Today I wanted to share with you my top 20 sewing supplies that I use with about every project. I got the idea because my sister in law mentioned that she wanted a few sewing supplies for Christmas, but wasn’t sure where to start. So I thought there are probably plenty of others out there that might also be a little lost with where to start. You can also check out my Beginner’s Guide for a few tips and tricks.
I tend to buy most of my sewing supplies from either Wawak or Amazon. It all depends on what I need and how quickly I need it. My family tends to buy from Amazon so I also like to add items from there so they can be on my “wish list” and easy for them to get me for Christmas. (some of the links in this post are Amazon affiliate links which means that, at no cost to you, I get a small percentage of the sale if you purchase after clicking)
So let’s get started! I’m going to begin with necessary items that you will use with every kind of project and then list items that I feel are necessary if you want more professional looking items, followed by a few items that I love, but might not be necessary but definitely helpful, and last, but not least, items needed if you plan on using PDF patterns! I’ll also mention why I love the products and what I use them for the most.
1. Mara 100 Thread
This thread is an all purpose 100% polyester thread that can be used on most projects. I honestly can’t think of a project that I’ve done that didn’t use this thread, unless it was within the first year of sewing. They have about every color that you can imagine so you should be able to match about any color fabric. I have a guide sheet for matching thread color to solid cotton lycra that Purpleseamstress and Peek-A-Boo sells.
2. Stretch Needles
Next up is needles! I prefer Schmetz needles, but I think Organ brand is decent as well and Wawak does carry both. For knits, I prefer stretch needles in size 11 or 14. My coverstitch machine definitely does better when I use a size 14, especially on neckbands or straps. I do know that not all coverstitch machines can use regular sewing machine needles so be sure to check your manual.
3. Microtex Needles
I use these for sewing quilters cotton when I make bags or quilts (not many quilts have been made though). They are especially great for topstitching, as they are super sharp and go through many layers of fabric easily.
You definitely need fabric for any sewing project, but that is pretty obvious. Depending on what you want to sew you will need a certain type of fabric. I have really been enjoying using knits lately because I love sewing clothes for my myself and my family. I still enjoy making bags, but they tend to take longer, and I love the practicality of sewing clothes. To see where I buy different types of fabrics, check out my Where I Buy Supplies page. It also has lists of other sewing notions and where I buy them.
5. Cutting Mat
I never use scissors to cut out my fabric, so I highly recommend getting the largest cutting mat that you can afford. I have this 24 x 36 inch Fiskar self healing cutting mat. There are other brands out there as well, I’ve just had great luck with this one. I also like that it’s grey on both sides so it looks a little nicer if you leave it out in your sewing room. Apparently, you can randomly wash it in the bath tub and lay flat to dry to help keep moisture in it so it continues to self heal. I’ve never done that, and have not had any issues with mine.
6. Rotary Cutter
Mine is a little older but it’s very similar to the one I linked above. I suggest getting a 45mm rotary cutter to start out with as it’s a little bigger and will cut most things. If you plan on sewing a lot of baby clothes, you might want to get a 28mm because it will be easier to cut around small curves. I have an Olfa 28mm rotary cutter that I don’t like as much as my Fiskar 45mm rotary cutter. But I think that is because of the style of it. It cuts well, it’s just not all that comfortable to hold. So I suggest looking at a few different ones and maybe even try holding them to see if you like the feel. I have this 45mm Comfort Loop Fiskar rotary cutter on my Christmas list this year.
I listed both the cutting mat and rotary cutter as necessary items because I could not make anything without them. If you choose to not get them, then you will need a good pair of sewing scissors. I find the cutting mat and rotary cutter much easier and more accurate than using scissors. Gingher shears are always recommended in sewing groups. I also have Fiskar brand and like them both.
Highly Recommended Items
I currently have a Rowenta Iron, but it’s actually my husband’s iron from college, so it’s at least 15 years old! It still works great and based off of my experience, I would recommend a Rowenta. But, I also know that brands change over time, so I can’t 100% say that the new ones are just as good as the old ones. I do want to say that to make your projects look more professional, you will want to iron or press after almost every step.
8. Ironing Board
I don’t really have anything to say about an ironing board other than you need one if you want to iron anything. I honestly rarely use my iron other than for sewing. Every once in a while I’ll need to iron a shirt or pants, but not often.
