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43 of the best sewing starter kits and essentials for beginners

Want to start sewing but you're not sure where to begin? Get ready to top up your tool kit and find out which basic equipment you need to get stitching today. We've rounded up our favourite sewing starter kits and project kits to start you off.

Sewing kits for beginners

So you’re looking to build your basic sewing kit? If you’re all brand new to sewing and you’re on the hunt for a starter sewing kit to boost your stash, we’re here to help. In this article we’ll talk you through a few of our favourite sewing kits out there – with everything from small sewing kits to stock up on basic sewing supplies, through to full project kits to help you sew your own clothes, homewares, needlecraft projects and toys.

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We know that when you’re just starting out, you may not want to invest in a full sewing room before you’ve practised your skills and are ready to commit. So the beauty of the starter sewing kits in this article is that someone else has taken the hard work out of selecting what supplies you need to get going – whether you’re looking to make simple alterations to your wardrobe or sew a completely new one from scratch!

Read on as we share our favourite places to shop online for sewing kits for beginners. You’ll find everything from a portable little sewing kits to take on the move through to full dressmaking kits so you can learn to make clothes. We’ve also included a range of levels in this round-up – from little toy softie sewing kits or embroidery kits if you want to try a spot of hand stitching (no sewing machine needed), through to some confident beginner projects to try new techniques if you’re looking to develop your sewing skills.

You will need a sewing machine to make some of the project kits in this round up. If you don’t have one and want to treat yourself, take a look at our best sewing machines for beginners round up, or if dressmaking is your thing and you’re keen to start sewing your own clothes, you might also enjoy our round-up of the best sewing patterns for beginners.

Main image (above): © Picalotta

This round-up of the best sewing kits for beginners includes:

  1. Sewing starter kits – stock up on small sewing kits filled with the basics
  2. Sew your own wardrobe kits – simple garments and sewing project kits for beginners
  3. Toy sewing kits – for grown ups and children to make
  4. Needlecraft sewing kits – try embroidery and needlework with these starter kits
  5. Home sewing kits for beginners – make simple cushions and home furnishings
  6. What do you need to start sewing? – a few basic supplies you’ll need if you want to build your own kit
Sewing kits for beginners

Best sewing starter kits – stock up on the basics

These small sewing kits and bumper stash boosters will get you all set with essential supplies that you’ll use again and again for years to come.

1

John Lewis & Partners Floral Dove Print Zipped Sewing Kit

Ideal for sewing on the go, this handy sewing kit has everything you’ll need to make basic sewing alterations. Crafted from cotton, this zipped kit includes 12 thread reels, embroidery scissors, tape measure, safety pins, seam ripper, buttons and needles. Choose from a variety of designs, from florals to fox print.

John Lewis Sewing Kit for Beginners

2

Modern Simplicity retro wooden sewing starter kit

We can geek out for hours about the beauty of vintage sewing boxes (seriously, you should hear us)… and now you can give your stash the look of a vintage sewing basket but filled with the latest supplies. This Modern Simplicity Style Wooden Storage Box is filled with handy compartments and includes sewing thread, hand needles, a metal needle threader, pincushion, tape measure, seam ripper, scissors and buttons.

Wooden Sewing Box Beginner Sewing Kit

3

Portable sewing machine starter kit

If you really want a complete introduction to sewing and to try out new skills, this 12 stitch sewing machine kit by Magicfly is a good value beginner kit which will show you the ropes. This mini sewing machine won’t replace a full scale model from the bigger brands but it’s a good place to start. It comes with 12 built-in stitches, three different sewing feet, scissors, a seam ripper, extension table buttons, zips, bobbins and a tape measure.

Portable Beginner Sewing kit

4

Sturme Starter Sewing Kit

Sometimes in life you just need an portable sewing kit with the basics for emergencies, and this zip-up case comes packed with all the essentials. It comes ready-stocked with needles, thread, tape measure, buttons, snap-fasteners, clips, a seam Ripper, marking pencil, thimble, scissors, safety pins, needle threader and a magnifying glass.

Sewing Kit for beginners basics

5

Handi Stitch Embroidery floss starter kit

If you’re new to needlework, or are looking for a complete starter kit, treat yourself to this bumper embroidery floss set with 187 threads and notions to kickstart your stash. This complete embroidery starter kit comes with a transparent storage box, 150 threads, 30 needles, 4 needle threaders, a thread snipper and a thimble. Just look at the beautiful rainbow shades! Be still our beating hearts.

