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Taking up sewing can sometimes seem daunting if you don’t know which tools and materials you’ll need. Here is a list of essential supplies for beginners.


Marking and Measuring Tools

Tape Measure

Tape Measure – This is one of the most important things in your sewing kit. You can’t create projects if you can’t measure your fabric. It’s best to have a flexible cloth tape measure as they’re easier to work with because they are better for measuring curves and taking the measurements of people.

Ruler – As well as your tape measure, it’s a good idea to have a small ruler (around 20 or 30 cm). These are useful for measuring flat surfaces and are more precise than tape measures.

Quilter’s Rule – If you’re planning on taking up quilting then you’ll need a quilter’s rule. These are transparent rectangular rulers which are useful for drawing parallel lines and transferring patterns. They can measure up to 60cm but the size you’ll need depends on what projects you plan to undertake.

Chalks, Pencils and Pens – It is a good idea to have some chalks, pencils or dis solvable pens in your sewing kit so that you can mark your fabric and trace patterns. Chalk is ideal for this as it is easy to remove from fabrics and leaves no permanent markings, or a wash away/dis solvable pen. NOTE: It is best to test on a scrap piece of material first.

Tracing Paper – In order to transfer patterns, you’ll first need some tracing paper. While some tailor’s prefer old-fashioned carbon paper, that is only useful on light fabrics. Tracing paper works on all fabrics and is cheap to buy.

Tracing Wheels – A little more advanced than using paper and chalk, but very convenient. Tracing wheels allow you to transfer patterns easily by using a metal wheel which transfers markings onto your fabric. You can even get double tracing wheels which are good for transferring and marking parallel lines. However, tracing wheels are only useful on thin fabrics and won’t leave any marks on thicker materials.

At Fred’s Haberdashery we sell a range of different marking tools for your sewing materials, including chalk pens, fabric markers and water soluble pencils.


Cutting Tools

Stork Scissors XCP29G

Fabric Scissors and Shears  – Good quality cutting tools are the most important part of your sewing kit. You should have a good pair of fabric scissors for lightweight fabrics and some tailor’s shears for thicker or heavier fabrics. Regular scissors won’t work when trying to cut fabric.

Seam Rippers – Everyone makes mistakes while sewing, and when this happens it is handy to have a seam ripper. These small, sharp tools allow you to easily undo seams where mistakes have been made.

Cutting Mat – It is advisable to invest in a cutting mat to make sure that you don’t damage whichever surface you’re sewing on. As well as protecting your surfaces, cutting mats have measurements on them which can be useful when cutting and measuring fabric.

Thimble – It is inevitable that when working with sharp tools and needles you will get pricked a few times. Thimbles are good for if you find you’re pricking yourself often. You don’t want to start bleeding all over your sewing projects. Thimbles are also useful for pushing needles through fabric without injuring yourself.



Threads – When it comes to threads, it’s best to pick quality over price. Cheap threads can easily break or fray, making them difficult to work with. There are also different types of thread which can create different effects e.g. top stitch to create emphasis, specifically, on jeans, embroidery to add decoration.

Bobbins – It is recommended to get several bobbins to make sure you don’t end up having different coloured threads on the same bobbin from other projects. Sewing machines usually come with extra bobbins, but if yours doesn’t then you can enquire at Fred’s and we can help you find the same one.


Pins and Needles

John James Pebble Needles in a Case in Household Assorted(Pink), Knitters(Green), Beading(Turquoise), Tapestry(Purple) and Quilting(Brown).

Safety Pins – Safety pins are very useful for holding your sewing materials together – especially when cutting.

Pins – You should have some pins with coloured tips and possibly a pin cushion or magnetic pin holder so that you don’t lose them. These are good for pinning together projects before sewing them.

Hand Sewing Needles – Probably the most obvious tool that you’ll need to start sewing. When learning how to sew you start off doing a lot of hand sewing, so it is good to have a range of hand sewing needles in both different lengths and thicknesses.

At Fred’s Haberdashery we sell lots of different types of sewing needles. If you are unsure on which needles are best for you, call us on 01246 204504 and a member of our friendly team will advise you.

Machine Sewing Needles – As well as hand sewing needles, you’ll need a range of different machine sewing needles if you are working with different thicknesses of fabric.

Needle Threader – Along with the needles themselves, a needle threader could be a great time saving addition to your sewing kit. No more fiddling around with threads, a needle threader does it all for you.

6 stranded DMC embroidery thread in a selection of colours.

And Finally, Sewing Materials

You’ll need lots of beautiful fabric to use for your projects. At first, it is best to stick with woven fabrics like linen and cotton as they are some of the easiest to work with and don’t stretch or slip as much as others. Knitted fabrics are generally more difficult to sew with.

Here at Fred’s Haberdashery we offer a range of supplies to get you started. If you have any more questions about sewing materials or products then contact us on 01246 204504 or pop into our store in Chesterfield.