What Do You Need to Start Sewing? Entry-Level Beginners Guide

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Last updated: August 26, 2023
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With the right equipment, sewing is pure joy. You can create whatever you want and express your unique view of beauty and fashion. If you are new to sewing, our list of must-have supplies will help you to achieve excellent results with your very first project. When the time comes, and you’ve upped your skills for more advanced sewing projects, you can simply expand the list and add items for your needs.

Choosing a sewing machine

There are so many different types of sewing machines on the market, loaded with unknown features, that novices often feel overwhelmed. Here are two primary rules to make sure you choose the right unit:

  1. Stick to reliable brands like Brother, Bernina, Singer, and Ever Sewn. These companies offer models with reasonable prices, perfect stitch quality, and excellent warranty terms. In addition, the customer service is great, and the technical support is beginner-oriented. If you are a budget-conscious buyer, who wants to get the best value for money, read our detailed buying guide on this topic.
  2. Choose computerized sewing machines with basic functions. Automatic bobbin winding, needle threading, thread cutting, and other easy-to-use features will make sewing a breeze. Don’t get too excited about excess features like 370 built-in designs for embroidery. First things first, learn to sew well, and you can upgrade your machine once you need the extra features and can make use of them.

What Do You Need to Start Sewing? Entry-Level Beginners Guide

How do you find the perfect iron for sewing and quilting?

Accomplished sewers and quilters know the importance of a high-quality, durable iron. The best iron for quilting and sewing smoothes out fabric wrinkles and creases with minimal effort. This powerful device prepares the material for sewing and helps you to avoid potential mistakes and inconveniences. Every time you sew, it saves your time and energy.

We give you useful tips for choosing the right iron among all the variety of models on the market. Here are seven recommendations based on many years of experience:

  1. Avoid no-name manufacturers. We suggest choosing from well-known brands such as Rowenta, Oliso, and Panasonic. These companies offer attractive prices, good warranty terms, and outstanding customer support.
  2. If possible, choose a cordless iron with an adjustable soleplate for delicate fabrics. Sewing work areas tend to be messy, so it is easier to operate a device without a cord.
  3. Look at easy-to-use units. Irons with a large water tank will save you time. It can be very annoying having to turn off the iron multiple times, fill it up and wait while it’s heating.
  4. Choose a model with a quick heating time, under 7 minutes. This is yet another timesaving feature that a functional unit must have.
  5. Steam irons are the best, especially when it comes to heavy fabrics such as denim or canvas – they can handle the most stubborn wrinkles! They are also some of the best irons for quilting. However, if you want to save even more time and effort, consider getting a steam press.
  6. Many sewers appreciate models with a no shut-off function. It can be disappointing when you’re sewing with passion and the iron suddenly turns off. Sometimes it can even kill any of the inspiration you may have had for working on your project.
  7. Find the right soleplate for your needs. A low-quality soleplate is dangerous for the fabric. While ironing, the fabric can stick to it, get stained or even burned. There are many materials of soleplates, choose ones that are suitable for your type of fabric.

What Do You Need to Start Sewing? Entry-Level Beginners GuideIf you want to purchase the perfect iron without flaws that will serve you for years, then read buying guides with ratings and comparison tables. Pay attention not only to the appearance, but also to technical characteristics. In our buying guide, for example, we carried out very detailed research. We picked out several models that we believe are ideal for newbies and one that is the overall best.

Do not forget about an ironing board – this is also important for quick and effortless ironing. Let’s skip the obvious explanation and consider that a large comfortable ironing board with steady legs is better than a small or unstable one. Choose a model that is easy-to-store in your house or apartment, while also providing you with enough space to smooth the pieces of material for your projects.

Helpful accessories

In addition to a sewing machine, iron and ironing board, you’ll need the following six items:

  1. Good-quality threads. Choose any colors you like, but don’t buy very cheap products. Cheap threads break easily and cause constant problems with rethreading.
  2. Two pairs of sharp scissors. Pinking scissors are small, with sharp points for removing unnecessary threads. Shears are a bigger pair, with straight blades for cutting fabrics. Never use the tools for any other purpose than sewing. Get the best ones you can find, because this is a long-term investment. We think that Fiscars and Singer make high-quality scissors. However, you can choose any other reliable brand. Two pairs will be enough for a beginner. In the future, you can add more special-purpose shears.
  3. Sharp and sturdy hand sewing needles. Unexpected, right? So why do you need hand sewing needles, if you have already bought a good sewing machine? The answer is simply that these needles are necessary for sewing on buttons and some other finishing details.
  4. A cutting board with straight and bias lines. The lines will help you to cut the material properly. The board should be easy-to-store, durable and very straight.
  5. Lots of ball point pins. For beginners, pinning is the easiest way to make perfect seams. To collect pins, you can use a magnetic bowl.
  6. Seam rippers. One or two sharp seam rippers with non-slip handles help you to correct inevitable mishaps.

What Do You Need to Start Sewing? Entry-Level Beginners GuideMoreover, you need these four things:

  1. Marking tools: pens, pencils or chalks for fabric.
  2. Measuring tape.
  3. See-through ruler.
  4. Extra bobbins.
  5. Extra sewing machine needles.

You can have a look at sewing kits in local stores or online. Some of them have an affordable price and include most of the mentioned items.

Tip! From our experience, we recommend you to buy products separately and pay attention to their quality.

If you intend to own a sewing kit, then invest some money in it. It is always wiser than grabbing a cheap low-quality set of who-knows-what. Your sewing experience will be such a pleasure with the proper devices, tools, and accessories!

Tips to organize your work area

Most beginners start sewing in a complete mess. Rolling bobbins, entangled threads, pieces of cloths everywhere. It’s difficult to find anything in this chaos, let alone work in it.

To avoid common problems, this is how you can keep your space in order:

  1. Use separate boxes for the bobbins, textile, and tools.
  2. Collect pins and needles in two or more magnetic plates or stick them into little pillows.
  3. After finishing work, always try to put things in their places.
  4. Put a dust cover on your sewing machine to protect the device.

You can find a wide variety of smart sewing organizers, beautiful boxes, caddies and other stuff for sewing equipment storage in local stores or online.

Sewing classes

To feel more confident in your learning progress, you can take sewing classes. There are plenty of step-by-step lessons online and many real-life master classes. With the right teacher, everything will be easier to understand and learn.

Some newcomers take classes before buying a sewing machine and other accessories. This is a smart decision, as a teacher will be able to answer all your questions and help you to choose the perfect equipment. We gave you basic knowledge that’s worth knowing, no matter whether you will study with a teacher or not. We wish you inspiration in sewing and many successful masterpieces!

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