22 Different Types of Sewing Tools

Discover the many different types of sewing tools so you can start sewing in no time. We've covered the essential sewing materials needed for the beginner, hobbyist, and tailor.
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A typical sewing tool set consisting of pins, thimble, spools of thread, and measuring tape, among others.

Sewing started as early as the time of the cavemen who covered themselves up with patches of leather when the weather was cold. Indigenous cultures around the world also showed evidence of sewing clothing pieces from hides, leaves, and other fabric materials. Then in the Middle Ages, seamstresses and tailors became a trade but only the wealthy could afford their services.

The sewing machine appeared in the 19th century which led to full textile sweatshops in urban centers. By the 20th century, clothing was mass produced but remained relatively expensive. As a result, home sewing became a norm which allowed many housewives to create their own garments out of sewing patterns.

Sewing Machine

An old-style sewing machine.

A sewing machine is what most people use to sew things in modern times. There are those who prefer doing things by hand, but sewing machines have become very prevalent. You will be able to sew various stitches into your fabric by using this sewing machine. The model being shown here is a very heavy duty one, allowing it to stay in great condition for you for a long time.

The process of using a sewing machine is pretty easy to get used to overall. People can enjoy the ease of features, such as automatic needle threading when purchasing this machine. It also works very fast, allowing you to make short work of many sewing jobs. This is a good purchase if you’re in need of a reliable sewing machine.

Related: 40 different types of appliances for your home

Presser Foot

Presser foot

Source: Etsy

A presser foot is used to help your sewing machine hold down the fabric. It hooks up to the sewing machine itself and you can then have it press down on the fabric to keep it in place while you are sewing. The pressure foot will allow you to have a simpler time when working and can really save you from a lot of hassle. It is worthwhile to purchase one of these when you plan on doing a lot of sewing with your new machine.

It’s simple in concept and is a very practical method for giving people more control over their sewing machines. You won’t have to worry about fabric slipping so much and you will have fewer errors than you did without it. These presser foot attachments are generally very cost effective as well. Since they are so affordable, it makes sense to buy one in order to make the process a bit easier.

Sewing Gauge

Dritz 620 Sewing Gauge

Source: Amazon

It’s essential to buy a sewing gauge if you are going to be taking sewing very seriously. This is going to help you to sew more accurately. This is a sliding gauge that allows you to easily measure and mark off certain parts of the fabric. Having more information available to you and being able to give yourself a visual aid will significantly improve the quality of your sewing.

Gauges such as this are incredibly reliable. They are also very affordable, so there is really no reason to avoid buying one. This will help your sewing efforts and help you to have a better experience overall. Purchase one at an arts and crafts store or a major retailer.

Sewing Needles

Needles and threads of different colors are needed to make quilts.

Of course, many people still like to sew things by hand. It may not be as fast as sewing something with a sewing machine, but it does allow for people to get more intricate with their designs. There are many practical reasons to learn to sew by hand and you’re going to need sewing needles in order to get started.

Sewing needles will need to be threaded in order for you to make use of them. It may take some time to get used to the process, but it will be satisfying once you learn how to sew properly. These needles will come in various sizes and can be used for many different sewing purposes. The needles being shown here are a large set with various sizes and they come with a convenient storage case.

Pins

A set of colorful pins.

People use pins while sewing in order to hold some of the fabric in place. It is pretty easy to grab a pin with one hand and make use of it. It’s a convenient way to make sewing just a bit easier on yourself. Pins are going to prove to be a useful tool to have around.

You can buy pins in large quantities at very low prices too. This particular set of pins includes 120 individual pins that will be very helpful. They have colors on the ends, as well, in order to give them a little bit of visual flair. They’re both practical and visually pleasing to have around.

Pincushions

Tomato-like pin cushion with several pins on it.

Pincushions are something you will want to purchase if you want to keep pins at the ready while you’re sewing. Pincushions are great for storing your pins and you will be able to easily reach to grab one this way. Many people like to keep a pincushion right next to their sewing area for the sake of convenience. You can buy these in various cute styles as well, so it is a way that you can express your personality.

Scissors

The stainless scissors is being used to cut through fabric.

Scissors are an essential tool for anyone who is going to be sewing. Whether you are using a sewing machine or if you are sewing by hand, you will want to have a reliable pair of scissors around. They will allow you to cut your thread more easily and you can use them to cut fabric when you need to. Just make sure to buy a set of scissors that are sharp enough to handle the tasks that you want to use them for.

This product here is a small kit that includes a pair of sewing scissors. It will work well for your purposes and you will definitely have an easy time using them. Don’t go without a quality pair of scissors when you need to sew something that is important.