Handi Stitch Embroidery starter kit

6

Owls fabric sewing basket kit for beginners

Fill your sewing stash with essentials that are practical and cute with this lovely little sewing kit for beginners. As well as the fabric basket this organiser comes filled with sewing kit for you, including scissors, needles, needle threader, thimble, tape measure, buttons, threads, a pin cushion and safety pins.

Fabric Sewing Basket Starter Kit

7

Crafterly Embroidery starter kit

We’re including a second embroidery kit in this round up so you can pick your favourite! This one comes with instructions, an organiser box, 96 Colour Threads, 5 embroidery hoops, 4 pieces of aida fabric, some digital patterns to get you started plus cross stitch supplies for beginners.

Embroidery starter kit for beginners

8

Patchwork starter kit for beginners

If you’re looking to grow your patchwork and quilting skills, this is the kit for you. It comes with all sorts of handy specialist tools that will up your quilt-making game. Give your stash an instant boost with rotary cutters, a cutting mat (these will change your sewing life forever), a quilting ruler, rotary cutter starter set, 45mm rotary cutter(5 extra cutter blades), a quilting ruler plus pins and binding clips.

Quilting starter kit

9

Leather starter kit

Sewing leather is a great sewing skill to have but it does take a bit more specialist kit than dressmaking or home sewing with lightweight, cotton and upholstery fabrics. If it’s something you want to get into, this complete set of leather working tools is worth a look. It includes 44 tools to grow your leather sewing skills, from stiching to stamping and saddle making.

Leather working tools starter kit


Best sewing kits for beginners – sew your own wardrobe

10

DIY Mini Leather Tote bag kit

If you’re a confident beginner who wants to grow your skills, make your own DIY cross-body bag comes with the leather and tools you need to make your own mini leather tote. It’s probably one of the more challenging projects in this round-up but this starter sewing kit takes the hard work of choosing the materials and this could be your next sewing goal.  The kit comes with just about everything you need to make your own crossbody leather tote bag, including pre-cut punched leather pieces (choose the leather shade you prefer), thread, needles, a snap closure, steel hardware, beeswax for burnishing, sandpaper, a beachwood edge burnisher plus full instructions. This kit ships from the US so allow a bit of time for delivery if you’re based here in the UK.

Sewing kits for beginners leather bag kit

11

Sew your own Linen Tunic

Make your own easy-to-sew linen tunic, with or without collar, with this pre cut sewing kit for beginners by Cut Couture. It comes in two sizes options to allow you to make it for sizes UK 8 to 22. If you prefer a bit of colour, you can add on optional garment dye kits. This is a great first dressmaking project, with an eco twist (there are no plastic buttons or fastenings included and the fabric is 100% natural, biodegradable linen). Choose to make your tunic with a nehru collar or V neck version. The kit includes pre-cut fabric pieces, labels, instructions, an air erasable pen, thread and a bundle of off-cuts for sewing or dying practice/sampling. Pins and measuring tape are also included with your first order.

Beginner sewing kit linen tunic

12

Sew your own zip purse kit

If you’re looking for first-time sewing project, or want to try out some zip skills, this all-in-one kit could be the one for you. It’s a great introduction to using zips within your sewing and comes with the fabric you need to make two purses, pre-cut to size, two zips, a basic sewing kit with needle, thread and pins plus instructions.  We especially like that you can choose which fabrics and zip colours you would like in your kit when you order.

Sew your own zip purse sewing kit

13

Full circle skirt dressmaking kit

Make your own ultimate party skirt with this handy beginner sewing kit from Sew Over It – it’s a great introduction to sewing your own clothes as you’ll learn to make a 1950’s style skirt which is flattering for all body shapes. This full circle skirt dressmaking kit comes with a printed pattern, full instructions, 2 metres of fabric (enough to make it in sizes 8 to 20) plus a zip.

Circle Skirt Sewing Kit

14

Learn to sew a scrunchie kit

Scrunchies are enjoying a huge comeback after they first became popular in the 1990s, and now you can make your own with this quick and easy starter sewing kit. it comes with fabric, thread, pins, needle, elastic and a safety pin, plus instructions with full colour photos which show you how to get to grips with straight sewing, using elastic and top-stitching

Learn to sew a scrunchie sewing kit

15

Dungarees sewing kit

If you’re feeling primed and ready to give dressmaking a go, this stylish sewing kit comes with everything you need to make your own classic denim Harlene Dungarees from Merchant & Mills. This project will be the best fit if you’ve got a bit of sewing experience already under your belt but want to learn new skills. You’ll learn how to make a traditional pair of easy fitting dungarees, with classic detailing and optional top stitching. Each kit comes with either dark blue or black 7oz denim (you choose which), plus Liberty Tana Lawn lining, Merchant & Mills hardware kit including buttons, dungaree clips and sliders, thread, the pattern and instructions. It comes with enough fabric to make dungarees up to a UK size 18.

