I often get questions about what sewing supplies I recommend, so here is a list! Most links here go to wawak.com, a source for sewing supplies based in New Jersey. Wawak has good customer service, $4.95 flat rate shipping, and supplies usually arrive within 1-2 business days to the DC area. I don’t receive anything from Wawak for recommending them, I just like them a lot!
I’m also including some links to products on my Amazon Local Associates page, mostly the sewing machines and other items that you can’t find through Wawak. I do get a small kickback from Amazon, full disclosure! But always check Wawak first to see if you can get the item cheaper. Sorry, Amazon, you’re great, but sometimes smaller businesses do things better.
- Gingher scissors: The industry standard. Very sharp, good for adults, too sharp for kids. Lefty version available.
- Mundial scissors: a less expensive alternative to Gingers, and also good quality. Lefty versions are also available.
- Fiskars beginner scissors for kids. Good size and safe point, while still being strong enough for fabric.
- Basic one: Very good, and cheap — get three in case you lose the other two!
- Fancier one from Clover. A little larger handle that is easier for some people, but the tip is still nice and small for fine work.
- Measuring tape. Five lovely colors to choose from!
- Seam gauge. For hems and other measuring tasks.
- Styling Design Ruler: This is the three-in-one ruler that is used for all kinds of garment pattern making and pattern alterations
- Omnigrid 24″ x 6″ ruler. This is especially helpful for pattern making
- Chaco Liners. These are the things I use in the studio that make a very fine chalk line. They are refillable, and come in many colors. Wawak only carries them in white, but Amazon has other colors.
- Wax chalk. The only problem with this product is that you have to order 48 of them. If you want some, just ask me and I’ll give them to you for free. I have a box at the studio.
- Tracing paper
- Tracing wheel
PINS, PIN CUSHION ETC
- Standard ball pins
- Pearlized ball pins (for kids and grown ups who like pretty colored things)
- Glass head extra fine pins. These are good for very fine fabrics
- Traditional tomato pin cushion
- Magnetic pin wand
- Dual Duty Coats & Clark All Purpose Thread. A good price 100% polyester, and works.
- Gutterman Thread. High quality, a bit more expensive than dual duty. Comes in a wider array of colors. If you sew a lot, it might be worth buying a thread color chart for matching exact colors for online ordering.
- Maxilock. Big cones of thread that are much more economical than the smaller spools. Good to have for colors that you use a lot, like black, white, beige. You’ll need a thread stand to use them on your sewing machine, or follow this genius trick from the magical Martha Stewart.
- Thread stand: for using big cones of thread (see point above)
- Kraft white paper (36″ x 100 ft). This is what I use for patterns at the studio. It will last a long time, and is sturdy yet transparent enough to make tracing easy.
- Swedish tracing paper. This is nice for copying patterns. It’s a little more expensive than the kraft paper, but more durable. I usually use this for the second draft or final draft of a pattern, after I’ve worked out the kinks.
I have a few machines listed here… The first three are very comparable in terms of features. The Janomes are more expensive, but are more durable. I think it’s fair to say that the Brother will last 5-7 years, while the Janomes could last 10+ years.
- Brother CS6000i, CS7000i or XR9550. All very well priced machines with lots of features, and good for kids (and grown ups!) because they have speed control. I own six of the Brother CS6000i that I use for my youth sewing programs. They are not as durable as the Janomes (especially with kids use), and they can’t handle thick fabric as smoothly as the Janomes, but they are a good value overall. For most basic garment sewing these are a good choice for the money.
- Janome DC1050. Similar to the model I use in my studio, only computerized. A little more durable than comparable Brother models, hene the higher price.
- Janome HD1000 or HD3000. If you are thinking of sewing thick materials (denim, garment weight leather, drapes, home decor) this is a good choice. It has all metal parts, which is hard to find in a sewing machine these days. That means it will last a lot longer than other machines listed here. However, it does not have an extra speed control feature, so you have to learn how to control the speed by how hard you push the pedal… aka, the old fashioned way!
- Sew Me! Sewing Basics. I’ve has a few students use this book and really like it. Nice pictures, fairly easy to follow.
- Reader’s Digest Guide to Sewing. An oldie but a goody. This is not so much a how-to-sew book as a useful reference for all kinds of construction techniques. As such, it’s not really a beginner text, but something worth having once you’re at the intermediate level and want a good reference on how to do something like sewing in a pants fly, make a welted pocket, etc.
- Sewing ModKid Style. A favorite for kids between 8-11 years old
Built By Wendy Books. I like these because they are visual, nicely organized, and include patterns. They are relatively easy to follow, and are good if you are looking to develop a wardrobe of staples.