Skip to main content

Sewing Kit--- Have to have-s!

The whole sewing kit and kaboodle!

To prepare a good sewing kit

we have to jump a bit ahead of the game. The procedure of sewing includes a multiple of tasks that all need their own equipment.

  • For sizing we need measuring tools.
  • For cutting we need cutting tools.
  • For guides we need marking tools.
  • For stitching we need hand sewing equipment and our sewing machine.
  • Some special tasks need some specialized sewing tools. (such as a zipper foot or gathering foot etc. for the sewing machine, different sized sewing machine needles that are for a specific type material like leather, denim, silk, etc.)
  • Last but definitely not the least we need pressing equipment.


Sewing Machine

Buy the kind of machine you can afford. In my honest opinion until you're ready for all the frillies find a simple solid machine something that offers a straight and a zigzag stitch. All the other things are things you can do without for the time being. There is a hub in the works for what to look for in a sewing machine also.

Please remember that although I will point you into the direction of certain tools it doesn’t mean you have to rush out and buy the same. However that being said every job, no matter if it's sewing or fixing cars, needs a proper tool or at least will make the jobs easier to get done.

For example you can use an ordinary wrench to remove a spark-plug out but (there is always that little three letter word 'but' ) chances of that spark-plug coming out without a problem, is much better with the appropriate ’spark-plug wrench’. It’s the same with sewing. Most tasks can be accomplished but are much easier with the right tool and equipment.

I’ve grouped the necessary tools into three different lists:

  1. Have to have!
  2. Sure would be nice to have… (could make life easier, we'll talk about these as we do the individual jobs, then eventually I'll collect them into a hub)
  3. Oh yeah baby…now we’re talking tools! (top of the line and new stuff, these will be on-going hubs as I find interesting gidgets and gadgets)

If you have individual tips or have different ways of accomplishing certain tasks please share them in the comment box.

List number 1 Have to Have-s:….


Measuring/Marking Tools

  • Tape measure should be flexible and have both standard and metric measurements. The metric system can be more accurate (just my opinion) One of the most important lessons we’ll have, will be based on how to accurately measure. The perfect fit of such as clothing or drapes depends on sizing things just right. 2 or 3 bucks will buy a new 60″ tape. So don’t cheep out and try to make do with grandma’s old stretched out cloth tape or the husbands 20′ Lufkin.
  • Yard or meter stick will come in handy when altering a pattern
  • See through ruler lets you see what you’re measuring and marking
  • Pencil
  • Tailors chalk or marking pencil rem chalk rubs off really easy so only mark things if you’re sewing it right away. The wax based markers or cakes can be sharpened with a pocket knife or steak knife. The marks left behind can be ‘erased’ by pressing with warm iron.
  • Seam guide also called pleater guide is a 6″ short little ‘ruler’ used for accurate measurements of buttonholes, drape pleats, hems etc.
  • Transparent sticky tape (scotch tape)comes in really handy when working with paper patterns

Cutting Tools

  • Scissors/shears important enough to also have it's own hub (check it out here) to be good and sharp, bent handled, anywhere between 8-12″ long (utility kitchen shears won’t do) If you make any kind of investment towards your new hobby spend it on a good pair of tailor shears. Bigger is not necessarily better in this case. Feel how they fit into your hand. Do yourself a favour though, hide them away from the kids. (Paper etc. will dull the blades in no time, also try not to drop them as that could bend the blades, even a tiny bit off and they’ll snag or just quit cutting).
  • Small pair of thread cutting scissors or thread snips that you use beside the machine. Obviously to snip off thread etc. I use a 6″ pair of pointy sharp hair cutting scissors. The sharp point will come in handy but we’ll discuss that at a later date.
  • Paper cutting scissors obviously for paper, patterns etc.
  • Seam ripper this little tool is really handy and multi purposed. It was designed originally in the early 1960’s as a buttonhole cutter. It has been renamed as most use it to rip or un-pluck seams.

