Thursday, November 12, 2009

New Sewists Thursdays - The Proper Tool for the job!

Many people come back to sewing or start sewing to save money.  Some times when attempting to save money we scrimp on the tools of the trade.  Or maybe we don't gather all of the tools because we are not sure of what we should have...

So today's post will be about the tools that a new sewist should have in her personal sewing toolbox.

1 pair of dressmaker's shears - 7 or 8 inch
1 pair of pinking shears
1 seam ripper (or maybe 2 - since I have 3!!!)
1 tape measure
1 6" measurement gauge
1 Dressmaker's Ruler
Pkg of dressmaker's chalk
1 Wash-away pen
Rotary Cutter and blades
Pkg of handsewing needles
2 pkgs of sewing machine needles in every size
1 pkg of dressmaking pins
a pincushion - tomato or magnetic
pattern weights (if you use a rotary cutter to cut out patterns)

I also think that all beginning sewists should have a "how-to" sew book too...either The Reader's Digest Version, The Vogue/Butterick sewing book or the Simplicity book...but something that you can turn to for help with beginning questions.

I don't think a good carpenter goes out to work without a complete toolbox and a committed sewist should not start a sewing job without the proper tools either...well at least IMHO.

So if you are missing anything from the above list, I would encourage you to add it to your sewing toolbox.  Having the right tool for the job makes the job easier to do!

Now as usual this is a community discussion.  If you think I've missed anything or if you use something consistently that I've missed, please feel free to add it to the list! always, more later!

p.s.  thanks for all the get well wishes!!


  1. Good basic list Carolyn. The only thing I would add would be a good fit book, but only after some experience is gained. Any other notions can be added as you progress.

  2. Another good how to book, but it is pretty short, is the Singer one, I got mine at Hancock's when I first started sewing. It "broke me in" on basics but the Vogue is my favorite reference.

  3. And maybe a mat to go with the rotary cutter and ruler. Some people don't know it requires a self healing mat to use.

    - Myrna

  4. Great listing , especially for the new sewers! Once other book that is excellent for learning to sew is the DK Sewing book. It has pictures of every step in the construction of garments.

  5. Great list, Carolyn! I'd add (once you decide you actually like sewing!) a ham, bamboo point turner, point presser/clapper and a sleeve board - I absolutely could not sew without these things.

  6. It's a great beginners list, but if you are going to use a rotary cutter, then you will also need a cutting mat, the largest you can afford.
    I have lots of little notions, because I am a notions nut, that I love, but are really not essential. I do agree with Gigi about the sleeve board. I couldn't sew without it.

  7. Seam guage, seam guage, seam guage! And one of those magnetic seam guides that sticks on to the throat plate if you have no markings! Guesstimating 5/8" is hard for a beginner (or is that just me)!

  8. Funny how CyberGirly right before me says seam gauge, as I was just going to say I never use mine. I only have one because my mother did/does. LOL!

    I would add Wonder Tape (for zippers and a million other things) and/or a washable glue stick. And thread nippers/small scissors of some sort for cutting threads at the machine.

    And, depending on age ... a bright light.

  9. I think new sewists will soon learn how much fun it is to collect tools and books. Your list is comprehensive, but I'm sure we experienced sewists have scores of tools - some we seldom use.

  10. Snips on a ribbon long enough to wear around your neck, balanced by another pincushion, a roundish one.

    A pair of tweezers.

    And, depending on age,a magnifying glass to go with DebbieCook's bright light!

  11. A lighter to singe the edges of your ribbons so they don't fray. You just hit the edge of it with the flame.

    I've decided I'm not going to call it a seam ripper anymore since I hear so many heavy sighs in my class. I've been calling it a "perfection tool" :)

    Enjoy your sewing moments!

  12. Tape. Plain old scotch tape. Because one doesn't always cut out the pattern correctly, and even if you do, small furry assistants are always there to rearrange things.

    Also a magnifying glass, if one is of a certain age - helps to thread needles.

  13. That marking tracing paper and a smooth wheel is the only thing I can instantly add to your list. Spare bobbins are a godsend, too. And I have at least 3 seam rippers and 3 of the 6" dressmaker's gauges, because they just wander away from me. This is a good "starter's list"!

  14. Great list of sewing tools, I will add thread spools and some basting thread.

  15. Sewing to save money, huh? BWAHAHAHAHA! Sorry. It's a good list, though.

  16. I'm surprised no one has mentioned a thimble! Hand sewing and the ability to sew by hand (those finishing touches) are sooo important and can make or break the success of your sewing projects.

    It is so important that new sewists learn (and learn well) basic hand sewing stitches (with the thimble) early in their sewing career. You'll never regret the practice time invested.

  17. I'm think this list might need an iron. Seem to do a lot of pressing. I love this basic list it is very good.

  18. Great list. I've been enjoying your blog so much even if I don't always comment.
    I used painters tape for the first time recently to mark the wrong side and wrote pattern number the of pieces on it. Handy when the right and wrong side of the fabric are the same, and some of the pieces are similar in size and shape.

  19. Glad your feeling better!
    Nice list Carolyn, and some good additions from everyone. I guess I would add a nail file, bandaides, a spoon, and a bamboo skewer. I always seem to find a snag on my nails when I'm sewing, having one in the kit saves having to stop and go find one. The bandaids - also to save having to go find one, can also double as a thimble for a short time. A spoon can be used to do a small pressing, such as small seams, but don't press so hard you stretch the seam out of shape. The bamboo skewer is useful for adjusting the fabric under the presser foot, and it's a bit safer for the machine also.
    And a reminder that the hardware store is an excellent source for some tools (big stainless washers for pattern weights for example). It seems that when they take an item (such as plastic storage boxes) and put a "sewing/crafting" sticker on it, they double the price. Or the quality may be better at the hardware store if the price is the same.

  20. I would be interested in knowing what tools you have that you don't use.

  21. Ciao, how are you? J'aime your post, thanks for sharing! Have a good weekend :) come check out the new posts! ;)


  22. I have a question about your list; what do you use the pinking shears for?

  23. Pinking shears are one of the ways you can prevent edges from fraying-it can be used as a seam finish, like you would use an overlocker(serger) or the zigzag stitch ion your sewing machine.


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