Getting Started:

~Let's go shopping!~

The most important of sewing tools, of course, is The Sewing Machine.
My humble Singer, "Pearl", is not too fancy, but she certainly does the job!

Whether you're working with an old hand-me-down, or a brand new machine, their basic features are usually about the same. If you're buying a new machine, do some research first, to figure out which functions you are most likely to use. That will keep you from being seduced by the one with a huge price tag, just because it's "better". Sometime's more is just more!

But the machine isn't all you need! There are few other tricks that the new sewer should be armed with.....

The cutting mat.
This is one of the more expensive sewing tools, usually about $15-$30 but it is totally worth it if you can afford to get one.

Which size you get is totally up to you, although I do recommend getting one of the larger sizes. The larger your mat, the more fabric you can cut at once!

As an added bonus, most stores carry mats in at least one cute color! Mine is a reversible green-yellow. Some places even have pink!

The Rotary Cutter.

To use with your cutting mat. I cannot tell you how much time this saves you when you're cutting your fabric, or even cutting out patterns!

It takes a tiny bit of practice to use before you feel comfortable with it, but not much. Just be sure to watch your fingers! :o)

Rotary Ruler.
These come in many different sizes, but again, make things so much easier when cutting your fabric.

Lay it over your fabric, to measure, and use the rotary blade right up against the edge of the ruler.

The Pin Cushion.
Because stepping on pins hurts. :o(

I actually have one of these in just about every corner of my craft room.
Some people opt for the "wrist cushion", which of course follows you wherever you are!

I also think they're just fun to collect. Anything to make my sewing experience cuter!

The Flexible Measuring Tape.

Incredibly handy when taking body measurements, sometimes when I'm sewing, I just wrap it around my neck like a scarf for easy access!

Sewing scissors.
If you've ever tried to cut fabric with paper scissors, you know that these are absolutely necessary!

Another thing that I have infinity of. They get lost to easily!

Pinking Shears.

Not really a necessity.
But they are great for clipping the curves when you're turning things inside-out. And they make edges so much cuter! I would say that if you have a daughter, they are definitely necessary :o)

Seam Ripper.
The sewer's delete button!
I use mine more often than I'd like to admit, and not just because it's cute and pink.

Also great for removing seams in garments. To use it, carefully slice a stitch every few inches, and then simply pull them out!

Disappearing Ink Pen.
I use mine like quilter's chalk (which would also work just fine!)
Perfect for marking out pictures or patterns on fabric to sew. You can also use it with a ruler to mark strait lines before you sew them. Just be sure to test it on a corner of your fabric before using.

A Needle and Thread.
No Matter how fancy your sewing machine is, you will always need a good ol' needle and thread.
Some things (like rosettes, or buttons) are a little tricky to sew on to things with a machine when you first start out. At times, using a needle and thread can just be faster!

For thread; I would recommend starting out by buying a basic rainbow of colors and neutrals. There's nothing like going to change your thread to the right color, and realizing that you don't have it!

Extra Bobbins.
The more the merrier!
Bobbins can be slightly different shapes for different machines, so make sure to bring a sample bobbin and your machine model # with you when you buy them

And when you buy all of your thread colors, it's smart to thread at least one bobbin with each color right away. That way when you need it, it's all ready for you!

I make a lot of skirts, so I like to have a lot of elastic on hand, in different widths. It's especially handy if you have children in your life. The elastic waistband rocks!

Extra Needles For Your Machine.
It really is important to use the right needle for the right fabric, so it's a good idea to have the different needles for your machine on hand.
When I first started sewing, I broke tons of needles! So it's nice to have some extras in the drawer, in case the inevitable happens. :o)

Needle Threaders.
God bless the inventor of the needle-threader!!
Simply stick the metal loop through the eye of the needle, slip your thread through the loop, and pull it back through the eye! I love it!

Of course, there are aisles, and aisles of sewing notions to buy! And one person will love a certain thing, while another person finds it comepletely worthless. So you may have to fiddle around a little bit to find what works best for you! But be careful! The sewing aisle is a dangerous place....
Just ask my husband ;o)


  1. Great information! I actually have all the supplies you have listed. I love my rotary cutter and mat that I got for Christmas.

  2. I love, love, love your blog! I look forward to alll of your new posts.. I know that you have the pin cushion as one of your essentials, but you don't have pins! :) What kind do you use? I have quilters pins, but I wanted to know if you recommended a different type.

  3. Great list! So right on the sewing scissors, no matter how many times I say (and ask) my husband does not understand how bad it is to cut paper with my sewing scissors-aahhhh!

  4. great list :)

    I think the only things I would add as a necessity is a container for it all (that is preferably "toddler-proof" :), a dust cover for the machine (mine is just a towel at the moment. sad, i know. and a trash can for stray threads.

  5. Suzy: You're right, I did forget pins, haha! How silly! To tell you the truth, I didn't even know there were different kind of pins :o) The ones I use are, well, the ones that are stuck in my pin cushion in that picture. I guess I don't know which ones they are! :o)

  6. Hi Disney, I really like your new series. Could you also post on some of your photography tips? I would like to know what kind of camera you use as well as material and setup you use to take the white background shots. Also, what photo editing program do you use? I guess what I'm try to say is that I think you have some super photo skills! Thanks.

