sewing 101, Techniques, tutorial

Sewing 101: Supplies

I’m guest posting over at Pickup Some Creativity with my supplies list too, so be sure to check out all of Chris’ ideas and guest posts with lots of great sewing advice and tricks!  She’s hosting Sewing 101 all month, yay!

I’m hoping this will be a great resource for those of you new to sewing (and maybe some of you that aren’t so new).  Here are a few of the supplies I keep on hand at all times (hopefully).  I used to find myself going to the craft store/fabric store all the time to buy basic stuff, but now that I know what things I typically make, I keep those ready to use in my sewing area.  Just a few other notes, I always try and find a coupon to Hobby Lobby, Hancock fabrics (or Joanns), and Michaels when I know I need something.  It’s also a good idea to be sure to stock up on thread and maybe even some buttons you like when they go on sale at 50% off.

Here’s what a find myself using over and over again:

  1.  Extra rotary cutter blades.  I purchase mine at Michaels with a 40% off coupon.
  2. 45mm Rotary Cutter.  I didn’t picture the self healing mat, but you must have one to use with the rotary cutter, they come in lots of different sizes, but use a coupon!
  3. Smaller scissors for detail work.
  4. General scissors.  I do have a pair of dressmaking shears (scored big time as a gift), but I use the ones pictures here for everything, even cutting paper
  5. Seam ripper.  Enough said.
  6. Needles.  I’ve been known to go through 4 needles on a single step of a project before, so be sure to have a package handy.  I use 11 most often, but 14 and 16 are nice for making bags, etc.  Also pick up a few ballpoint needles for using when sewing with knits.
  7. Zipper foot!  My friend.  Also for making piping.
  8. Darning foot.  For free motion quilting.  I’ve used these on napkins, etc.  You can do really cool stuff with this foot, just think of it as sketching with thread.
  9. Walking foot.  Definitely buy one of these if you plan on making any quilts.  It allows the fabric to feed through evenly, even when there are many layers.  I use mine on bags, etc. as well.
  10. Chop stick, for poking out corners.
  11. Water soluble pen.
  12. Small flat head screwdriver for tightening the feet on my machine.
  13. Fray check.
  14. Elastic thread.
  15. Pins, definitely buy the nicest ones you can afford, it makes it so much easier to push through fabrics.
  16. Bobbins.  Keep a few extras on hand.  I rotate with about 8 bobbins, a must when you make a lot of different project.
  17. Clear grid ruler.  It would also be a good idea to get one of those handy suction cup handles to make sure your fingers stay out of the way of your rotary cutter.
  1. Glue gun.
  2. Elastic.  Sizes ranging from 1/4″ to 1″ in width.
  3. Spray starch.
  4. Velcro.  I have 3/4″ and it seems to work well for a lot of different projects.
  5. Safety pin.  For pushing elastic through a waistband casing.
  6. Needle for hand sewing.
  7. Twill tape.  I think it can add a lot of detail to a project as well as being useful for a 1001 other things.
  8. Spray adhesive.  I used mine for my mail organizer, but I’ve also heard of people using it with making cards with fabric scraps.
  1. Cotton webbing.  Fun for tote bags and more, lots of fun colors to choose from.
  2. Grommets.  I like the special touch it adds to projects.  I have 7/16″ and 3/8″
  3. Thread, lots of it, especially white, cream, brown.  I like to use 100% cotton thread for quilting.
  4. Magnetic snaps.  For purses, clutches, etc.  I buy mine from BeingBags on etsy.
  5. Zippers, my favorite notion.  I only keep 14″ and 8″ zippers on hand.  If I need another length or an invisible zipper I make sure to buy it on my next trip to the store.  I buy mine at Zipit on etsy.
  6. Snaps/snap setter.  I use this brand, I really like the variety they have.  Size 16 covers most projects I’ve made.
  7. Buttons.
  1. Medium weight fusible interfacing.  I also have a bit of lightweight interfacing.  And it is handy to have some Peltex around (double sided fusible heavyweight interfacing).
  2. Iron on adhesive, great for applique.  I have Heat n Bond, but I think Wonder Under is the same stuff?
  3. Fusible fleece.  Great for bags, zippered pouches, give a nice padded effect and gives body.
  4. Cotton quilt batting.
  5. Polyester fill.  For making softies, your own pillow forms, etc.
  6. Muslin.  I use a lot for lining pillows and this is another one for 1001 other uses.
  7. Plain cotton canvas, great to use as a sew in interfacing for bags., etc.
I’m sure there are some goodies I forgot, so please feel free to leave any of your favorite essentials in the comments section!  I also want to note that these are the items I regularly use.  I did not receive any monetary compensation (or otherwise) for my opinion on any of these products.

33 thoughts on “Sewing 101: Supplies

  1. Maggie says:

    Anna! I just love your posts…so good!! And, your supplies list is great, I love to see a peak into what you find helpful in sewing 🙂 Have a super sweet day!

