I am sometimes asked what material is needed to sew with a sewing machine. We tend to underestimate the equipment needed for this.
Indeed, in addition to a sewing machine, it is important to be well equipped to sew more easily and gain in efficiency.
I have compiled a list of elements that I find important to have in your sewing box, apart of course from elements such as fabric, zippers, sewing bias or other parts specific to each creation.
1. The basics
Pins and a pincushion
You will use them to stick the fabrics together when sewing. it’s important to have pins with a little colored head so you can easily see them if fallen on the floor. Of course the pincushion is needed to organize your pins, you can buy one or make your own.
They are very useful to hold fabrics together when you don’t want to make a hole in your fabric. It is important to have some if you work with faux leather, waterproof fabrics, etc.
Even using a sewing machine you will probably need a sewing needle to close or finish some projects. Also if you want to add buttons or even perles to your project, you will have to do it buy hand. You can buy different sizes of hand sewing needles, larger for thick fabrics and thinner for fabrics such a cotton, silk, jersey..
When you sew the wrong sides together you will use your seam ripper. And believe me, the more beginner you are, the more you will use it !
Normally it is given together with the sewing machine.
Iron and Ironing Board
You might have already one at home. Of course it’s easier to have a very small ironing board to iron the small corners of your project, you can buy a small one or make your own. Its also nice to have a large ironing board that you can put on a table, if you have to iron some curtains or large pieces of fabrics.
2 Pairs of scissors
I always suggest to have 2 type of scissors. One to cut your fabric, and that will never cut something else than fabric. It is important to respect this rule if you want to keep a nice and easy cut! So don’t hesitate to hide them from everyone in the house if they are tempted to use it.
The second pair of scissors will be use to cut anything else: faux leather, zippers, patterns…
Measuring tape and a ruler
Of course you will need to measure your fabric. For that you can use a plastic or metallic ruler. I use a transparent one with measure and 4 sides. It helps me to have straight lines for example at 1cm from the borde pr (see picture).
The measuring tape will help you to measure longer fabrics but also your own body size when creating clothes.
2. For sewing machines
Good bobbins and a box to store them
Here again it is important to buy a great material that is suited for your machine. So when you buy your first sewing machine, buy also the good quality bobbins that goes with the model of your machine. The box will be super useful when you start to have a lot of different colors and you don’t want it to be super messy (the threads will start attaching one to each other..)
When you buy a new machine it usually goes with a pack of two needles for sewing machine. You can write down the references of the needles to keep that in mind to refill when they are too old (the pointy part is not pointy anymore).
You will also have to buy different types of needles in case you want to sew on different type of fabrics :
- Stretch fabric needles: designed to sew elastic knits like swimsuit fabric, spandex, and even synthetic suede.
- Jeans needles: they’re made to go through thicker layers of fabric (denim, jeans or thick fabrics).
- Leather needles: to sew faux leather (don’t use your sewing machine to sew real leather, they are usually not made for it).
- Universal needles: sew woven fabrics and thicker knits. The point of the universal needle has a slight ballpoint.
3. To use patterns
Chalk is the oldest way to write on any fabric in an easy way. It is cheap and you can cut different colors to see it ion any fabric.
Disappearing Ink Pens
These pens are perfect for light fabrics. They are easier to us than chalk and are erased buy washing the clothe or just putting heat on them (ironing or even with a hairdryer).
You will need to draw or copy the pattern on a very large paper. For that you can use pattern paper. It’s a roll of 10meters and you can buy one that has graphs on it.
This tool is not mandatory and you light not need it when beginning the sewing lessons. It is use to adjust a pattern specifically when you want something in between to standard sizes. Using a French curve allows you to draw a perfectly smooth curve.
I hope my list will help you buy the material you need. Don’t under estimate the importance of having these at home, it will save you a great amount of time!
Feel free to print the checklist of everything that’s needed:
If you feel that I should add something to the list, let me know!
I hope to see you seen in one of the sewing workshops !