Dungarees sewing kit

16

Make your own Girl’s Skater Skirt Kit

This sweet sewing kit comes with everything you need (minus the sewing machine!) to make an easy girl’s skirt for ages 3 to 4 years or 5 to 6 years. The finished garment is a half circle skirt with an elasticated waist in a bubble gum pink denim print with daisy motifs printed at the hem. This kit includes a printed fabric panel,  organic thread, elastic and easy to follow instructions all packaged in a Fair-trade cotton tote bag.

Make your own girls skater skirt sewing kit

17

Sew your own linen blouse

Learn how to make your own top with this pre-cut sewing kit to make a DIY linen blouse – it’s ideal for beginners and includes video instructions. This zero-waste, eco-friendly kit comes with the materials to make a pure white linen Hannah blouse. You can make your blouse in 2 adjustable sizes XS-M (UK 8-14) and M-XL (UK 16-22).

Linen Blouse Sewing Kit for beginners

18

Knickers Sewing Kit

A fantastic beginners knicker making kit from Etsy seller Elmrocks, the kit contains everything you need to stitch a pair of frilly knickers. A quick make that will leave you excited to make more! The multi-size pattern is from UK size 8 to 18 (US size 4 to 14) and has full instructions to complete the project.

Elmrocks Knicker Set

19

Oh Sweet Satchel Sewing Kit

Satchel bags are one of the most versatile items you can make for your wardrobe, so we’re loving this sewing kit from Oh Sew Sweet, which comes ready to go with 1 the pattern, hardware and fabrics you need to sew up a bag that you’ll use again and again.

Satchel Sewing Kit

Sewing kits for toys and children

20

Nanuq the Fishing Eskimo Toy sewing kit

Who doesn’t want to make a huggable, home-sewn Eskimo toy? This starter sewing project is suitable for ages 7 and up so a great first sewing project for mini makers. It can be stitched using a sewing machine or by hand and is printed on thick 100% cotton with simple lines ready to cut out. Choose whether to add stuffing or supply your own when you buy.

Nanuuk the Fishing Eskimo sewing kit

21

Sausage Dog Softie Toy sewing kit

Cute alert! Make your own sausage dog softie toy and learn how to sew at the same time! This complete kit comes with all you need (apart from scissors) to make this toy – including hand cut felt squares, embroidery thread a needle, needle threader,  small bag of stuffing, woven label, printed pattern sheet and basic instructions.

Sausage Dog Softie Sewing Kit

22

The Crafty Kit Company – 3 Felt Kitties Sewing Kit

Create super cute little felt kittens with this starter sewing kit including enough felt, stuffing and thread to make three kittens, each with its own collar and bell.

Felt Kittens cat sewing kit

23

Buttonbag Sewing Kit for Beginners

One of a series of sweet Buttonbag kits available from John Lewis’s online craft store, this fun-filled kit that includes scissors, needles, pins, thread and colourful fabric, plus instructions to help you make four easy beginner sewing projects. This is the perfect kit for complete beginners or younger makers.

Button bag sewing kit for beginners

24

Doll making kit

Rag dolls and plushie dolls are such a classic sewing project and now you can make your own! This sewing kit for beginners includes all the materials you need for the body, clothing and hair to make a 25cm tall finished doll.

Doll Making Kit

25

Clara and Macy Robin sewing kit

Create your own festive robin with this sweet starter kit including everything you need to sew your own felt bird, including luxurious wool felt, fleece fabric, cotton on tiny spools, stuffing, a needle, pattern, and full instructions. You just need a pair of scissors and you’re good to go!

Felt robin beginners sewing kit

26

Avocado cat keyring kit

What’s better than a felt Avocado keyring? An avocado cat keyring of course! This quick and easy sewing kit comes with everything you need to make the perfect rainy afternoon project, including ribbon, stuffing, needle, thread, felt, paper template, and instructions. Another cute craft kit that kids will enjoy too.

Avocado cat sewing kit for beginners

27

Crafty Kit Company Pretty Flamingo Sewing Kit

Yes, yes there is an animal theme to the toys section of our favourite sewing kits for beginners round-up! And we’re not sorry. If avocado cats arent’ your thing, how about this easy flamingo sewing kit? As with the other kits in this round up it comes fully stocked with all the supplies you need.