  2. Anna, do by any chance shop at WalMart? I have the exact scissors and spray starch! I’m glad you did this. It helps a tons and will come back for this in the future as I try new projects.

  3. Chris says:

    Thanks for the great info, Anna. Time to head back to the store!

  4. Katherine says:

    I sew both crafts and formal wear and I get a lot of use out of the rolled hem foot for my sewing machine and the blind hem foot. Really, for the price of sewing machine attachments, buy them all and then take a class on how to use them. There is also a roller foot which I LOVE when I am making wet bags for cloth diapers.

  5. Kimberly says:

    I’m new to sewing (very new), and this list both completely intimidates and excites me. I can’t wait to know what all these things are (and use them)! Thanks for your supply list!

  6. TJ says:

    Oh wow! Did you read my mind word by word! I have been wondering since the start of the weekend about getting started at sewing (thanks to your wonderful blog and a few others!) and had no idea how to start or what I actually needed besides thread and needle, the sewing machine, scissors and zippers. This is absolutely awesome. I’m copying it and off I go on a shopping trip!

  7. Wendy says:

    I found *somebody’s* blog yesterday (sorry, can’t remember who/where!), and she uses Vodka instead of spray starch. Said it’s WAY cheaper.

    1 part vodka (any brand) to 3 parts water

    She said it doesn’t smell like alcohol ’cause you mix it with so much water, but it works just as well as the expensive spray starch stuff!

  8. This is such a great list! It seems like a LOT of stuff, but it’s funny how quickly you accumulate it all – I think there were only a few items that I don’t have in my stash right now, like snaps? 🙂

  9. Vanessa says:

    Great list! I waited sooo long to get a rotary cutter and mat and now I can’t imagine what I did without ’em. Like you said, definitely use a coupon!

  10. Heat ‘N Bond and Fray Check are your friends…wish I’d have found them MUCH earlier on. Great assortment of goodies!

  11. Ooooh! Great job listing all that stuff. I can’t think of anything you missed. She was smart to ask you to show us all how it’s done.

  12. Jacqui says:

    What a great list! Only two things that I can think of to add – a pincushion for your lovely pins and a proper elastic threader. I can’t think what the term for it is – but it looks like a huge blunt needle and you wedge the elastic down inside it. I used to use safety pins but these are heaps better. Our selection of notions here in NZ is so limited – our equivalent of Michael’s/JoAnne’s doesn’t even sell grommets or magnetic snaps! So thanks for the links to online sellers where you’ve added them in.

  13. Jess says:

    awesome supplies list! It’s fun to see what people sew with and their tips!

    1. Margaret says:

      The elastic threader is called bobkin.

  14. Bobbi Jo says:

    Wow, this was very, very helpful! Thank you so much:)

  15. art.soul says:

    thank you soooooooooooo much, this is so helpful for me, that had just started the adventure of sewing!

    big hug

  16. Cassie says:

    Thanks so much for the tip! Love your blog, have a wonderful week!

  17. sb says:

    I am curious about this Fray Check… never heard of it before…must check it out…

  18. Katie says:

    Thanks for the great list! I just moved a month ago and am setting up a little nook just for sewing so I hope to get into it more soon.

  19. I use my iron quite a lot as well as some tweazers for pullings threads out of various places.

  20. Megilon says:

    What a great list! And really the right tool makes all the difference and makes your life easier.

    I love my portable ironing board. I use it still folded up on the edge of my sewing table to press as I go.

    Fusible fleece is my new favorite. I use it all the time when sewing purses.

  21. Maxabella says:

    Great list. There is absolutely no reason why I shouldn’t be sewing now that I’ve found you… except the machine just doesn’t sew properly!!

  22. Jessica says:

    This is a great post!! I totally wish I wouldn’ve seen something like this when I first started sewing!

  23. alissa says:

    Great list Anna! This makes me want to organize all of my supplies and buy some new ones too!

  24. Mary says:

    Thanks for the link to buy magnetic snaps on Etsy! Their prices are SO fantastic compared to buying them individually from the store!

  25. Edris says:

    Great list! I may have missed this but a measuring tape for garment sewing is essential. I love Schmetz needles (more pricey than Dritz or Singer) so I would encourage folks to buy these when they are 50% off as well – especially a double needle for knits.

  26. Maureen Ayoma says:

    Great information very helpful. I think u should also add pictures of how those items or some of them like the grommets and magenticsnaps will look after being used on a garment. it is hard to find them where am based or may be they are called in another name.

  27. Maureen Ayoma says:

    zipper foot, darning foot and walking foot those are new to me how do you use them?

  28. lorena says:

    What fabric scissors would you recommend?

    1. Anna Graham says:

      I have a Gingher Dressmaking shears and a Olfa 4″ snips. They both have been used daily for years and I would definitely recommend them.

  29. Francis says:

    Where do I buy thread to sew on canvas? Do you put regular thread in the bobbin?

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