9. Seam Ripper
I got a small seam ripper with my sewing machine, but I have to say, this one is much easier to use. It fits better in my hand and overall has a better feel. I think that most sewers? sewists? seamstresses? have a love/hate relationship with their seam ripper. They don’t want to use it, but it’s almost inevitable that it will be used. Luckily, with sewing, most stitching can be corrected because of a seam ripper.
10. Retractable Measuring Tape
You will really only need a retractable measuring tape if you decide to sew clothing. It’s best used to get measurements such as waist, bust, hip, etc. I don’t think there are many differences in them, but am not really sure. I did recently see one that snaps together so that it’s easier for someone to get their own measurements, but I don’t have it, so I can’t tell you if it’s worth it or not.
11. Wonder Clips
Many still use pins, but I prefer wonder clips for most things. They don’t puncture the fabric, and you don’t have to worry about kids touching them and poking themselves. Plus, if you drop them on the floor, they are easy to find! It’s nearly impossible to sew over them, so you will have less broken needles from sewing over pins.
12. Gingher 4 inch Large Handle Scissors
I have two pairs of these so that I can keep one near my sewing machine and then one near my serger and coverstitch machines. I use them for clipping the threads while at my machines. I like that they are small but still have large finger openings so that they are easy to grab and put back down. They are slightly more expensive since they have the large handles, but it’s worth it. Here is the link for the smaller handle Gingher scissors, if you prefer those.
13. 1×6 Omnigrid Ruler
I have at least three of these…one near my sewing machine that I also use when at my ironing board, one at my cutting table, and one near my serger and coverstitch machines. I use them the most for measuring a hem, finding where on my machine I need to line up the edge of my fabric, and making sure that the 1″ square on a pattern is accurate, but there are so many other times I need to measure small distances.
14. Air Erasable Fabric Marker
This marker is perfect for writing on fabric. I use it anytime I need to mark the placement of pockets, mark the quarter points of a neckband, arm cuffs, or band. This ink is purple so it won’t work on dark fabrics as well, but you can sometimes see it enough to make it work. It will begin to disappear after a short amount of time, so I don’t recommend marking your fabric and not sewing it until the next day because your marks will probably be gone. It will also go away if you get it wet.
I also have some of these FriXion erasable pens and they work really well and don’t disappear until you use heat on them, but they also will sometimes leave a “ghost” line so be cautious with using them on fabric unless it’s within the seam allowance.
15. 6×24 Omnigrid Ruler
This is my most used Omnigrid ruler out of all of them, besides the 1×6. It’s great for cutting any straight lines, including bag pattern pieces, neckbands, waistbands, or cuffs for sleeves. I also use it to measure anything flat and to help line up pieces such as pockets. As far as rulers, if you quilt or even sew mainly bags, you might want to get a few different sizes. I think I got a pack of 3 or maybe even 6 different sizes one year for Christmas. For sewing clothes, this isn’t used as often, but I do still use it. Like I mentioned above, I will use it to get both pockets on a sweater in the same place on the fabric. I’ll use it to cut out the rectangular pieces. Especially since some patterns only include a cut chart for those. This makes it super quick and easy to cut out.
16. Wonder Tape
You will love wonder tape once you start using it. It’s basically a double sided tape, but will wash away once the item is washed. I tend to use it for attaching zippers the most, but also use for hems and placing pockets, so that the pocket doesn’t shift while sewing.
PDF Sewing Pattern Necessary Items
I use a Brother (yes, they make more than just sewing machines!) laser printer, but really any printer would do. I just recommend one that has color so it’s easier to see the different sizes when you are ready to cut out your pattern. Color might not be needed as much if you aren’t making clothing. 18. Paper Just make sure that you have paper that is appropriate for your printer. I have really only used PDF patterns, so I have used a lot of paper.
The scissors that I’m talking about here are just regular scissors. These should be made for paper and remember that your sewing scissors (if you get any) should only be used on fabric! I got the Scotch Precision Scissors from Costco, but the link is to Amazon.
20. Scotch Tape
Tape is used to piece your pattern pieces together. You can also use a glue stick, but so far, I find it easy enough to use tape. This is another item that I purchase from Costco so that I rarely run out!
Well, besides my sewing machine, serger, and coverstitch machine, those are my 20 most used items in my sewing area. Hopefully you found this list helpful!