The 15 useful sewing tools and notions that will make your sewing life easier! I have collected the sewing tools I rely on and believe will come in handy for your sewing projects. They make my sewing life easier and more enjoyable (and yours, too). Check out the items you'll use over and over again on every sewing project.
And did you know I also have an Amazon storefront? I keep my personal sewing favorites in there 🙂
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People often ask me what machine, tools, etc that I use when I sew. Here’s a summary of the tools I use most and that I like best.
I’ve curated a list of some handy and useful sewing tools that are worth building your sewing kit around. They’re all budget-friendly, will save you so much time, and make projects easier. These are the sewing tools that will get you started, and help you towards your best results.
While you might not find all the fancy stuff here, I've put together a list of useful ones, ones I can safely say will benefit any beginner sewer, helping you out and making sewing more fun. And easier.
They'll help speed up your sewing and make some techniques or tasks a little easier. Check them out and let me know what you think!
15 Useful Sewing Tools And Notions
This one's kind of obvious 🙂 First off, you DON'T need an expensive sewing machine to sew adorable things. This budget-friendly sewing machine has helped me build my pattern design business from the start, as well as create hundreds of tutorials on this site. All I needed, until recently.
Looking for a good sewing machine? Check out my list of the best sewing machines for beginners to select your best sewing machine to buy.
Also, here's a beginner's guide on how to start using the sewing machine. In case you ever need it, or someone you know.
Not much to say, you definitely need thread to sew. Make sure it's a high-quality thread, I love Gütermann and Coats (Coats Moon especially, it's inexpensive and it comes in every color I've ever needed!). You're safe if you start off with an all-purpose thread and buy more, but don't stock up on any specialty thread right at start, or you might never use it up.
A pair of sewing scissors you'll only use for fabric. While there certainly are some special and precious models out there, you don't need expensive scissors. Just make sure you have a pair just for fabric. These popular Fiskars classics will do the job just perfectly.
And these Ginghers have a better price on Amazon than locally...if you're looking for top-performance sewing scissors (and beautiful! 🙂
This little thing gets used more than I'd like, but when it does, it's always on a rescue mission. If it feels like a love-hate relationship when you spot your seam ripper, that's totally normal though! Yet it has saved so many (many!) of my projects that I can safely say I cannot
live sew without it.
But be careful! The cheapest $1 ones won't last long, will quickly become blunt, and can leave holes in the fabric. (Ehm you are asking how I know that?) You might want to invest a few $ to get the job done properly. Here's my fav:
I've recently come across a new, super handy design of a seam ripper - Cindy's seam ripper by Riley Blake Designs. It comes in two sizes, the new medium-large is the size I love best!
Sewing pins - I use flat head pins. Not because they are super cute (OK, that might be a second reason, haha) - they are thinner and long enough for all my zipper sewing projects! I swap them for wonder clips in some places, but I could not do my projects without them when there's a need for precision.
Sewing clips will make your projects easy and quick to sew. Unless you need to mark an exact, specific point on your project (in this case I use pins!), use clips to prevent shifting layers when you sew. As you might have noticed, I like them so much they got a special zipper pouch for storage 🙂 They work like a charm!
7) Machine Needles and Hand-Sewing Needles
Machine needles - I love the Schmetz brand, and constantly use these - for all the beginner sewing tutorials and sewing projects I make at AppleGreen Cottage blog! Schmetz Universal sewing needles are the ones you are after if you are a beginner and sewing mostly with cotton.
Hand sewing needles - make sure you get them in a set of various sizes. If they don't come in a plastic organizer or container, make a diy needle book to store them properly.
A Steam Iron
A good steam Iron: I've been using my Rowenta P2 Professional for years now, and am still a fan. Since this exact model has been discontinued, I'm linking to one with features very similar to mine - this Rowenta DW280 steam iron is a good one (but it has an extra: a digital display). Mine is just the perfect weight for me and I love that it has a stainless steel soleplate. (I may sound so old-fashioned, but this one works great!!!)
Tape Measure: if you ever want to take measurements, and you will, you need it. This is a simple one. As a compact version, you can get one of those little retractable tape measures - for an extra cuteness factor! Check them out here.
An Ironing Board
An ironing board. You most probably already have one, but if not, invest in a large one. It makes a big difference for me, switching from a compact one to a large iroing board. This one is the approximate size I have, it makes my pressing quicker with less moving items around. And I often need to switch the ironing board cover. Make sure you get the right dimensions - a good one will help with pressing a lot.
A Seam Roll
Press well to achieve that neat look. I love to use my diy sleeve roll - it makes pressing bags and pouches piece of cake, every single time! You can use my FREE TEMPLATE to make one for yourself.
Olfa rotary Cutter: 45mm is my favorite, and the best to get if you only need an all-in-one size.
One of the most popular tools in the sewing world. But I'll be honest: I spent years sewing and crafting without a rotary cutter and a mat, using only scissors, and it's totally OK if you do so too. But once I got myself the first rotary cutter, I cannot imagine living without one. Seriously, such perfectly straight lines, and so effortlessly!
The cutting will go super quick if you use a rotary cutter. I use these with nearly all my projects here on the blog.
Olfa rotary cutters are my favorite. The blade lasts long, and that is very important because you will spend money on refill blades, the handle is just a one-off purchase!
Cutting mat It will make cutting and trimming your fabric quick and easy. A must if you use a rotary cutter. It comes in several sizes, and it's good to have the largest your crafting table can hold. If you lack storage room, get yourself a folding mat (what a great idea for small spaces!) One more thing: some cutting mats have a label 'self-healing'. They will last longer!