Measuring Tape

Blisstime tailor sewing fabric tape measures.Measuring tapes are generally used when measuring using a gauge or a ruler wouldn’t be as practical. You can use the measuring tape to effectively measure curves in the fabric. This will give you the information that you need and you can make sure that you are staying on task. Finding measuring tape won’t be difficult either since you can purchase tailor’s measuring tape at many major retailers.

You should note that there are some differences between different types of measuring tape. Some of them will have centimeters on one side and inches on the other. Others will have them both on the same side. Pick whichever option appeals to you the most and will work better for your purposes.

Related: 20 Different Types of Measuring Tools

Rulers

Tailor's ruler

Rulers are yet another way that you can measure your fabric and keep yourself from making mistakes. You don’t necessarily need both a ruler and measuring tape, but it can be beneficial to have them both around. These are excellent for taking straight measurements and may be easier to use than measuring tape for that purpose. Many people have rulers around their homes from school, so it can be a way to avoid having to spend extra money on another sewing tool.

Of course, rulers are very inexpensive, so buying one will not be a big deal. It’s a good idea to purchase a sturdy one that is made of metal. This way you will know that it will last you for a very long time. You will be able to rely on it to take accurate measurements and can keep it nearby whenever you are planning on sewing.

Thimble

Vintage thimble

Almost everyone knows what a thimble is, but not everyone makes use of them during their sewing time. Thimbles are meant to protect your finger from sewing. You are supposed to place it on the middle finger of your sewing hand. There are people who enjoy having this extra protection and there are many who find thimbles to be cumbersome.

Whether or not you will want to have a thimble is going to be up to you. There are special tailor’s thimbles on the market that feature an open-top design too. These can give you a little bit more freedom, but you won’t see these as commonly out in stores. Think about whether or not a thimble will be useful to you and then decide whether you want to buy one.

Sewing Needle Threader

Needle threader

Threading needles can be quite frustrating to people who are learning how to sew. It takes a bit of patience, sometimes, and you need to be able to focus. Luckily, you can take away much of the frustration of threading your sewing needle by purchasing a sewing needle threader. This handy tool is going to streamline the process and help you to get to sewing much quicker.

To be clear, these needle threaders are meant for hand sewing. The automatic needle threaders featured on sewing machines are a bit different. You will still need to thread the needle, but the tool makes it a lot easier to do it. This will keep you from wasting too much of your time and it is worth the very small investment that it takes to purchase one.

Tweezers

TweezersTweezers help to make threading needles simpler. If you have larger hands, then having access to a pair of tweezers is going to be crucial. This will allow you to grasp the thread and get it where it needs to go. Those with larger and less dexterous fingers will find tweezers to be invaluable.

They will be useful to you even if you do have small hands, though. Anything that can save you a bit of time while you’re sewing is pretty useful. Some people use tweezers instead of purchasing a sewing needle threader too. Both can be useful to have around, so just decide what is right for you.

Thread

Spools of sewing thread in various colors.

Thread is something that you won’t be able to sew without. This is the material that you will be using to make all of your sewing items. You can find the thread that you need at arts and crafts stores, but you will also find some at major department stores if you look. There are many different colors of thread for you to choose from and having many types of thread to choose from while sewing will be beneficial.

Most people who are into sewing like to keep plenty of thread options around. You can store your thread right in a little sewing kit and choose the colors that you need based on what you want to do. It won’t be tough to buy plenty of different thread colors, so you’ll love having all of these options. This is one of the most entertaining parts of shopping for your sewing tools and materials.

Tracing Wheel

Tracing wheelsYou are going to need to own a tracing wheel when you want to transfer certain markings on your fabric. They can leave a very fine imprint on the fabric and these lines will disappear after you are done sewing. It’s a way to help to keep yourself on the right track. Having a pattern or a blueprint to follow makes sewing a lot easier, and these tracing wheels can help you to make that happen.

These are going to be essential when you are planning on sewing something that is more complex. This may not be all that necessary for something more generic, but for more detailed designs, a tracing wheel is definitely going to be handy. Buying one will make your sewing turn out better in all likelihood. It is a highly recommended sewing tool that you should put on your shopping list.

Pinking Shears

Pinking shears

Pinking shears may look like they are normal scissors or shears at first glance. Once you take a look at the blade itself, you will quickly realize that this is a very different tool. The pinking shears feature ridged teeth on the blade. The purpose of these ridged teeth is to help you to create a zigzag pattern on the fabric.

