My love of sewing goes WAY back to when I was a very small girl and my Nana let me rummage through her sewing supplies. It was like a wonderland! Between her and my mother they taught me the basics of hand and machine sewing. Learning to sew was something I thoroughly enjoyed as a kid AND now as an adult. As I grew older I added in skills like using a serger and started sewing more complicated things using patterns.

My favourite things to sew are items for my kids! I love to see the look of wonder on their faces when I gift them something I’ve made. They give me the, “Wow, you MADE this from NOTHING?!” look. Totally inflates my ego! LOL

Learning to sew can be intimidating so I put together this post to help you stock your house with the basics that you’ll need before you begin. Whether you’re a child learning or an adult wanting to sew some things for yourself this post will help!

The Basics

Sewing Machine

This one is pretty obvious, but you’ll need a sewing machine. You can dig the one you have out of storage or ask your Nana to borrow hers, or you can buy a new one from the store. Don’t be fooled into thinking you need a top of the line machine that can basically sew something FOR you. A cheap machine from like this one will do JUST FINE for when you’re just starting out.

They’re easy to figure out, thread, and cheap to maintain if anything should go wrong. But it likely won’t! Sewing machines have been made for so many years that they’ve pretty much perfected the construction of them!

This machine would do just fine for a beginner!


Bobbins are the little tiny spool-like things that sit down into your sewing machine. They can be made of plastic or metal. I like to have at least 5 of them on hand so that I don’t have to change colours very often. Frequent colour changes means wasting thread and I don’t like to be wasteful!


Thread is definitely essential! You’ll want to pick thread that either matches your project perfectly or compliments it in the case of top stitching. You can take your fabric to the store when picking thread to colour match it. Make sure you choose thread that matches the fiber content of the project you’re sewing, it will make the piece you make last longer. Cotton thread for cotton fabric – polyester thread for synthetic fabrics and so on.

Sewing Scissors

A good pair of scissors is essential when you’re learning to sew! Choose a pair of scissors that have some weight to them so that they cut through bulky fabrics easily. When storing your fabric scissors make sure you choose a spot where no one will find them and use them! Using fabric scissors on anything other than fabric will dull them and make cutting fabric a chore.


Pins or clips are necessary to hold your project together while you sew. I only use pins or clips for intricate projects. I like to save time by not pinning when I feel confident that the fabrics won’t slip. These magic clips are amazing!


This one is sort of obvious. You need fabric to sew! This is also the most fun part of the whole learning to sew thing! I love going to the fabric store or browsing online for pretty fabrics. You’ll want to refer to your pattern to figure out how much fabric to buy. Also check to make sure you’ve added a bit for shrinkage since most fabrics will need to be prewashed before cutting out your pattern pieces. This will stop your project from looking odd if it shrinks after you sew it.

Measuring Tape

You’ll want a measuring tape in order to measure the fabric you’re cutting or to measure the person you’re sewing something for. These are very inexpensive and can be found at many major box stores and online. I like one that retracts like this one so that my sewing supplies stay neat and tidy.


There are two kinds of needles you’ll want to have on hand – hand needles and machine needles. Hand needles are used for hand sewing and finishing projects. Machine needles are used in your sewing machine. Make sure you have a few all-purpose needles on hand incase one breaks. Don’t be too concerned when you’re just starting out about the variety of different machine needles there are out there. Just get all-purpose needles to being with and you’ll be just fine!

Seam Ripper

When you’re just starting out learning to sew (or having a bad day with your sewing machine like I still have every once in a while) you’ll become best friends with your seam ripper! This is another inexpensive tool you can find pretty much anywhere. Nothing fancy here!

Sewing Supplies Storage Box

To keep all these little supplies and your project organized you’ll want to purchase some sort of organizational box to store all your things in. I like one that has a tray on the top, with a lid locks closed, and has a carrying handle. If you’re thinking of gifting a set of sewing supplies to your child who’s learning to sew packing them all up in a nice storage box adds a nice finishing touch! We use storage boxes like these in our homeschooling. Check out that post here!

If you want to step it up a notch these are 3 more tools I can’t live without…

Self Healing Cutting Mat

I don’t think I could ever go back to sewing without a self-healing cutting mat. It makes cutting out project faster and is easier on your hands. Something I think I’ll appreciate even more than I already do as I get older.

Rotary Cutter

The rotary cutter is another tool that I cannot live without! It and the self healing mat are essentials in my book!

Disappearing Marker

A good disappearing marker is nice to have when you’re doing more complicated projects. This type of marker can be used to mark things on your project temporarily. After a period of time the marks you’ve made with it disappear and won’t leave your project with any permanent marks.

Do you know how to sew? Are you excited about learning to sew?