Stitching Tools

  • Pins (I like the glass headed thin and long ones the best, at least 1 1/4″ long) there are special kinds for silk and quilting but the standard stainless steel, brass or nickel ones are fine for everyday uses.
  • Pincushion
  • Hand sewing needlessharps’ are the most common used for general type of hand sewing. Ball point needles are made for knit type fabrics. (I love using quilting needles for most of my hand-sewing, which are called ‘In-betweens’ but because they’re short they are not for everyone) With practice you will find your preference.

Tip: for both hand and machine sewing the thinner or finer the needle the less the chance of damaging the fabric. Obviously a thick darning needle will make enormous holes and shouldn’t be used on fine delicate material.

  • Machine sewing needles we’ll be using standard types of needles for now, follow the guide-lines in your machines user manual. (I have a hub in the works where we'll find out all there is to know about all the specifics of sewing machine needles etc)
  • Thread so many different style and types exist, all have their own application and that warrants it’s own hub (also in the works)
Scroll to Continue

Pressing Tools

  • Steam/spray Iron buy the best you can afford. It should have a good selection of temperature to accommodate all the different types of fabric. (shhh! Just you…I’ll let you in on a big secret right here and now…pressing as you go is the key to a tailors success) but more on that later.
  • Ironing board set it up near your sewing machine for easy access
  • Press cloth a piece of muslin is perfect but an old piece of sheeting or pillowcase will work just fine too. This will prevent fabric from getting an ‘iron shine’.

You will also need a basket or box or such, big enough to accommodate all your goodies. It doesn’t need to be anything too fancy for now. One of our first projects will be a multi pocketed ”Sewing Centre” that can either be made as a wall hanging or rolled up. More on that later.

This is the basic sewing kit list that you should have on hand. You can build onto your tools with some of ‘the nice to have list’ at a later date, as you add to your sewing skills.

  • Sew Those Seams---Easy How to Sew Tutorials!
    I'm proud to admit that I'm a stitch-a-holic. I was bitten by the highly contagious sewing bug many, many years ago. There is no cure, no remedy and temporary relief can only be found at the nearest fabric...
  • Hand Embroidery! Hobby, Passion or Obsession???
    A lot of my hobbies have come and gone or have changed and evolvedover the years. There is only one of those hobbies for which my lovehas only deepened and has stayed with me ever since I was 5 years oldand...
  • Truly Hand-made Quilts
    Over the years I've dabbled in most types of art-forms from watercolor painting to pottery to silver-smithing. I'm the kind who has a project on the go for all occasions. While watching TV downstairs I'm just...
  • Sewing Scissors/Shears - Scissors Basics for Every S...
    The first 'mini-lesson' when I start a new set of 'Learn how to sew' classes revolves around scissors. I have had students show up with the $2.95 household scissors that are on special at Walmart... you know...
  • How to fit pants and jeans
    So are you frustrated with ill-fitting pants yet? Before you buy another pair of pants or jeans that sag in the butt, pucker at the pockets and/or fetter around the waist read this guide that will give...
  • Tips For How To Shorten Jeans! Easy step by step met...
    The problem most have with getting jeans shortened is that they don't look the same anymore once the original hem has been cut. Here I'll give you the basic and easy way. The problem most have with getting...
  • Crazy Quilting: not really crazy
    Crazy is maybe the right way to describe me - in more aspects than just quilting. I have the
  • Treadle Sewing Machines:Sew Simple
    Knowing how to use a treadle sewing machine is on it's way to becoming a lost art. Many people think that the treadle, or manually powered, sewing machine is a thing of the past but that is not true.
  • Featherweight Sewing Machines
    The Singer
  • The Inheritance -- Why I Sew
    Sewing is thought to rapidly becoming one of the lost arts in American culture. Maybe it isn't time to count it out. Along with sewing, comes the topic of child labor in garment factories which we'd like to believe is also lost to American culture. U


Zsuzsy Bee (author) from Ontario/Canada on September 25, 2010:

Hiya Support Med. how are you? I hope well. Thank you for checking out the hub and for commenting.

regards Zsuzsy

Support Med. from Michigan on September 24, 2010:

Great tips! Voted/rated.

Zsuzsy Bee (author) from Ontario/Canada on September 03, 2010:

Always glad when you drop by Lady Guinevere.

regards Zsuzsy

Debra Allen from West By God on September 02, 2010:

Oh I see. OK.

