This is an in-depth list of sewing tools and equipment which you can use at your studio or office frequently. Please don’t feel as though you need to buy everything on this list right away! As you build your sewing skills, you can refer to this Homehyme’s list to help you decide which items you need.
Also Read: 30 Basic Rules of Stitching You Need To Know
If you’re just getting your home studio set up, we’d recommend starting with the following super useful items.
- Fabric Shears
- Paper Scissors
- Hand Sewing Needles
- Pattern Making Ruler
- Stitch Ripper
- Chalk, washable marking pencils or markers
1. Cutting Tools
- Fabric shears – The sharper, the better! Make sure your scissors are comfortable, as you may be using them for extended periods of time. Unless you plan on cutting multiple layers of fabric or chiffon, you don’t need to invest in super expensive tailors shears when you’re starting out.
Buy scissors that suit your needs. $10-$20 is reasonable. Make sure to only use these scissors for fabric; as if you use them to cut paper or other things you will dull the blades. It’s best to get a pair that has a screw in the center, this means you can undo the screw, and separate the blades of the scissors. You need to be able to separate them to get them properly sharpened.
- Rotary cutter – Much like a pizza cutter, the circular blade slices right through the fabric. Always use with a self-healing cutting mat to protect your table surface. You can use a ruler as a straight edge to ensure straight lines. Make sure to have the safety on and use caution whenever you are not using the rotary cutter; the blade is VERY sharp!
- Pinking Shears – These scissors cut zigzag, fray resistant edges. They are excellent for finishing seams and raw edges.
- Thread Clipper, Snips or Embroidery Scissors – A small tool used for cutting loose threads, making buttonholes, or ripping seams open.
2. Tracing Tools
Different marking tools have different qualities that make them appropriate for different fabrics. Most tools will work well on stable fabrics like woven non-stretch cotton.
The most difficult fabrics to mark are lightweight fabrics like chiffon, and very stretchy fabrics like bamboo film. Although we don’t use these in any of the beginner classes, we recommend using a washable marker or a chalk pen for these fabrics.
- Chalk wheel/chalk pen -This tracing tool has a refillable cartridge with loose chalk dust and a rotary wheel at the tip of the tool. It comes in multiple colors (white, blue, pink, yellow) for marking many colors of fabric.
When you drag this wheel along the fabric, it will dispense the chalk. Produces thin accurate lines that mark nearly every medium/heavy weight fabric easily. Use caution when replacing the cartridge so no chalk gets spilled!
- Tailors chalk -This chalk is traditionally sold in boxes and comes in the form of a thin wedge. It is designed to make temporary marking on cloth. Once the markings are no longer useful they can be easily brushed off or washed out. Tailors chalk can be sharpened by carefully dragging an Exact a knife along the edge.
Marks nearly every medium/heavy weight fabric easily.
- Quilters Pencils – Washable colored pencils that work well on woven cotton.
- Washable Marker – This blue marker will disappear from your fabric with water. Do not put this in the wash with soap/detergent, some of these soaps can react negatively with the marker and make it stain your fabric. Always test your fabric first to make sure it reacts well with your fabric marker!
- Fast fade marker/invisible marker – This purple marker will fade from your fabric within a few days, or can also be washed out of the fabric. Most of these markers will be double-ended, with the marker on one end and an eraser on the on the other end.
- Wax – Comes in the form of a thin wedge. Wax tends to leave a residue on your fabric and is very difficult to try and remove. It can also melt through to the other side of your fabric when you iron it. We don’t generally recommend using wax unless nothing else will show up on your fabric.
Always test out your tracing tool first on your fabric. You want to be certain it will wash out and not leave a residue
3. Other Handy Tools
- Needle threaded – the wire loop on this tiny tool is inserted into the eye of the needle. The thread goes through the loop, and is then pulled back through the eye when you pull out your needle threaded.
- Bias tape – narrow strip of fabric, cut on the bias. It can be used to bind and finish the edge of fabric. You can make your own with the help of a bias tape maker, or you can buy it ready made in several widths and styles (simple bias tape, single-fold bias tape, and double-fold bias tape.)
- Bias tape maker – This device fold bias strips into bias tape with the help of your iron.
- Stitch Ripper – A small tool used for unpicking stitches. The sharp, curved edge makes it easy to open up seams. Rip a stitch every 3-4 stitches along the entire length of the seam to be opened and the thread on the opposite side should fall right out.
- Pattern Making Ruler – Clear 2″ wide flexible ruler. They make measuring curves, adding seam allowance, and checking 90 degree angles very easy.
- Polyester thread – All-purpose thread that is very durable and strong. It won’t shrink in the wash, and the color doesn’t fade over time.
- Cotton thread – Not as strong as polyester thread and it will shrink in the wash. This is used by quilters to achieve a “puckered” look.
- Top stitching thread – Tough, thick and strong thread used for bold decorative stitches often seen on denim. Also used for sewing buttons onto outerwear, and making gathers on heavy fabric like denim, canvas, or leather.
- Elastic Thread – Used to create ruffles and faux-smocking.
- Invisible zipper – have the teeth of the zipper hidden behind a tape, so that the zipper is invisible. The zipper pull itself will always have a slim appearance.
- Regular zipper – It is the most common zipper. It has a bulkier zipper pull compared to the invisible zipper and the teeth are exposed.