Must-Have Sewing Tools and Equipment

By: Kristen Auletto, Editor,

Video: How to Use a Seam RipperIf you are a beginner sewist, you might be confused as you peruse the list of required materials or sewing tools needed to complete a project. Sure, you're familiar with needles, pins, and thread, but when you get beyond the basics, it gets a little bewildering. Even if you're an experienced sewist, you might not be familiar with every sewing tool and term. This collection, Must-Have Sewing Tools and Equipment, will help you learn about all the basic sewing tools and their uses. These sewing tools are essential for most easy sewing projects, so it is important to know what exactly they can do and how to use them.


Must-Have Sewing Tools and Equipment

How to Sharpen Scissors

Fabric shears: Fabric shears are scissors that you must use exclusively for cutting your fabric. You should never use these shears for cutting paper or any other material, as they can become dull and damaging to fabrics. Make sure to pick out a pair of scissors that are comfortable to hold, especially if you plan to do a lot of sewing. Also, learn how to sharpen your scissors correctly to keep them in good shape.


Pinking shears: Pinking shears are scissors with a zigzag edge, which can help you make decorative cuts and patterns. They are also great for cutting fabrics that fray or unravel easily.


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How to Use a Rotary CutterUsing a Rotary Cutter

Rotary cutter: A rotary cutter is another sewing tool used to cut fabric. It consists of a round blade that cuts fabric by rotating as it is rolled along fabric. Rotary cutters are great for cutting several layers of fabric and for creating rounded edges of patterns. It is important to keep your blade sharp so you don't damage your fabrics. 


Self-healing cutting mat: If you are using a rotary cutter, a self-healing mat is a must-have sewing tool so that you don't damage your work surface. Any nicks or dents in a self-healing mat will not be permanent. The mat will also keep your fabric from slipping and protect your blade from becoming dull.

How to Use a Seam Ripper

Seam ripper: Of all the sewing tools and equipment, a seam ripper might be the most necessary.  A seam ripper is a little metal device that helps you pull out stitches without damaging your sewing projects. Even the most experienced sewists make mistakes, so make sure your seam ripper is handy to help you unpick stitches and resew a seam. With a good seam ripper, you'll save yourself so much trouble and frustration.


Seam gauge: A seam gauge is a ruler used to measure small areas when sewing. It is useful for maintaining accuracy when sewing hems, making alternations and completing other hand sewing projects. Making exact measurements is important to creating quality sewing projects.


Water or air soluable pen: Mark your measurements with a water or air soluable pen that won't leave permanent marks. You can also use a fabric pencil or chalk that washes off easily. Make sure you don't use these utencils on easily watermarked fabrics, such as silk.


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I need all of these tools plus I use a wooden chop stick for making sure my points are right and I use some long sewing tweezers for threading my machine a must for me. I also use the chopsticks for turning my fabric. Also safty pins for elastic too. How about you?

I make lots of toys, headbands and other projects which require turning small pieces inside out, I would be lost without my pet grooming forceps as the little grooves grip the fabric and make turning the right side out a breeze. I also always have a bamboo knitting needle on standby to point out the corners and ensure that the stuffing is spread evenly. In terms of machine sewing it would have to be my quilting foot as it is the best way to get the perfect straight line.


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