If you are going to be making clothing of some sort, then having pinking shears will definitely prove to be useful. These shears are important because there will be times when you want to use that zigzag pattern on your piece. People use this when they don’t want to create a seam, but they do want to be able to prevent fraying. It is a necessary tool and you should own one if you are a serious sewing enthusiast.

Seam Ripper

Seam ripperYou can probably guess what a seam ripper is used for just by looking at the name. There are going to be situations where you will want to have a seam ripper at the ready. This is going to be useful when you have made a few mistakes as well. If you have sewn a seam incorrectly, then you will want to use the seam ripper to open it back up so that you can fix your errors.

There are other practical uses for a seam ripper, too. If you need to open up holes for buttons on a shirt, then a seam ripper will be able to come to your rescue. Making sure that you have the necessary tools to succeed with sewing is essential. You will want to buy one of these right away to make things easy on yourself.

Tailor’s Chalk

Tailor's chalk

Tailor’s chalk is great for when you want to make markings on your fabric. You can use it to make some marks on the fabric to give yourself a visual aid. The chalk will be able to be wiped away very easily without harming the fabric too. This is a better option than using any type of disappearing ink, so you will want to have tailor’s chalk available when you need to make markings to keep things straight in your head.

The tailor’s chalk that is being shown here comes in four different colors. It can be useful to have different colors because it can help you to plan things out even better. You can use different colors to indicate that you need to sew using a different thread in a particular spot. Always have some tailor’s chalk in your inventory when you want to keep things as simple as possible, while still being able to do complex sewing jobs.

French Curve

A pink french curve that is used to make fabric patterns.

A French curve is used to draw curves and little designs on your fabric. This can help you when you want to sew complex designs into the fabric you are working with. A good French curve is going to be a lot easier than drawing on the fabric freehand. It gives you something to go by and allows you to make accurate shapes that will look great on your piece of fabric.

This type of sewing tool isn’t going to be used by novices, in most cases. People who buy French curves are usually into sewing to make clothes or accessories with more complicated designs. This isn’t a sewing tool that you absolutely need if you are just planning on keeping things simple, but it is something to consider. It’s a good tool that you might find desirable, depending on your needs.

Pattern Weights

A set of pattern weights that is used to draw fabric patterns.This is another optional type of sewing tool that you may want to take a look at. Using pattern weights can help you to create patterns in your fabric rather easily. It’s a very simple concept to understand as all you need to do is place the pattern weight on top of your fabric. Once it is placed you will simply need to cut out your pattern.

The same thing can be accomplished without the use of pattern weights. You can use pins and markings to cut out a pattern in your fabric if you want to go that route. For a beginner, using pattern weights is going to be the far more desirable option. It’s a simple way to make really nice patterns and this allows you to make your sewing more fun.

Iron

A green iron is being used to iron out a piece of fabric.

Using an iron while you are sewing can help you to get better results in certain situations. You will want to be able to use the iron in order to press the clothing while you are sewing. Pressing a seam after it has been sewn is going to allow it to blend with the fabric. This is crucial when you want everything to look nice and natural.

If you plan on sewing clothing or making clothing, then this is going to be important. You can probably get away with avoiding using an iron if you don’t plan on sewing clothes. Most people will already have an iron that they can use for this, though. It’s a good way to make the seams that you are sewing look better in the finished product.

Seam Roll

Dritz Seam Roll (561)

Source: Amazon

A seam roll is going to help you to flatten out seams. You may already be using an iron for this purpose, but having a seam roll can be pretty helpful too. It will make pressing the seams in the sleeves of clothing a lot easier. These seam rolls are very cost effective and will help you to have better results when sewing shirts or other clothing items that feature sleeves.

This seam roll here can be used effectively on pant legs as well. It is perfect for preventing impression marks and will allow your fabric to look as professional as possible once it is finished. You will want to sew using one of these if you plan on making clothing. You’ll have better results and will be proud of how your clothing turns out.

Cutting MatRotary cutting mat

It’s a good idea to purchase a cutting mat so that you will have a dedicated place where you can make your cuts. You will be cutting a lot of fabric while you are sewing and will need a spot to do it. A good cutting mat is a perfect surface for this and it will make it easier for you to cut straight lines. You need to be as accurate as possible in order to have good results, so a cutting mat is going to be preferable to using a normal table.

This cutting mat that is being shown off here is exceptionally durable. It is made from a type of rubber material that is capable of self-sealing. It is very resistant to cuts, so you won’t have to be concerned about messing it up. The grid design will help with your accuracy when you’re cutting and it will be a great experience overall.

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