Getting Started: The Basic Tools

Ah sewing, such a seemingly simple activity but between choosing a sewing machine, finding the right tools and of course all the materials-- it can be a lot to process at the beginning!

Luckily, once you have the machine and a good basic tool kit you're pretty set for all future sewing projects. Just insert the fun fabric and projects!

I go into all the details about why I love each and every one of these tools in our Basic Sewing Tools video as part of our Kids Learn to Sew Video E-Course (you can watch this video with your free registration before you decide to purchase the e-course!).

To make it is as easy as possible, I'm including links to all of my favorite tools. As you'll see in the video (and my ridiculous photos below), these are the real tools I use in the studio and so I highly recommend them!

If you have a local fabric or craft store near you I highly recommend shopping there first. If you do go with these links, please know that they are affiliate links which means I'll get a return of a small percentage of the sale.

Without further ado, let's set up your sewing room!

The Machine

We use the Singer Heavy Duty 4423 in the studio and I can't say enough about it. Once again you can find out why, and what I look for in a sewing machine, in our "Choosing a Sewing Machine" lesson of our E-Course (another free preview video!) For what it's worth the Singer Heavy Duty 4432 and Singer Heavy Duty 4452 are very similar, there are just more stitches (32 stitches and 52 stitches respectively) on each machine. If you want something simpler, the Singer M1500 is a good machine, though if you watch the video you'll understand why I prefer the 44 models!

Fabric Scissors

A sharp pair of fabric scissors is essential.

• For big hands (teens and adults), I like the Fiskars Titanium 8" scissors.

• For littler hands we use the Fiskars 7" Beginner Sewing Scissors.

Thread Snips

Thread snips are optional but very helpful.

• For teens/adults I like to use thread snips like these.

• For kids we use embroidery scissors like the classic stork or these fun unicorn ones.

Seam Ripper

This is an essential tool. If you have a new machine check in the tool tray as they often come with them. Otherwise we like to use the long handled ones like these.

Large Ruler

Technically a regular 12" ruler will work, but these large clear grid rulers are incredibly helpful and are what I use in the video workshops. I suggest a minimum size of 6" x 12" though my preference is 6" x 24".

Seam Gauge

Again, a regular ruler will work, but the sliding mechanism and small size of a seam gauge is very useful.

Chalk/Marking Tools

There are many fabric marking tools out there but I prefer the tailor's chalk in a dark, medium and light color.


Go for colored ball straight pins (they are easier to find on the floor). You can keep them in the box they come in or get a magnetic pin tray or the traditional tomato pin cushion. It's also helpful, but not necessary, to have strong safety pins available.

Handsewing Needles

For sewing on buttons, closing gaps and general handsewing needs. I like ones like these that aren't too big or too small.


A good hot iron is really important to sewing. I go into great detail about it in this YouTube video, but my favorites are the Black and Decker Digital Advantage and the Oliso Smart Touch Iron

Once you have the machine, the tools, and the Kids Learn to Sew E-Course registration all you need to add is the materials (and your child of course!). The E-Course has a downloadable shopping list (free before you even buy the course) or, if you're local to Hartford, CT, you can purchase a materials kit from us! These are very limited in supply.

I can't wait to sew with your child (or you)!

Happy Stitching!


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