10 Sewing Tools That Belong in Your First Box

We know from experience that a sewing box can get out of control FAST. So we took a good, hard look and determined that, aside from a sewing machine, there are really only 10 things you need to tackle most projects.

10 sewing box must-haves


Fabric scissors

Make sure they're sharp and that they're earmarked to be only used for fabric. Cutting through other surfaces, even paper will dull the blades — which means instant frustration at sewing time.

Tailor's chalk

Tailor's chalk is used to transfer pattern markings onto their corresponding fabric pieces, particularly on dark fabrics. (Pro tip: to get rid of the marks when you don't need them anymore, just brush 'em off with a second piece of fabric.)

Seam ripper

Though it's no fun to remove stitches, a sharp seam ripper will work quickly, and is a must if you're revamping an existing piece. They get dull over time, so don't hesitate to replace yours if it's not working as well as it once did.

Measuring tape

This is probably a no-brainer, we know. It's essential for taking body measurements when sewing garments, but a measuring tape can also be used to measure fabric width and items longer than your sewing gauge or clear ruler. (See below!)

Water-soluble fabric marker

You can use a fabric marker the same way as tailor's chalk, but the blue (or sometimes purple) color allows it to mark light or white fabrics with a crisp, fine line. Most wash away easily with water. 

Seam/measuring gauge

This multi-function ruler is great for pressing perfect, even hems and taking small measurements. The plastic arrow slider can move the length of the ruler. Set it to your desired measurement to quickly and easily mark a set length in multiple areas.

Hand-sewing needles

Here you'll want a variety of needle sizes to work with different weights of fabric. You'll reach for these mostly when basting, mending, sewing on buttons and blind hemming by hand.


Use pins to hold multiple layers of fabric together until they are sewn. The length and type are up to you; some are thin and meant for fine fabric while others are longer for use in quilting. General-purpose glass or plastic round-head pins the most common and do the trick.


You'll definitely need somewhere to stash those pins when you're not using them, and a pincushion really does work better than a box, which is just asking for a poke on the fingertip when you reach in (ouch).


Another no-brainer here. The size of your collection will depend on how many projects you have going, since you'll want to match your thread color to your fabric. That said, it's always good to keep cream and black thread on hand as back-up for emergencies. Make sure your thread is high quality; the cheaper stuff may break easily, causing sewing machine (or wardrobe!) malfunctions.



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