Crafty Kit Company Flamingo

28

Baker Ross Unicorn Cushion Sewing Kit

This bright unicorn cushion kit is perfect for children interested in crafts, the felt fabric comes pre-punched with needle holes so it’s simply a matter of threading the needle through the holes. It’s like a dot-to-dot for sewing. Bonus points for being able to make two cushions from the supplies included!

Unicorn Cushion Sewing Kit

Best needlecraft sewing kits for beginners

29

Be Kind embroidery kit

The power of stitching to spread good vibes is a concept we are 100% behind. Give it a go with this lovely starter embroidery kit, including fabric, needles, a wooden hoop, thread and a heat erasable pen.

Be kind sewing kit

30

Sew your own cat embroidery tote bag

Create a cute kitty embroidered tote using just two embroidery stitches, making this suitable for everyone from complete beginners to experienced stitchers who just, well, love cats! It takes between 1 and 4 hours to stitch so you can make in an evening or weekend, and the tote is 100% natural cotton with the pattern pre-printed on.

Cat embroidery sewing kit

31

Hannah Bass Alphabet Tapestry Kit

Tapestry, along with needlecraft in general, is enjoying a huge resurgence this year, and this colour-popping kit is the perfect way to try the trend with a modern twist. These alphabet tapestry kits are stitched on to plain plastic canvas, with basic half cross stitch, so they really are perfect for beginners, plus a handy size to fit in your bag when lockdown lifts and we can all get out and about again!

Alphabet tapestry kits

32

Sashiko stitching kit

Sashiko is a beautiful type of embroidery and now you can try it at home easily with this complete starter set. It features Yokota Sashiko thread, needles and a template, along with instructions, a thimble and fabric to stitch on.

Sashiko sewing kit for beginners

33

Happy sloth embroidery kit

Curl up, relax and unwind with this snoozy sloth embroidery kit. It comes with everything you need, including an 18cm (7in) embroidery hoop.

Happy sloth full embroidery kit

34

The Modern Crafter Summer Swallows embroidery kit

Stitch your own contemporary embroidery design with this modern kit for beginners by illustrator and print designer Siobhan Watt from The Modern Crafter You’ll get to learn 3 basic stitches – satin stitch, back stitch and French Knots, and the design is screen printed on to organic cotton and comes with a 6in wooden embroidery hoop.

Swallows beginner sewing kit embroidery

35

Embroider your own t-shirt kit

Learn how to embroider clothes with this sustainably-made kit for beginners. Each kit includes all you need to make a personalised t-shirt, including a wooden embroidery hoop, 100% organic white cotton t-shirt (you pick the size to fit), embroidery needle and pins, thread and a selection of patterns.

Embroider your own tshirt kit

36

Succulents embroidery kit

Try beautiful botanical embroidery stitching with these lovely starter kits – the perfect introduction to hand stitching.  Each kit comes with a 7in embroidery hoop plus materials and instructions.

Succulents embroidery kit

37

Hawthorn Handmade Highland Heathers Embroidery Hoop

Fancy a relaxing craft project? This modern embroidery kit from Hawthorne Handmade includes a 7inch embroidery hoop, an embroidery needle, an array of floral coloured DMC stranded cottons and full instructions to make stitching a breeze!

Hawthorne Embroidery Kit

38

Personalised hand embroidery letter kit

We couldn’t resist adding a little festive kit into this round-up, as it’s a little known fact that many stitchers get started pretty early on their Christmas crafts. This kit shows you how to make your own personalised hand embroidered Christmas decoration. Hang it on your tree this year or decorate a door handle. You’ll create the whole design in  seed stitch and satin stitch, and the kit comes with a 14 page beginners embroidery booklet with illustrated stitch guide.

Personalised hand embroidery kits

Home sewing kits for beginners

39

Patchwork star cushion kit

Discover the complete delight of hand-stitching patchwork with this English Paper Piecing project – this kit includes all you need to make a cushion cover by hand sewing diamonds together to piece this striking cushion cover, without needing any pro sewing skills!

Diamond star cushion sewing kit

40

LOVE cushion sewing kit

Give a modern hand-made touch to your sofa with this DIY cushion kit, including all you need to make a beautiful cushion for your home or to give as a gift. The kit itself would make a great gift for a first-time maker as it includes simple instructions to talk you through how to make your very own cushion, plus fabric, stuffing, needle and thread.

