When I bought my first sewing machine, I did not know where to start. I knew I wanted to learn how to make my own clothes, but I was unsure of which machine to buy, what classes to take etc. I have compiled a list of sewing and pattern making tools that you would need to get started. These are all tools that I have tried and that I currently use.
1. A sewing machine. Needless to say, you will need a sewing machine! Depending on your budget, you can find these as low as $30 at thrift stores or craigslist. If you want to buy one new, I would say that you can find a decent sewing machine for under $100. I have used both Brother and Singer machines, and for entry-level machines, those are the best. I have also noticed that with Brother machines, you can get more features (more stitch types) for less cost. Here are 2 machines I am recommending:
Brother Project Runway Machine OR Brother Sewing Machine
If you want to spend over $100 on a sewing machine, I highly recommend the one I am using. This brother machine is great for beginners and has all the features you need, so you won’t need to upgrade for a very long time. This machine has a wide table, a variety of button holes, and attachments, so I really like this machine.
Now.. If you don’t want to spend a lot, please don’t be discouraged. A sewing machine is a very basic tool. You can find one new for less than $65 or you can find one used. Here are the most basic stitches you are going to want to look for: straight stitch, back stitch feature, stretch stitch (if you plan on sewing knits) and a zig zag stitch. If your budget is smaller than around $100, look for these features and go with a machine that is not digital.
2. Iron: You can use a domestic iron that you already have. Make sure it has a steam feature like this SunBeam iron with steam. You might even have an iron you use at home. If you want to buy a more professional iron, one that is used for tailoring, I’ll share with you the two that I use. I have an entry level gravity feed iron that I got 3 years ago. It still going great. I love it. This iron creates a lot of very hot steam and helps you get that professional look on your garments. If you are serious about your sewing, I highly recommend a gravity fee iron if you are ready to upgrade from the domestic home iron. It is a game changer. I also have another more high-end iron from Naomoto. This one is the Cadillac of gravity feed irons. A bit on the pricey side, but I wanted to share since this is what I am using now and I love it. Remember.. a domestic iron will do just fine. If you are using domestic, try to get a more robust iron and stay say from the really lightweight ones!
3. Fabric scissors: These are the ones I have now and love. I have these silver Ghinger sheers and also this silver and gold Gingher sheers. Remember never to mix your fabric and paper scissors if you are cutting paper patterns. A lot of people prefer to use a rotary cutter and a cutting mat, but I have never been a fan of those.
4. Pattern Weights (optional). You need pattern weights if you are going to be using paper patterns. Some people like using sewing pins to pin down the pattern, but that can slow you down. Placing weights on your patterns will make you move faster! I have made my own. I found some rocks in my garden, washed them and spray painted them gold. If you want to buy some, I recommend these paper weighs.
5. Sewing Pins: These are a must! You can find these fabric pins at any fabric store. Make sure you go with the long ones, a least 1.5 inches long. These sewing pins look like buttons, so cute and oh so couture!
6. Measuring Tools: You need a measuring tape, a measuring gauge (optional but highly recommended), a graphic rules (optional but highly recommended)
7. Marking Tools: You would need these only if you are using sewing patterns: some tailor’s chalk and some tracing paper. You would also need a tracing wheel to use with the tracing paper.
In this day and age, where online learning has become so common, and excellent instruction is available, you can be a self-taught fashion designer or seamstress without ever setting foot in a classroom.
Personally, I am a visual learner, so I like watching video classes on BluPint, an online learning platform. They offer both sewing and pattern making (fashion design)I classes, and their classes are beginner friendly. If you are interested in sewing only, look for sewing classes. If you are interested in fashion design, you need to learn both sewing and pattern making.
Or you can try Craftsy Unlimited, watch everything free for two weeks!
If you have sewing questions, you can also contact me on my facebook page HERE.