  7. Your new series could not have come at a more perfect time!! I ask for and received a sewing machine for Christmas as I have been wanting to learn to sew!! I'm starting at the very beginning, so I can't wait to learn all about it from you! Thanks so much for all your hard work!

  8. thank you im a beginner and this is beyond helpful!!!!!

  9. I love your sewing basket...where did you find it? Also I agree with the previous comment about photos. I need help in that area!

  10. Disney,

    Great list you've got going. Something that I use a lot when sewing is a hemming gage. They are nice because they are small and they have a little marker that you can move to the measurement you are using. Like when you are fold under a 1/4 inch seam along one seam. That way you don't have to keep looking for the right spot on the ruler. I would suggest when using one that you double check where the marker is to make sure it did not move.
    Kim in AZ

  11. Simple things that are easily forgotten. Thanks for thinking of us!!! I just took my first sewing class yesterday. I can't wait!

  12. So helpful! Thank you, Disney, for taking the time to do this.

  13. Great list! The one thing I would add? Fray Check! It will keep any turned corner from busting open, and is insanely useful for all kinds of things, even runs in nylons. Forget to backstitch? It helps there too.

    Also- get a "self healing" mat if you can. Then it can be used for other crafts as well.

  14. This is GREAT! Come share at my party: Thursday's Treasures!!

    I also linked on my Treasures for Tots Facebook Fan page!

  15. Dawn,

    Here's how I made sure my husband understood not to use my sewing scissors for ANY reason...

    "Hey, honey, look at my new sewing scissors. It's a Gingher anniversary edition...flowered handle. Cooh, huh?"

    "Yeah." (Husband's I-don't-really-care response.)

    "They were thirty-five dollars."

    "Oh yeah?" (Wait for it as it sinks in for him...) "Huh? What? Thirty-five dollars?! For scissors?!"

    Then I explain to him how important sharp scissors are, and how I've gone through several pairs, and how these will last forever IF...he NEVER uses them!

    "Honey, if you use these on paper, they will be ruined, and I'll have to go buy ANOTHER pair for THIRTY FIVE DOLLARS."

    He's never used them, and makes sure no one else ever does either. LOL.

    Now of course, the scissors could be resharpened if he used them, but HE doesn't need to know that!


  16. Oh Disney!!! I just can´t belive how kind you have been!! i also ot my sewing machine for Xmas and i am starting from scratch onn my own... your blog is sooo inpiring, but now it is als sooo helpful.
    i must admit that i check your blog at least three times a day (or even more..)... i just can´t wait for your next post!!
    Once again, many thanks for taking your time and do this for us.
    Big kiss.

  17. Thank you so much for doing this! I just started sewing for the first time in my life and I went to the store and was overwhelmed with all the supplies! Where do I start? Well, now I know, thanks to you! Love your site and your ultra-feminine style. Keep making cute things for your daughter and posting the tutorials! I'm telling all my crafty friends about you!

    God bless,

  18. I have been quietly following your blog for a few months now. I LOVE it! I think you are so creative. I am excited about this series. I can sew a straight line pretty well, but would like to expand. I will be hanging on every word! :)

  19. Thank you for posting this information! It really helped motivate me! I just ordered my sewing machine. It should be here in a few days. I can't wait to try it out. Do you have any projects that you would recommend for a quick/fun trial run? Also, would you recommend any specific fabrics to have on hand for beginner projects? I want to be able to pick up some basic things at the fabric store to have on hand to try out the machine when I get it. Thanks again! As always, I LOVE your blog!

  20. I am in love with your blog and tutorials. I'm just starting crafting on my own and you give me lots of inspiration. Thank you for being here!

  21. I have opened up my notebook so I can write notes for when I go to the . Ur a godsend.

  22. Where did you get that to die for pin cushion?

  23. Wow, thanks! What a great list. So helpful for getting started.

  24. Wherever did that pincushion come from? It's so darn cute!!

  25. HI!! Im just starting out...again. I had my orig machine at my Aunts basement and her water heater blew up and flooded destroying that and all my notions that were with it. :(
    Needles to say I gave op on sewing since repurchasing everything wouldnt be cost effective.

    However I am back years later, my boyfriend just reignited that fire by buying me a new machine. I can't wait to start on my home decor projects as well as making clothes for my 10 month old!

    Im so glad to have found your blog. This blog in particular is so helpful and the rest are TRULY inspirational!! Thank you for taking the time out to share on the blog world!!! :)

  26. Oh, I want your pincushion! Where did you get it??

  27. Thank you so much for this! I got a sewing machine for Christmas and was wondering what in the heck I needed to get to start out, lol.

  28. Thanks for all of your help! I love your blog!

  29. Just got my sewing/embroidery machine for Christmas. I have not sewn a thing since a pillow in Home Economics about 18 years ago. Thank you for this starter's list as I have nothing but the machine and a bunch of ideas! Looking forward to trying your beautiful creations as well. Keep the tips and tutorials coming as they will be a large part of my self education!
    Thank you so much!!!
    Paige Long

  30. I am so glad I found your website. I have been trying to figure thing out by the seat of my pants. Although I haven't been to bad but now I have a little more confidence that we (the machine and I) will get along just fine.

  31. I have just ordered my first sewing machine, I am so excited and am glad I found your website. I am such a visual learner that these tutorials will be a god send for me. Thank you for listing what you need to start out with! I will keep you posted on how I am doing - I want to learn how to make table cloths, placemats, and napkins, etc..... I cannot wait until my machine arrives!


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