Love how to sew a cushion kit

41

Christmas table runner sewing kit

We’re sneaking another Christmas kit in here (sorry not sorry) because we’ve fallen a bit in love with this design from Rico. This lovely beginner sewing kit comes with all the materials you need to make your own classic table runner.  The fabric is a blend of cotton and comes pre-stamped alongside stranded cotton, needle and instructions.

Rico Design Chrstmas Wreath Table Runner Sewing Kit

42

Olive Road Vintage Lampshade kit

Lampshades are the perfect first fabric project as they don’t actually need much sewing! We’re including this lampshade sewing kit for beginners nonetheless as it’s a lovely way to make a fabric item for your home. Choose between several different vintage fabric options to make your own 20cm drum lampshade.

Lampshade kit

43

Janet Clare Sewing Kit

Play around with patchwork and make a lovely little set of items for your sewing stash – this Janet Clare kit comes with everything you need to make a matching needlecase, pin cushion, scissor keep and fabric project bag.

Janet Claire Sewing projects sewing kit

What sewing supplies do I need to get started?

If you prefer to build your own kit, here are a few things we recommend you include to start out. Whatever project you decide to tackle, these are the few essential bits and bobs you should always have to hand. With the following items in your kit you’ll be ready for anything!

Sewing kit essentials

  • Fabric scissors
  • Small embroidery scissors
  • Fabric
  • Needles
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Tape measure
  • Pins
  • Pin cushion
  • Transfer pencil or chalk
  • Iron & ironing board
  • Seam ripper

Tape measure

Fabric scissors

A pair of dedicated dressmakers’ scissors will help you snip through any fabric with ease. Look for some that are about 20cm (8in) long and have a curved handle to enable accurate cutting on flat surfaces, with pointed tips for precision. Avoid using your scissors on anything other than fabric or you will blunt the blades.

Small embroidery scissors

A small pair of embroidery scissors is one of the most reached-for items you’ll ever add to your stash. From tidying loose threads ends to unpicking rogue stitches, they’ll be your trusty friend for many a project in the years to come.

Fabric

You’ll usually purchase fabric by the yard or metre, but if you just want a small amount of material, opt for a ‘fat quarter’, which is a yard that’s been cut into four sections, making a piece of fabric that measures about 46x56cm (18x22in). You can buy these individually or in bundles.

Needles

The needle you use is dependent on what you’re sewing. You’ll find all sorts of specialist needles are available for embroidery, quilting and cross stitch, but a pack of assorted sewing needles is a good place to start. When you choose your needle, make sure the eye is just large enough for your thread to go through but not too large that it’s constantly slipping out. Use a sharp pointed needle for all sewing – the blunt ones are used for cross stitch and needlepoint.

Thread

There’s a thread for almost every occasion and your local fabric shop will be able to help you find the right one for your project. Cotton is a fabulous all-purpose thread, but polyester (or a mix) is handy if you need extra strength. Cheap thread is more likely to break easily, so it’s worth spending a little more for
a great finish.

Sewing machine

Ah our trusty sewing machines. For many sewists of all abilities, our relationship with our sewing machine is one of life’s certainties (until we snap the needle!). There are so many machines on the markets for all budgets and abilities. You don’t need any previous experience to use one. We’ve got some great beginner guides for things like How to use a sewing machine here on Gathered.

Tape measure

Measuring fabric correctly is crucial to a perfect finished project (measure twice, cut once!), so a tape measure is one of your most important tools. Find one that measures around 150cm (59in) and has both metric and imperial units for quick conversions.

Pins

When you’re asking “what sewing supplies do I need?” it’s always a good idea to include pins in your beginner kit. You’ll use these to hold your pieces of fabric in place. You might find traditional dressmakers’ pins fiddly to work with – if so, try pins with larger glass or ‘flower’ heads. Most are between 2.5-5cm (1-2in) long, so you could always collect a variety to use on different projects. Don’t forget to buy a tin or make a pincushion to keep them safe!

Pin cushion

Ah pins – the handiest of stash items but they get everywhere! Many a sewist has found escapee pins on their carpet or on the sofa. Keep a pin cushion in your kit to keep your pins-in-progress safe and sound.

