Basic Sewing Supplies (Video)

When it comes to sewing, there are some basic sewing supplies everyone should have on-hand. And although you may not use all of these supplies with each project, you’ll still want to pick them up to fill your sewing kit with the necessary staples:

– Thread
– Bobbin
– Pins
– Hand-sewing needle
– Pin cushion
– Fabric scissors
– Tailor’s chalk or marking pencils
– Stitch ripper
– Flexible tape measure
– Sewing gauge
– Fray Stop
– Tracing wheel and tracing paper

Watch here…


Before you sew, it’s important that you have the right tools by your side. I’m going to walk you through the names and functions of the basic sewing supplies.

The first thing you’ll want to pick up is thread. You’ll want to look out for good quality thread. We recommend avoiding the bargain bin. And avoid those big spools of thread that are really inexpensive; those are for sergers, which are a different machine. And they’re really fuzzy, they’ll snap, and they’ll break if they go in your regular machine.

So you want to buy a good quality thread. Ideally, you’d like to match your thread content to the content of the garment that you’re making, but I usually choose a cotton thread or an all-purpose– an all-purpose thread.

The next thing you’ll need is a bobbin. We’re going to put thread from the spool of thread onto this bobbin, and it’s going to go in the bottom of your machine and it’s going to help form the stitch.

Now, when you’re buying a bobbin, you want to be careful, because they might look the same, but they’re going to be slightly different; some are a bit more narrow, some are a bit more tall, and some have a bit of a curvature across the top. Ideally, you want to take the bobbin that came with the machine that you bought and take that to the store when you’re purchasing it.

If you have a front load machine, you’re going to see one of these, which is called a bobbin case. Your bobbin fits inside the bobbin case. If you have a drop-in load machine, your bobbin case is built into the machine.

Next thing you’ll want to have are straight pins. The longer they are, the easier they are to use, and you can also find ones with little balls on the top. Those are really easy to grab. A lot of people like them a lot. The only thing you have to be careful of is if you’re ironing, you want to either avoid them or make sure that your pins have a glass head.

You’ll also want to have some hand-sewing needles. I would recommend getting an assortment of them, all different sizes, depending on what your project is and depending on the thread that you’re using.

Also, one of the most important things that you’ll need is a pin cushion. You’re going to put all your pins inside here. The most common is the tomato with this little cherry/chili on the top for sharpening. It’s filled with emery and you’re supposed to poke your pins inside and it helps to sharpen them. Pin cushions come in all different shapes and sizes. There’s also wrist pin cushions, which are really handy, because then your pins are with you at all times.

Then we’ve got scissors. You want to make sure that your scissors are used for fabric and fabric only. Some people use them on tissue. I do. I use them on my pattern tissue pieces, but other people are very particular about keeping these on fabric only.

Then we’ve got marking pencils and tailor’s chalk. They come in different textures, different colors, and what I would recommend is getting a bunch of them so that you can change up what you’re using depending on your fabric, depending on the colour, depending on the type of fabric that you have.

You’ll also use a stitch ripper quite a bit. This is going to be one of your best friends. It’s almost like an eraser for fabric or for mistakes. There’s a little blade inside the ‘U’ and that cuts your stitches. So you just rip your stitches apart whenever you’ve made a mistake.

Then you’ll need a flexible tape measure. This is going to be really handy for when we’re measuring ourselves, when we’re aligning our pattern pieces, and what I would do is keep it on you so that it’s never far.

A sewing gauge is another measuring tool. It’s a hard ruler with a little slider in it. So you pick your distance that you want to measure and it’s great for measuring one distance over a long piece of fabric, because you set your width and then you can measure it as the width is being held.

Another thing that isn’t a mandatory sewing supply, but it’s great to have on hand – it’s called Fray Stop; it’s a flexible fabric glue. So you can put it in the washing machine. It basically holds any threads together. If you have any loose threads in your clothes you can’t snip off, put a little dab of the Fray Stop on there. And we’ve had a student test it out on nylons – it apparently works to keep nylons together too. Usually, I take the cap off and then I put a pin with a head in the top of the bottle, that way it never gets– never gets clogged.

Also you’ll want to have a tracing wheel and tracing paper. These are handy tools also for transferring marks to your fabric. So what you’ll do is, you’ll sandwich your fabric in the tracing paper and you’ll use the tracing wheel to draw your markings over top. Your– the tracing paper will transfer those markings onto your fabric.

These are the basic sewing supplies that you’ll want to have on hand.

Um, also you’ll want to have – tracing paper. What the heck is this called?

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