Basic Sewing Tools and How to Use Them

Sewing Tool Description
Chalk Wedge or Pencil With these tools, it is simple to accurately copy design line and construction markings.
Chalk rubs off easily, so mark the fabric just before you start to sew.
Dress Model A dress model allows you to create your own patterns. They also allow you to tailor and fit garments to specific measurements.
Fabric Marking Pens Water-soluble ink pens usually have blue ink that you can remove from the fabric with a damp sponge when you no longer need the markings.
(Do not use water-soluble pens on very light-weight fabrics or on fabrics that need to be dry-cleaned.)
Air-soluble ink simply disappears on its own within 48 hours.
Sewing Machine The most important piece of equipment in a sewing room.
It is very important to have the machine set up correctly for your use, on a firm base and at an ergonomic height.
Needles For dressmaking; size 8. For bead embroidery and fine fabrics (silks or chiffons) size 9.
Pins Minimum 1 inch long dressmaking pins. Steel pins are recommended as others can bend easily.
Pinking Shears Pinking shears have zigzag blades that cut a “pinked” edge.
Pinking is one way to finish seam allowances to keep them from fraying.
Seam Ripper With this precise tool, you can remove unwanted stitches without ripping the fabric.
You can also cut open stitched buttonholes.
Sewing Scissors You need scissors to trim, grade and clip seams.
Most sewing scissors are 6″ (15.2cm) long with one sharp point and one blunt, rounded point.
Sewing Shears Shears are usually 7″ to 8″ (17.7 to 20.3cm) long.
They have bent handles and a small hole for the thumb.
The bottom blade rests on the work surface so the fabric lies flat, which makes it easier to cut long lengths of fabric accurately.
Embroidery Scissors or Snips These small scissors are for precision cutting (trimming seams, cutting corners, and snipping thread ends, for example). They are about 3″ to 4″ (7.6 to 10.2cm) long with two sharp points.
Some sewers wear them around their necks on a ribbon or string to keep them handy.
Seam gauge Great for small measurements, especially seam allowances.
Tailor’s chalk At least two pieces are recommended, one white and one blue.
Tape measure A good tape measure shouldn’t stretch.
Tracing wheel A round cutting blade with a serrated edge. This enables you to mark patterns onto the fabric without cutting the pattern out.
Transparent ruler 2″ (5.1cm) wide transparent ruler with horizontal and vertical measurement markings for easy measuring and marking.
Thimble Your thimble should fit comfortably on your middle finger.
Ruler It is easier to measure hems with a firm, straight ruler, and can be used to connect points for straight seams.
Iron and Ironing Board A medium weight with thermostat control and steam option. The board should be firm and smooth.
Yardstick Helpful when you are laying out pattern and fabric, locating grainline and marking hems.