Tailor’s chalk or fabric pencil

Before you start stitching you’ll need something to transfer guidelines on to your fabric. Tailor’s chalk is ideal for this because it goes on and comes off easily – so easily, in fact, that you may need to be careful you don’t brush it off by accident. Choose basic white or go for a coloured chalk if you’re working with pale fabrics. Fabric pencils are ideal for marking finer lines on to your fabric. They come in different types – iron-on, air erasable, water erasable and chalk (which will brush off). They also come in different shades, so you can find the colour that stands out best on your material. Soapstone pencils rub off easily and show up on darker fabrics.

Iron and ironing board

If we’ve learnt one thing from The Great British Sewing Bee, it’s that you can never press your projects enough. Not only is pressing your work essential if you’re making a quilt,  it will change your life if you’re making clothes too! No, literally… it will change your sewing life. Regularly pressing your sewing project neatens up the finished look and feel of your garment or project, and if you press regularly as you move through the stages of making a garment or quilt, you’ll help smooth the fabric and prepare it for the next stage. You don’t need a specialist professional iron and board though – your regular home iron will get you started.

Seam ripper

Everyone makes mistakes now and then, and this clever gadget takes some of the frustration out of unpicking your stitches. Simply slip the pointed end under your stitch (taking care not to catch the fabric as you go) and cut through it by gently pulling upwards. Look out for non-slip handles as these make the seam ripper easier to use.

Other useful sewing supplies

We all find sewing kits for beginners useful when we start out sewing, but as your skills develop, so will your toolbox. Buy good quality items and they’ll last you for years. Here are a few more tools and notions you’ll find handy as you start to tackle more complex projects.

Buttons

Whether you’re using them for practical fastenings or just for decoration, you can never have enough buttons! They’re usually sold by size (diameter in millimetres inches), either individually or in packs. Most are flat, but ‘shanked’ buttons have a loop on their underside that helps thicker fabrics to sit beneath them when the garment is buttoned up.

Fastenings

  • Snap fasteners (also known as press studs) are used to hold two pieces of fabric together and can’t be seen from the front.
  • Hooks and eyes hold fabric edges flush together or you can buy magnetic fastenings, which are ideal for bag and purse closures.
  • Safety pins are great for securing thicker fabrics or for threading  cord through casings.

Thimble

It’s a good idea to save yourself from pricked or calloused fingers with a thimble. They are usually worn on your middle finger to help you push your needle through thicker fabrics.

Thread cutter

Essential for the travelling stitcher, this nifty device enables you to snip your threads even when you don’t have the space for (or are not permitted to carry) scissors.

Metal ruler

Keep a ruler in your sewing kit to make sure you get perfect measurements every time. Your ruler should have both metric and imperial units – a 15cm (6in) ruler is enough for smaller projects. Go for durable metal rather than plastic and you’ll also be able to use it as a guide for creating straight lines  with a rotary cutter.

Rotary cutter

Used to cut fabric, rotary cutters are extremely sharp and should be kept away from children. They’re popular with quilters because they can cut several layers of material at once and give more even results than scissors. Decide what size blade you need before you buy – small diameters tend to be better at cutting curves.

Cutting mat

A cutting mat protects your work surface while you’re using a rotary cutter. Most are ‘self-healing’ (meaning that any scratches magically disappear after use) and are printed with grid lines to help you line up your fabrics. Cutting mats are about 2mm thick, come in a range of sizes and should be stored flat so they don’t bend and warp.

Large needles

It’s a good idea to keep a few larger needles in your sewing box, so you always have the right one available for your project. Tapestry needles, for example, are great for tasks such as threading elastic through a hem to create  a drawstring, while chenille needles are perfect for embroidery as they have
a larger eye.

Pinking shears

Some woven fabrics can fray easily, but you can help prevent this by cutting them with a pair of pinking shears. These leave a zigzag edge that’s great for storing fabrics and also makes a pretty decorative effect. Choose a pair with steel blades and a contoured handle that’s comfortable to work with.

Fabric pen

For extra precision, and lines that are easier to see on pale cloth, use a soluble fabric pen to mark out your design. Always test the pen on a scrap of fabric before you begin to ensure that it comes off easily with water, and avoid ironing over any of the marks because this can make the line permanent. Fabric pens are good to use for embroidery.

Embroidery thread

As the name suggests, these are most commonly used for embroidery, cross stitch and other forms of needlework. They’re usually made from six strands of cotton, which you can separate into individual strands. If you’re following a chart then you’ll see a key with numbers that correspond to the required colours of thread.

Sewing machine needles

You’ll find there are many types of sewing machine needle to choose from – including specialist varieties just for leather – and different sizes are suitable for different fabrics and stitches. To ensure compatibility with your machine, check the manual for recommended brands and weights.

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