Getting to Grips With the Basics of Sewing

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Many people who want to take up sewing find themselves asking what kind of equipment they will need to get started, and which kinds of supplies are best for beginners to use. Taking up sewing does not need to be a complicated thing, though it can be a little expensive to buy the things you need. Once you have your equipment, however, it is a very affordable hobby to take up as well as being very rewarding. This is our guide to everything you need to get started with sewing as a beginner.

Sewing machine

One of the most important and expensive pieces of kit you will need before you start sewing is a sewing machine. Anyone who has been sewing for years will give you the same piece of advice: always buy the best sewing machine you can afford. There is a simple reason for this. Basic machines are cheap and simple to use, but a beginner will quickly outgrow this kind of machine and will need to look into upgrading it within a year or two.

If you buy a cheap machine you might find that while it can handle light repairs and adding hems to your trousers, it will not be good for much else. For those interested in making garments for themselves, their friends or their family, a more advanced machine will be needed. If you invest in a great machine from the get go, you will be much less likely to find yourself getting frustrated at the lack of functionality in your machine. In fact, by choosing a better sewing machine you may find that you can stick with the same one for many years before it needs replacing.

You should choose a sewing machine which can sew through multiple layers of fabric at a time, and that is capable of handling heavy duty materials such as leather and denim. In terms of stitches, look for a sewing machine which offers a choice such as basic zig zag and straight stitches built in, as well as a one step buttonhole function. If you are having some trouble choosing a machine then visit a shop that specialises in sewing machines and ask for advice, or visit an online retailer where you can see the machines listed by price and by function to help you choose.


Clothing patterns are a must if you plan on making any garments. While it is possible for advanced sewists to produce a garment of their own design, as a beginner it is good practice for you to choose some simple, beginner patterns to work from so you can learn the terminology and get used to how patterns work.


It can be easy to overlook the importance of a really good pair of scissors in your dressmaking kit. High quality scissors glide through fabric and do not cause threads to tear and fray, so as with your sewing machine you really should invest in some decent fabric shears. Once you have them you must remember to never use them to cut anything other than fabric, as this can dull them and decrease their performance. In addition to your fabric shears, you will also need a small pair of scissors for cutting threads.


You will need spare needles for your sewing machine as they need replacing more often than you might think. As well as getting some spare needles for your sewing machine, you should also pick up some hand sewing needles too. These are often used for finishing touches and for sewing things like buttons, beads, and sewing hems. Hand sewing needles come in a range of thicknesses and lengths, so buy a pack of mixed needles so you always have the right one for the job close to hand.


Needles for sewing are one thing, but you will also need a box of pins to tack your fabrics together and help in constructing garments before they are machine sewn. There are several different kinds, but the best kinds for beginners are the kind that are magnetic and can be stored magnetically. This makes them easier to keep track of and you will be less likely to end up with any pins going missing.