Here’s my list of 15 essential sewing tools:
Fabric shears: Buy good ones and take care of them (that means never ever cutting paper or anything other than fabric with them; if you have to lock them up to keep your spouse or kids from using them to open packages, then so be it). Have them sharpened every so often. Sharp tools are the key to enjoyable sewing. And for my fellow left-handed sewists: don’t even think about not using left-handed or ambidextrous scissors. It’s not worth it!
Rotary cutter, clear plastic ruler and self-healing cutting mat: A rotary cutter is much easier to cut out patterns with than scissors. This is something else you want to keep sharp, but you can easily replace the rotary blades yourself. A self-healing cutting mat is a must if you’re using a rotary cutter, otherwise you’ll destroy your work surface. And a clear plastic ruler is extremely helpful you’re trying to straighten up your fabric’s edges.
Pinking shears: I consider these essential because they are such a quick way to finish many seams. You’ll also find them useful when you are working with fabric that unravels easily; pinking the edges will cut down on your frustration.
Small craft scissors: I always keep a pair of small craft scissors nearby when I am sewing. I find them much easier to use when clipping threads. If you’re careful, they can double as a seam-ripper when you’ve misplaced yours (don’t ask me how I know this).
Seam Ripper: The sewist’s best friend. Sooner or later, you will make a mistake and need this little guy. You might want to have more than one on hand. Because there’s nothing more frustrating than trucking along on a project only to make a mistake and then not being able to find your seam ripper.
Pins and a pincushion: If you’re working with knits, be sure you have ballpoint needles on hand. It’s often easier to stick pins back into a pincushion than some type of box (plus, who can resist an iconic red tomato pin cushion?).
Sewing machine needles: You’ll need extras for your machine since they will gradually become dull with use (remember, sharp is best!), and you’ll want to swap out your needles for various fabric weights.
Hand sewing needles: Most sewing projects will require a little bit of hand finishing, like sewing on a button.
Measuring tape: You’ll need a soft one for getting accurate body measurements.
Water soluble pen and/or tailor’s chalk: I prefer a water soluble pen but they sometimes don’t show up as well on dark colored fabric. Have both on hand just to be safe!
Seam gauge: Turning up a hem ¾” is much, much easier with a seam gauge. It also doubles as a ruler when you need to measure out smaller amounts.
What are your essential sewing tools? Let me know in the comments!
Looking for ways to keep track of all of your sewing tools? Be sure to check out my post on organizing your sewing room. You might also be interested in exploring useful patternmaking tools. Plus, get started with Craftsy’s FREE mini-class Bag-Making Basics: Drawstring Bag & Bucket Bag.