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Sewing Starter Kit Checklist

Are you thinking about getting a sewing machine for yourself or for someone new to sewing? Do you have a sewing machine and don't quite know where to start? NEVER FEAR, I've got you covered!

I have compiled a list of everything you need to get started. This is also the list I am recommending for my series of Sewing Classes! There are links to my top favs in my Resources Tab. These are NOT affiliate links, just things I use and recommend.

Sewing Machine

Some of the items on this list are going to seem obvious but by the end I promise you will have everything you need to get some beginner projects under your belt!! First thing first is the sewing machine. My teaching machine and go-to beginner machine is the Brother XM2701. Whatever machine you go with (my all time favorite is my Husqvarna), make sure you read the instruction manual. If you got a machine thrifted or given to you then just google the model number and get the manual that way. Most machines work the same IN GENERAL but newer models have upgraded features.


When Im drafting or sewing I absolutely cannot live without my see through 2" wide quilting ruler. You can usually find them in the "quilting" section of the fabric store or on amazon. Find it HERE.

Measuring Tape

Any Measuring tape will do! You are looking for the one that is flexible and can be wrapped around a body!


For beginners I recommend some cotton fabric. In my tutorials I will begin with plain white muslin fabric so that you can see the stitching and we can check the work!


You are going to want to check on which bobbin your machine takes. There are several different sizes and brands. If you don't have your manual with your machine usually you can google your machine and bobbins and it will tell you which size!!

Iron & Ironing board

You need an iron to iron out seams when sewing to make sure you don't have puckers in your fabric! Any brand here will work! I prefer an iron that has the steam feature which I think is every standard iron now. Here is an inexpensive option! You can get both of these items from literally anywhere and they will work just fine.

pin cushion

Straight pins (or clips if thats your jam)

I prefer straight quilters pins with the little yellow balls on the ends. I like these because they are long and I can always find them with the balls on the ends. I have altered clothing before and found pins left by someone else that did not have the balls so they are harder to spot. I also have clips on here because I see a lot of tutorials where the seamstress is using clips and Although these do the job I don't like them because I do sew over or right up to my pins and you cant do that with clips. If you are sewing something like leather though you need clips cause you can't make a bunch of holes with pins!

Seam ripper

DO NOT SKIP this one! You absolutely need a seam ripper. As a professional I use my seam ripper a lot!! You may need it to undo something you have done or to take out an existing seam if you want to recycle a clothing item or make alterations! This one is a must have.

Sewing thread

This one can really be any brand. The rule with thread is to match the fiber content of your fabric. If you are making something with polyester fabric then you need polyester thread and the same goes with cotton thread and fabric. The reason here is that "like materials" wash and dry the same. If you have a cotton garment and sew with poly thread the thread will shrink in the dryer under high heat causing your seams to bunch up. I prefer Gutterman brand threads because they are awesome.

chalk or disappearing fabric ink

Fabric Scissors

This one is a personal preference! I have the friskers brand linked in the resources page which is a top seller. The BIG RULE here is to keep a pair of "fabric scissors" for fabric only. Don't use them to craft. Get yourself another pair for that!!!

Rotary cutter and mat (preference)

Some people cannot live without the rotary cutting wheel and mat! I prefer a good old fashioned pair of tailor's scissors but if you have issues with scissors or carpal tunnel or anything like that a rotary cutter would be helpful. It is also used by quilters a lot because to make straight cuts all you do is lay down your ruler and follow it with the wheel and bam!!!

Hand sewing needles

There are different kinds of sewing needles! Yikes!!! Look at the packaging if you need a "special needle" I actually use all purpose hand sewing needles. I find that the ones with the elongated holes are easier to thread. Some now have a latch type eye where you don't have to "thread the eye" at all anymore. If the tiny hole scares you then look up the ones that latch!!!

Machine sewing needles

Last but certainly not least important!!! There are a lot of different options when it comes to needles. Check your machines recommendations first. Then what type of fabric you will be sewing. Smaller numbers (of gage) are thinner and made for light fabrics so that you don't leave huge holes in the fabric. The larger numbers are thicker needles and made for jean material and leather where you really have to punch through the fabric. Side note: general light weight sewing machines aren't really made for this so if you are planning to sew leather make sure your machine can handle it. My Pro Tip here is if you feel like your needle is "punching" the fabric and not "gliding" through it, its time to switch out the needle because its become dull.

If you're new here make sure to check out out all of our free content to get you started! You can also join any of our groups to ask questions, share your experiences and post your work in real time! Be sure to follow @jacqulineterrydesigns on social media!

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