What you Need to Start Sewing

Did you just order your first sewing machine? Or perhaps you are considering your first sewing machine purchase? If so, I am sure you are wondering what you need to start sewing…RIGHT AWAY. So, whether you are waiting for your machine, or contemplating purchasing one, below is a list of things you NEED to be able to sew most beginner-friendly projects after you have your sewing machine.


  • Thread – Look for an All Purpose thread.  If you are only buying one, for now, I recommend getting a light grey.  It will blend in best with most other colors.
  • Fabric – I am not sure you can make anything without some fabric on hand. Get some basic cotton or flannel to practice on.  But I have a secret… did you know that you can sew on paper? It is true.  You can learn more about that and how you can practice sewing lines here: A Guide to Practice Your Sewing Stitches
  • Fabric scissors – also known as cutting shears, these have a variety of options.  Nice, expensive ones are nice to have, however, you can get buy with any fabric scissors to start with.  I personally like my ergonomic scissors. I sew OFTEN, and they were not expensive and have not needed sharpening. They work just fine for me and were fairly cheap.  You can also buy fabric scissors in multipacks. Not a bad idea! But, not necessary either. I like to keep a pair at my sewing table, and one at my cutting table. Having more than one pair is handy. You can learn more about the different kinds of fabric shears here.
  • Pins & Clips – I went for years before I discovered clips.  Love them! Would recommend them! But they do not replace my pins.  If I had to choose between my clips or pins if I were just starting, clips I lived without for years, pins I can not. If your budget allows, I would invest in both.  If not, start with pins. I recommend getting a glass-headed pin. You can learn more about the types of pins here: See the Point: Hand Sewing Pins and Needles. But the glass-headed are good because they will not melt when you need to iron your projects as some others may.


  • Self-Adhesive Mat – These are needed for measuring and make a nice surface for cutting your fabric on. They come in various sizes, so I recommend a larger one that is a minimum of 36 inches by 24 inches. This should give you a large enough surface to complete most beginner projects.
  •  Ruler– Straight lines are nice to have, and so is a ruler to help you make them. Years ago I bought one that has a little handle on it, and it is the kind I would recommend as well. This little handle/knob helps you hold it down securely with a little pressure while protecting your fingers. It also makes it easier to pick it up and move it around.
  • Rotary Cutter – I do not think I could live without mine. These are a staple in cutting straight lines.


TIP: It would be helpful to know what items you are going to sew first. Make a list and find a good tutorial that you can follow. Look at the list of materials you would need to complete your project. This is the best way to know what is NEEDED for you.  The items above will work across the board.



Suggested Items:

  • Fusible fleece interfacing – When I first started I found a lot of the beginner projects I wanted to sew called for interfacing. Although there are a lot of interfacing choices, a fusible fleece interfacing is nice to always have on hand in your sewing room.
  • Zippers, ribbon and/or webbing – Each of these are always nice t have on hand as well. There are many styles of bags that make good beginner projects, and having this in your supplies will let you jump right in.
Joan Mantini

About Joan Mantini

After several years of being the Facebook page owner at Beginner Sewing, I noticed there was a desperate need to have a single go-to spot for members to be able to find answers to their common questions, get some useful tips & tricks, as well as find reputable places to purchase sewing products online. Taking my role as a trade publication editor by day, and combining it with my knowledge of frequently requested beginner sewing advice, I created www.beginner-sewing.com. An outlet that gives new sewists a free digital magazine geared for entry level sewing as an extra bonus!


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