Every seamstress needs the right tools to get the job done. Whether you’re cutting fabric, putting together patterns, or adding snaps, you’ll need at least a few tools to help you complete your projects. I’ve compiled a list of 8 sewing tools you need to have.
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1. Scissors: you can’t sew without scissors. From cutting fabric to snipping threads, the right scissors are important! I reach for my Gingher shears most often. So often, in fact, that I have two pairs on my cutting table. You also need a pair of sharp scissors for snipping threads close to the fabric. Embroidery scissors work great for this. There are lots of other scissors I use, but these are definitely the must-haves. Sidenote: don’t let anyone cut paper with your sewing scissors! They will dull very quickly.
2. Rotary cutters: If you want to cut your fabric out quickly or you’re cutting many pieces at once, a rotary cutter will help immensely! I have three different sizes of rotary cutters: 18mm, 28mm, and 45mm. I use my large rotary cutter most often, but the smaller ones are great for curves and notches, especially in kids’ clothing. I have the blue one because it’s blue… and pretty. Priorities. ;) If you’re using a rotary cutter, you’ll also need a cutting mat to cut on, so you don’t slice up your table. A clear ruler is also super helpful for making straight cuts.
3. Magnetic pin holder: now some might argue with me about this one, but for me a magnetic pin holder is a must. It’s super easy to grab pins and also drop them while you’re sewing. Mine is made by a local artisan, but there are many different kinds available. I use a pincushion as well, but I keep this right by my sewing machine so that as I pull pins out, I can toss them on here and know they won’t end up on the floor for little feet to find.
4. Seam rippers: As you sew, so shall you rip. Every seamstress makes mistakes or needs to re-fit a garment and a seam ripper is essential to taking out your seams without destroying your fabric. My seam ripper and I are good… friends ;) … so I have three with a comfy handle. I somehow always seem to misplace mine when I need it, so having multiples keeps me sane.
5. Wonder Clips: some fabrics shouldn’t be pinned (like leather) and many layers of fabric can be bulky. Wonder Clips are wonderful (see what I did there?? ;) for holding fabric together when pinning isn’t a good option.
6. Glue sticks: They’re more than just school supplies! Glue sticks are perfect for assembling patterns and even keeping hems or seams in place in a pinch. If you’re going to use it often for fabric and sewing over it, however, I’d get a glue that’s specifically designed for sewing. But regular glue stick is perfect for pattern piecing!
7. Kam Snaps and Pliers: Buttonholes can be scary and time-consuming to a beginning seamstress, so snaps are a fantastic alternative! Kam Snaps are super easy to install and can be used for SO many things. Kids’ clothing, diapers, accessories, etc. Even experienced seamstresses know how useful a tool snaps can be!
8. Sewing machines: The last tool (or tools) that a seamstress needs, obviously, is a sewing machine. You can, of course, sew by hand. But if you want to sew garments and bags, you’ll need a good machine. My main sewing machine is a Juki HZL-F400. I’ve had it for less than a year, but I couldn’t be happier with it. The knee pedal alone is a game-changer! This baby has sewn through multiple layers of thick fabric, handles denim no problem, and has even sewn through thick jute rope! Along with my main machine, I have a serger and a coverstitch machine. If you want to sew clothing, these are a great investment – especially if you want to sew knits! Not sure what they do? Look at the inside of a T-shirt you bought at the store: those seams and the hem are done with a serger and a coverstitch. If you don’t have either, start with a serger.
There are so many tools you can use as a seamstress – and trust me, I have many more ;) – but these are definitely tools that you need to have in your sewing room! What are your favorite sewing tools??