10 Sewing Tools That Belong in Your First Box

We know from experience that a sewing box can get out of control fast. And while it's fun to shop for all the bells and whistles, you really only need 10 things to tackle most projects (other than a sewing machine, of course). Make sure you have all of these tools and you'll be set to sew, stat!

Fabric Scissors

Shop it: Gingher Scissor 5inch Sewing Shear
It's super important to have sharp scissors, and that you only use them on fabric. Cutting through other surfaces (even paper!) dulls the blade, translating to tons of frustration when you sit down to sew.

Tailor's Chalk

Use this to transfer pattern markings onto their corresponding fabric pieces, especially if you're working with dark fabric. Pro tip: when you don't need the marks anymore, simply brush 'em off with a second piece of fabric. So easy!

Seam Ripper

Shop it: Rip It Away Seam Ripper
Though it's no fun to remove stitches, a sharp seam ripper gets the job done quickly whether you've made a mistake or are revamping an existing piece. Just remember, these dull after a lot of use — if it's been awhile since you replaced yours, now may be the perfect time!

Measuring Tape

Shop it: Zero Center Tape Measure
It feels like a no-brainer, but hey, it's essential for taking accurate body measurements . Bonus: it's perfect for measuring fabric width and items that are longer than your sewing gauge or clear ruler.

Water-Soluble Fabric Marker

Shop it: Collins Fine Line Blue Water Erase Marking Pen
Fabric markers are used the same as tailor's chalk, but the blue (or sometimes purple) color creates crisp, fine lines on light or white fabrics. Most wash away easily with water, just be sure to read the package instructions first.

Seam Gauge

This little ruler is great for creating perfectly even hems and taking small measurements. The plastic arrow slider moves the length of the ruler — simply set it to your desired measurement and you can quickly mark a set length in multiple areas.

Hand-Sewing Needles

Shop it: Clover Self-Threading Assorted Needles
These little guys are great when you're basting, mending, sewing on buttons or hand sewing an invisible seam . Grab a variety of sizes: you'll need 'em to work with different weights of fabric.


The size of your collection will depend on how many projects you have going, since you'll want to match your thread color to the fabric. (That said, it's always good to keep cream and black in stock.) Make sure your thread is high quality: the cheaper stuff may break easily, causing sewing machine (or wardrobe!) malfunctions.


Shop it: Longarm Quilting Pins
Use pins to hold multiple layers of fabric together until they are sewn. The length and type are up to you: some are thin and meant for fine fabric, while others are longer for use in quilting. General-purpose glass or plastic round-head pins are the most common, though you can always go for a more colorful option, like these flower-shaped pins that come in a variety of hues.

Pin Cushion

Shop it: Dritz Pin Cushion Dresden Plate
You'll definitely need somewhere safe to stash those pins. Keeping them in a bag or box is like asking for a poke on the fingertip, so err on the side of caution with a colorful storage unit. (PS: Instead of buying a pin cushion, you could DIY this cute cake version !)

5 Advanced Sewing Box Essentials

Consider these added tools and notions a bit more varsity level. They're certainly not needed to get started sewing, but the more you learn and progress, the more frequently you'll find yourself reaching for these items.

Pinking Shears

These leave a line of zigzags as they cut through fabric. The angled cuts are less likely to fray, so they help create more durable finished edges inside your sewing projects.

Point Turner

This wooden tool has a slightly rounded tip to gently push fabric when turning corners right-side out. Very handy for projects like pillows , tote bags and shirt collars!

Thread Snips

These easy-to-grab scissors generally have spring-loaded blades and are great for cutting threads when machine stitching. The pointed tips also help when trimming threads close to the fabric and clipping curved edges.

Rotary Cutter

The rounded blade on a rotary cutter allows you to make more accurate, straight cuts. It's perfect for cutting quilt blocks or along curves, and can cut through multiple layers. Some sewers even use it instead of fabric scissors — so long as they're able to handle one safely .

Self-Healing Cutting Mat

A large or small cutting mat is an absolute must when using a rotary cutter, as it protects your sewing surface and keeps your blades sharp longer.

July 24, 2018
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10 Sewing Tools That Belong in Your First Box