Zsuzsy Bee (author) from Ontario/Canada on September 02, 2010:

The extra bobbins are in my next list 'Nice to have' because by rights you really do not have to have one for every color...

Thanks for popping in

regards Zsuzsy

Debra Allen from West By God on September 02, 2010:

You forgot one thing. Bobbins. I have one for just about every color thread. You can't go wrong with having a few white ones. I hate when I run out of bobbin thread before the project is finished or when it runs out when you are sewing an important seam.

Zsuzsy Bee (author) from Ontario/Canada on September 02, 2010:

LillyGrillzit, thank you for taking a look and for commenting. Always glad when you stop by.

regards Zsuzsy

Lori J Latimer from Central Oregon on September 02, 2010:

Thank You! Great holiday Idea for youngun's first starting on their own! Bookmarking! Voted Up

Zsuzsy Bee (author) from Ontario/Canada on August 31, 2010:

Hiya Audrey how are you? After the fire that totally destroyed the building that the shop was in I had to replace everything too. Which was a pain as I had just about every gidget and gadget available on the market some even in triplicate.

Glad you stopped in

regards Zsuzsy

Audrey Kirchner from Washington on August 30, 2010:

Totally agree and you nailed them all! When I restarted sewing a few years ago, I had to go out and buy everything from scratch...oh darn...including the sewing machine but all the stuff sure helps when you need to sew!!

Zsuzsy Bee (author) from Ontario/Canada on August 30, 2010:

Sally's Trove, you wouldn't believe what type of supplies some of my students came to lessons with. (even though they had a list of what was needed)

From pins that could double as nails strong enough to build a house with, sheet metal shears almost two feet long and my favorite a wooden fold up measuring stick an antique from the early 19 hundreds I've seen them all...

hope you and your family are well

regards Zsuzsy

Zsuzsy Bee (author) from Ontario/Canada on August 30, 2010:

SteveoMc, always glad you you pop in for a visit. I know you can do wonders with a spool of thread a needle and scissors, but think of how much more fun you could have if you had the rest of the gidgets and gadgets...

hope you're well

regards Zsuzsy

Sherri from Southeastern Pennsylvania on August 30, 2010:

I was pleased to see that essentials of a sewing kit haven't changed since my mother and grandmother helped me put my sewing basket together many years ago. This is a true evergreen Hub!

SteveoMc from Pacific NorthWest on August 30, 2010:

I have a pair of scissors, and a spool of thread with a needle stuck in it. I thought that this was enough. Maybe I should add some of this stuff. I might have to sew something if I do. Maybe I should just get another color of thread in case I tear something. Nice informative hub.

Zsuzsy Bee (author) from Ontario/Canada on August 29, 2010:

Hiya Paradise, how are you? Later on I can create a hub in which I'll show you how to alter a plain old pant pattern to fit you. I've added it to my list of to do hubs. Thanks for the suggestions.

take care

regards Zsuzsy

Zsuzsy Bee (author) from Ontario/Canada on August 29, 2010:

singlmomat52, always glad when you drop in for a visit. I always find that if you can lay really solid basics in any subject it will help in the long run. Sewing isn't any different either with a solid base and practice you can do just about anything.

hope you're well

regards Zsuzsy

Paradise7 from Upstate New York on August 29, 2010:

Really terrific hub. I remember some but not all of the equipment I need to start sewing again. It's much better to be prepared BEFORE you start a project. Oh, and PS., if you could also give us some pointers on where to find good patterns (preferably online) these days, especially for PANTS! would be most welcome.)

singlmomat52 on August 29, 2010:

Hey Zsuzsy, you are so right on all accounts. When I home schooled I taught other children as well as my own and I taught sewing to some of the girls. They loved it. But there are basics and you covered them all. Excellent hub. Thanks for sharing!!

Zsuzsy Bee (author) from Ontario/Canada on August 29, 2010:

cluense, thank you for taking a look and for commenting.

regards Zsuzsy

Katie Luense from Buffalo, NY on August 29, 2010:

Awesome Hub! I rated it up a notch! Keep on writing because your Hubs are AWESOME!

Related Articles