Beginner Sewist - What You Need to Get Started



In 2019, I had a part time gig at Jo Ann Fabrics.   I really liked it so I continued even after I returned to my full-time teaching job.  I knew I would be retiring from teaching soon.  And I really loved being surrounded by all of the crafts and fabric and creativity!
A card I made for my granddaughter to give a friend.

I've been an avid paper crafter for years, and I dabble in wood and paint crafts, but I never thought I would take up sewing (again), until I worked at Jo Ann.  I took sewing in middle school and high school, either 3 or 4 years, and I remember the basics.  So 30-something years later, I decided to jump back in! There are so many things to create!

I made my own sewing machine cover.

For 3 1/2 years I have been back in the sewing game, and what I haven't been able to remember on my own, I have been able to learn and relearn.  So if you're thinking of taking up the hobby, go for it! 

There are a few obvious essentials:

1. sewing machine

2. scissors or rotary cutter (or both)

3.  needles

4. thread and bobbins

5. pins and/or clips

6. fabric

7.  tape measure

8. cutting mat

Here are a few other things that make sewing easier that might not seem so obvious.

9. Seam ripper.  I make mistakes.  I've had to take projects apart and start over.  Even the most experienced sewists do, too.

10. Pen with Soluble or Disappearing Ink.  I need to be able to mark my fabric for patterns, hem lines, cutting, and so on.

11.  Nippers.  I call them that.  They are little sewing scissors that are actually called thread snips.  Even if your machine has an automatic thread cutter, you will need these small scissors.  Your regular fabric scissors can be unwieldy when trying to cut small threads.

12.  Pinking sheers.  These not only help prevent fraying but are also one easy way to finish a seam.

13. Patterns.  I have purchased a few, but I also find free patterns on the Internet.

Bonus:  You need resources that you can trust.  There are a multitude of resources on the Internet with their own blogs, YouTube channels, and what-not. I have curated a list of sewing enthusiasts that I trust.

**Made Everyday - I usually watch Dana on YouTube where she does all types of tutorials such as zipper bags, totes, drawstring bags, skirts, quilts, backpacks, envelope pillows, and so much more!

**Vintage Fashion House - I also usually watch Evelyn Wood of VFH on YouTube as well.  I don't design clothing like she does, but she explains things so well, and not only how to do something but why.    I learned about understitching and stay stitching which I had never heard of before. She taught me how to sew darts. She gives practical tips for beginning sewists like how to choose a fabric, how to read a pattern, what to do if you don't have a serger, and all about good sewing habits.

**Professor Pincushion - Their YouTube channel is an invaluable tool.  I've learned how to add piping to a pillow, gather fabric, and use bias tape.  They teach everything from basic sewing information all the way to advanced projects.

** Hello Sewing.  I spend more time on Helen's blog, but she also has a YouTube channel.  I watch her videos on her blog rather than on YouTube usually, because she also gives written directions and lots of free patterns.  She shows you step-by-step how to make your project right there on her blog.  I've made headbands with and without elastic, gift card holders, a poncho, and fabric bins.

And if you watch their videos or read their blogs, and these experts tell you not to skip a step, DON'T SKIP THAT STEP!  

I don't work at Jo Ann anymore due to COVID.  They didn't close, but I didn't want to bring COVID home to my family.  I miss being surrounded by all the creativity!  It feeds my soul! Happy Sewing!

My Pinterest Textiles Board

Crafting Brands I Like

My Etsy Shop (some items I've sewn recently)


  1. I mostly just keep thread and needles for taking up all those clothes since I'm only 5' 1"!

  2. I wish you much enjoyment! I did a bit of sewing for my kids when they were very little, but wasn't all that good at it and didn't really love it, so didn't keep it up. I admire various friends who excel at it. (I love to crochet.)

  3. I use a needle and thread for buttons, but that's about it. I was never very crafty.