| Sewing Patterns for the Modern Woman - Blog Post: Outfitting the Apparel Sewist Pt 2: Tools

Outfitting the Apparel Sewist Pt 2: Tools

By Allie

Allie is the co-founder of Indiesew and creator of all things pretty on the site. Follow Allie and receive other Indiesew updates by subscribing to the blog.

Indiesew Outfitting the Sewist | Sewing Supplies for Beginners

We're back today with Part 2 of our Outfitting the Sewist blog series! You can check out the entire series here:

Today, we're talking about the small tools you'll need to get started on your sewing hobby. There are a ton of options on the market for scissors, pins, and tailors chalk. It can be confusing to know what's necessary and what isn't.

The options below (budget and deluxe) are the items that we think you'll need to get started on your hobby. There are definitely more tools that are nice to have, but I recommend you wait to buy those until you find you really need them.

Many of the links below are affiliate links.

Budget (Beginner)

Beginner Sewing Tools | Indiesew.com1. Fiskars 9 in. Dressmaker Shears • 2. Singer 5 in. Thread Snips • 3. Dritz Seam Ripper • 4. Dressmaker's 120 in. Measuring Tape • 5. 1.5" Ball Head Pins • 6. Titan Parts Tray (for pins) • 7. Ogrmar Tailor's Chalk • 8. Medical Pattern Tracing Paper • 9. Dritz Pattern Weights

The beginner sewist will need two pairs of scissors: one dedicated for cutting out fabric and another for trimming threads. Make sure these scissors aren't used for cutting paper or plastic, as you want them to stay as sharp as possible.

seam ripper is a non-negotiable tool for sewing. You will use it often, especially at the outset of this hobby. This tool is sort of consumable, in that they get dull over time and will need to be replaced.

flexible tape measure is required for taking your body's measurements. There are many different forms of a ruler used in sewing: a flexible tape measure, a seam gauge, a quilting ruler, etc. And all of them are useful, but as a beginner a flexible tape measure can serve all of those purposes.

Pins are essential to hold fabric together while you sew. I have found that these 1.5" Ball Head Pins are the most useful for all sorts of projects. You'll also need a pin cushion for those pins, and the magnetic variety (not really a cushion at all) is my favorite. A simple magnetic auto parts tray does the job at a fraction of the price of sewing-specific pin cushions.

Tailor's chalk will be needed to make pattern markings on your fabric. Tailor's chalk is a highly preferential thing: some prefer disappearing fabric pens, some prefer soap, and some prefer traditional tailor's chalk. Start with this pack of multiple colors and see how it works for you.

Tracing paper is useful for tracing or modifying patterns. This tracing paper is the kind they lay on the examination table in medical offices and it works great. It is semi-transparent and you can use a pen or pencil to draw right onto the surface.

Pattern weights are super useful. These little beanbags will keep things from shifting around as you cut out your pattern pieces.


Deluxe (intermediate and beyond)

Intermediate Sewing Supplies | Indiesew Blog

1.  Gingher 8 in. Dressmaker Shears • 2. Gingher 4.5 in. Thread Nippers • 3. Anchor Seam Ripper • 4. Dressmaker's Measuring Tape • 5.  3 in. Pearl Head Pins • 6. Dritz Magnetic Pin Caddy • 7. Allary Chalk Cartridge Set • 8. Medical Pattern Tracing Paper • 9. Fiskars Self Healing Rotary Mat • 10. Olfa 45 mm Rotary Cutter • 11. 4 lb. Pattern Weights


If you've been sewing for a while, or just want to set yourself up with the best supplies right away, this list provides some upgrades that I have found to be really useful. 

Gingher Dressmaking Shears for cutting out fabric cannot be beat. We use these to cut all of your fabric orders and they're super sharp and don't dull easily. Invest in these if you're serious about sewing.

These Gingher Thread Nippers are also top of the line. In my experience thread snips dull much faster than any other scissor used in sewing. Before these, I felt like I needed a new pair of thread snips every year. These won't dull quickly and they're beautiful to boot.

I am obsessed with this Anchor Seam Ripper. This one is sharp, ergonomic, and has a tiny pair of scissors included!

A sewist can never have too many tape measures, I seem to always have one with me in case something needs to be measured. This black one makes it easy to quickly take measurements when you're out and about.

These 3 in. Pearl Head Pins are super luxurious. Pair those with this Dritz Magnetic Pin Caddy and you're set. This caddy has a lid, so it's easy to travel with. I have two of these for different kinds of pins.

My favorite tailor's chalk is this Allary Chalk Cartridge Set. It comes with multiple chalk colors and a point sharpener. The chalk is easy to apply and washes out completely.

Just like for beginners, tracing paper is super useful for all levels of sewists. This medical examination paper does the job at a great price.

If you've been sewing for awhile you know how useful a rotary mat and cutter are for cutting out patterns. Spring for this 24" x 36 Self Healing Mat and this retractable 45mm Olfa Rotary Cutter. Both tools will make quick work of cutting.

Finally, these 4 lb. Pattern Weights are the type used in industrial sewing. A wide flat surface and handle makes them perfectly shaped to hold down many shapes and sizes of pattern pieces. 

We'll be back tomorrow with a short post on the kinds of supplies you'll need to get started sewing!

Happy sewing!

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Want to start sewing, but don't have any supplies? See our list of essential sewing tools on the Indiesew Blog. |

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