body measurements. One that has both inches and centimeters is handy. Don’t purchase one that is too thin as it will stretch when you are trying to take your measurements giving you inaccurate results.
12. Seam gauge – when you are starting out this will make it much easier to measure small increments and hems with a seam gauge.
13. Marking pens or chalk – You will need a method of transferring markings onto your fabric. The cheapest are usually chalk pencils which come in packs of a few colors like white, blue and pink. Disappearing pens are a little more expensive but do a good job or accurately transferring markings. (The best tools for marking fabric)
14. Steam Iron and ironing board – You probably have these already in your house. (Read how to press fabric for sewing)
15. Great lighting – If you don’t have the budget for a lamp, try positioning your sewing table near a window. Sunlight is free! It will make sewing so much easier.
So now you are all set with the basics it is time to start sewing!
Do you have any tips for other beginner sewers out there? We’d love to hear your ideas for creating a beginners sewing kit on a budget.