Just starting out on your sewing journey? You're in the right place. With over 100 years in the sewing business under our belt, WAWAK has the knowledge—and the sewing supplies—you need to get started! Keep reading for our list of sewing essentials for beginners, and check out WAWAK Sewing Supplies for all your sewing notion needs!
SEWING ESSENTIALS FOR BEGINNERS
Let's start with one of the absolute essentials of sewing: needles. Whether you're sewing by hand or machine, a needle is what punctures your fabric and carries the thread through it.
If you plan to sew by hand, these are the needles for you! They're likely what you think of when you imagine a sewing needle: a thin shaft with an eye on one end and a sharp point on the other. Even if you're going to sew with a machine, it's a good idea to have a few hand needles in your kit—you'll need to hand sew from time to time to finish off small areas your machine can't reach.
Machine needles differ from hand needles, with a thicker end that inserts into the sewing machine. If you purchased a new sewing machine, it most likely came with a few machine needles, but it's good to have extras on hand because they wear down as you sew.
There are various styles of needles intended for different fabrics. Once you start sewing with new materials, be sure to use the correct needle type for your fabric for much smoother, easier sewing. For more information on needle types and when to use them, see our previous blog post on Choosing The Right Home Machine Needle.
Next up, the piece that holds it all together (literally): thread! When you're first starting out, an all-purpose thread will probably be suitable for most projects. Not sure where to start? Gutermann Mara 100 is our most popular all-purpose thread. We'd recommend choosing a few basic colors like black and white to get you going, or selecting a thread to match your fabric if you already have one picked out for your first project.
Like needles, there are lots of different styles of thread for different fabric types and projects. Feel free to browse WAWAK's Thread By Use to find threads for a specific project or if you are curious about different thread types.
3. Sewing Machine
Unless you're exclusively hand sewing, you'll need a trusty sewing machine to get going! Whether you purchase a sewing machine or borrow one from a friend or relative, the best way to get started is with what's available to you. Popular home sewing machine brands include Singer, Brother, Bernina, Juki, and more. You can find all the accessories you need for your sewing machine, including spare bobbins and sewing machine feet, at WAWAK.
Accurate measurements are critical to well-constructed sewing projects! Measuring Tapes, also referred to as Tape Measures, are the go-to measuring tool for many sewers thanks to their versatility and flexibility, which makes it possible to measure curves and take body measurements.
Once you have your measurements, you'll need a way to mark your fabric for cutting or pinning without leaving permanent marks behind. Marking Chalk is especially easy to remove, but there are lots of different styles of marking tools you can use, including fabric markers, pens, and pencils.
A high-quality pair of fabric scissors is a sewer's best friend! It's crucial to use fabric scissors, rather than any standard paper or craft scissors you might already have, for sewing. Fabric scissors are specifically designed to cut fabrics, so you'll get the best cutting action and smoothest cuts with sewing scissors and shears. That means quicker, easier cutting and shaping all around!
When all of your pattern pieces are cut, you'll need sewing pins to temporarily hold them in place and get you ready to sew. There are different styles of sewing pins, but Standard Ball Pins are an excellent choice for most beginner projects. Of course, you don't want all those sharp points lying around your work surface when you're not using your pins, so don't forget a Pin Cushion or Pin Holder to keep track of them!
8. Seam Ripper
Everyone makes mistakes, but the nice thing about sewing is they're usually reversible with a seam ripper and a bit of patience! Seam Rippers are a must-have in every sewer's toolkit for undoing mistaken or unwanted stitches.
9. Iron & Ironing Board
The last sewing essential is one you might already have: an Iron. Ironing can be tedious, but the extra step is worth it—ironing your fabric before sewing ensures that the material lays correctly, which sets your whole project up for success from measuring to stitching.
OTHER HELPFUL SEWING TOOLS
Those were our absolute must-have sewing supplies for beginners, but there are many more handy tools where those came from! Here are a few more popular sewing notions that are not necessarily essential but might be helpful once you've started sewing a bit more.
Sewing Clips come in handy in so many different ways in a sewing workroom, we'd be remiss not to mention them here! They're often used as an alternative to pins for pile fabrics, like velvet, or materials that can't be pinned, like vinyl. With Sewing Clips, you can easily hold together layers of fabric or thickly rolled materials. But their uses don't end there—Large Sewing Clips are great to have on hand for clipping fabrics to your work surface to prevent shifting or keeping paper pattern pieces in place while you're marking. Or, try Standard Sewing Clips for everything from securing seams to organizing your workspace.
A Seam Gauge (also called a sewing gauge) is a ruler with a sliding marker that allows you to mark a measurement on the ruler itself. They're great for any time you have to take a measurement multiple times or want to ensure an even width, like a hem or seam allowance.
Rotary Cutters are great for making long, straight fabric cuts with ease. They're ideal for people who frequently sew quilts, dresses, drapery, or anything involving long swaths of fabric. Some sewers also find Rotary Cutters more comfortable for cutting than scissors—it's up to personal preference! If you decide to use a rotary cutter, you'll also need a Cutting Mat to protect your blade and cutting surface and a Ruler to help you make straight cuts. Kits like this Fiskars Cutting Set are available to help you cut costs when you need the whole set.
Woven fabrics tend to fray and even unravel when cut, so you need some way to prevent fraying when you work with a woven fabric like denim, some linens, or canvas. Pinking Shears cut a zigzag edge, which shortens the length of the edge's threads to limit fraying and prevent unraveling. Alternatively, you can try using Fray Check for the same purpose. Apply this liquid fabric glue to a cut fabric edge, and once it's dry, the Fray Check will seal and protect the cut fibers—preventing fraying.
If you find yourself cutting a lot of threads, Thread Snips are great to have in arm's reach. Specifically designed for making quick thread cuts as you sew, these convenient clippers are a great addition to any sewer's toolkit.