I currently use the one in the photo, it's Olfa self-healing 24" by 18" cutting mat. It can hold nearly all my sewing projects and I love it. (But currently, you'll get the largest size at the same price - so if I were buying now, I'd get the largest one instead. Just sayin')
Stilletto Point Turning Tool
While it can be something as simple as a knitting needle, a chopstick, the tip of a small paintbrush, you can purchase a simple tool specifically designed to make your edges, corners, and curves look nice and crisp once turned and finished.
I've finally found my new favorite point turning tool for sewing up these bunting-top bins. It's the Flamingo Stiletto Point Turning Tool by Bev of the Flamingo Toes.
Cuteness! And it makes turning the tiny corners a breeze. Ideal for point turning, detail work, pressing seams, and marking fabric.
A Quilting Ruler
A large transparent ruler. Go for a 6-inch-by-24-inch acrylic ruler if you don't have one yet, Omnigrid is always a safe choice though there are many other brands out there. It is a great size for any project, and if you only want one ruler for everything, get this one. I use mine (with metric units) with all my sewing and crafting projects.
I also have a small square set that is perfect to square up scrap pieces of fabric - that's a lovely 'extra' to have.
At some point on your sewing journey, you'll get tired of trying to imitate the serger seam on your regular sewing machine (I've done it for ages!) and will want to finally make a baby beanie or headband with seams looking like bought in a store. Raise your hand if you feel this way!
This is my Janome 990D serger and I love it! The pic is from when I just took it out of the box. Threading has not been as complicated as I had feared, even though I know there are higher-level sergers that make threading easier. Three words: color-coded guides, guys!!! I immediately tested the different tensions. And rethreaded the lower looper, just to see if it was complicated. It was somewhat fiddly. But not complicated. Nothing I can't handle! It works perfectly since day one, and I'm happy I got it. I'm linking to the Janome serger with this model specifications, for the USA market.
And also, the bonus package I've found in the box - LOVE it! Great value at an affordable price, especially not if you don't use it as much to need an easier lower looper threader.
If you're looking for a budget deal, also check out the Brother 1034DX serger on Amazon. Comparable models, I initially wanted to get me this one because a friend recommended it to me, but it was out of stock.
My Favorite Amazon Sewing Products
When I use a product I love, and Amazon has it, I can add it to my personal Favorites collection on Amazon, like some fabric collection I love, a tool, or my new sewing machine.
And you can see it when you visit my Amazon storefront.
So you can see what I love sewing with!
More sewing tools that are good-to have
Are there any other sewing tools and supplies you couldn't live without when sewing? Let me know, I'll be adding your suggestions to the list!
...and here they are, your suggestions - you rock!
- 'an awl - very useful for guiding material as I sew.' Liz (oh that's a great idea to add! I use it too, with Kam snaps, with fiddly tiny bits to sew - unless when I can't find it and then I have to use my embroidery scissors for that LOL
- 'bodkin' (thanks, Danae, for a great suggestion! I used a safety pin to thread elastic into pajama pants before. A bodkin does the job way easier, agree!)
- Disappearing Fabric Markers (thanks, Lois!)
If you like sewing - and I know you do! - check out these popular sewing ideas, too. There are so many sewing projects here at AppleGreen Cottage! The important thing is, they are all here for you to use. Best join the mailing list and test me - and, get a free pattern 🙂 I'm so excited to see what you sew!
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I have a felt pressing mat, some thread snips and small pointed embroidery scissors.
Great ideas! Thank you.
I also love my walking foot.
I have been using a safety pin, will look for the bodkin.
Tried a few different marking items, the chalk wipes off the easiest, especially if the lines will show. The marking pen works better for fine lines and will disappear with water.
I found one tool that has replaced a couple of items for me: a needle-nosed bent tipped tweezer, otherwise known as a weeding tweezer.
It can be used as a stiletto (the tips fit under presser feet if you need that much precision), tweezers (of course), thread cutter (the tips are that sharp), the tips are also thin enough to work through the weave of cotton fabrics to get those pesky thread remnants you see and thought you'd removed before enclosing them in a hem or quilt by mistake.
I have all except the new thread ripper. I have tons of seem rippers! Oh, I don't have a serger. One day, maybe...
A magnet tray that you can use for pins and screws when you clean your machine. These are great to keep by the machine while sewing to put your pins in and if knocked off the pins will stay in the tray or you can use the tray to pick up pins on the floor. Just sweep the tray over the pins. Sure saves your back from bending over.
Oh I love my magnetic trays so much I have multiples…WONDERFUL CREATIONS
For me, marking utensils are a must. I love my tracing wheel and colored paper for marking darts and I love my disappearing ink pen as well. Then, there’s chalk to mark new side seams etc. I just bought a new chacoliner pen.
Damjana at AppleGreen Cottage
Such a useful tool, true!
there are two items I love to have to hand, my walking foot and my adjustable hem ruler
I would hate to be without my Korbond sewing Gauge.
Its small metal ruler with a slide down the middle that can be set at different lengths.
Great for hems, hardly ever use a tape measure at my machine now.
One thing not mentioned that I find essential is a stiletto. Mine is an unbent old fine metal crochet hook. I use it every day to hold bits of seams and such right under the foot or to keep seam allowances to not flip at intersections...
totally agree! such a small thing makes such a big difference