Some of the most common questions I get on my channel relate to supplies. From my machines, elastic, thread, cutting mats, and beyond, this post should cover it all! Read on to complete your sewing starter kit! I will be updating this list regularly. Enjoy!
*This post contains affiliate links, but I stand by my recommendations and I purchase these items regularly for myself.
- Woolly Nylon: This thread is the best thread for swimwear. It stretches a ton. It can be difficult to thread, so simply tie the woolly nylon to a long piece of polyester/regular thread, thread the polyester, then pull the woolly nylon through.
- Polyester: This is basic thread. It doesn’t stretch, so I’d recommend limiting your use of this. I’ve found it works fine with heavier fabrics. Maxi Lock is a reputable brand with great quality.
- Rubber Elastic: I like using 1/4″ rubber elastic, but if I want thicker straps then I might use 3/8″. For bands that go around your ribcage, 1″ is perfect!
- Dritz Seam Ripper: I was surprised by how well this seam ripper held up. I used it for so long and it took probably 2+ years to finally get dull enough to ditch.
- Seam Rippers (Pack of 9): I always lose my seam rippers since they’re so tiny… So I bought 9 more of them!!!
- Brass Seam Ripper: My personal favorite choice. The brass seam rippers I’ve purchased are much longer lasting and better quality than any others I’ve tried. I recently bought this one and I’ve been super happy with it!
- Singer 561 Scissors: These are perfect for cutting swimwear fabric since they are lightweight and very sharp. They’re a great basic!
- Gingher 8-inch Scissors: These are legendary scissors. The reviews speak for them… I use these for swimwear but they are more meant for heavier fabrics. If you buy these scissors, they will instantly become your new favorites.
Cutting mat/rotary cutter
- Fiskars Cutting Mat/Cutter Set: This set includes everything you will need to get set up with mat cutting instead of scissor cutting- including an acrylic ruler!
- Olfa Cutting Mat: Although more expensive than other mats, the price is worth it if you plan on sewing a lot. My Olfa mat is soooo much better than my other mats. It’s incredibly high quality and surprisingly lightweight. If you can spend the extra cash for this one, you won’t regret it!
- US Art Supply Cutting Mat: This is a great starter mat since the price is right. Although I like my Olfa better, this mat definitely does the job. And I love that it’s pink!
- Olfa Rotary Cutter: I use this rotary cutter, and I like it because it’s easy to pull the cover on and off. I prefer this one over the Fiskars one.
- Fiskars Rotary Cutter: Another option for a rotary cutter, and Fiskars is a good, high quality brand. The only reason I don’t prefer this one is because I don’t like the handle on it, but some people might prefer a cutter with a handle for more control!
- Rotary blades: Make sure to replace your blades often, as they get dull pretty quickly and it can be much harder to cut fabric, and even dangerous sometimes. I bought these replacements and with the amount of sewing I do, I change blades about every 2 months.
- Arteza Acrylic Ruler (6″ x 24″): This one has the same dimensions as the one I use, but it’s half the price of what I paid in a sewing shop! It is great for cutting straps and straight lines.
- Fiskars Acrylic Ruler (3″ x 18″): This is a smaller ruler but it’s still long enough to do straps. It’s lighter weight so it’s easier to lug around and it’s nice to have on hand.
- Singer Heavy Duty 4223: I bought this sewing machine several months ago after surrendering my amazing Pfaff to its rightful owner- my mom! So far, this machine has worked flawlessly with ALL my projects, and I probably won’t be upgrading for years to come.
- Brother SE400: This was another machine I was considering after returning my Pfaff. It is nice because it comes with basic features but it also has some embroidery functions. Perfect for monograms or as a clothing label.
- Brother Project Runway: One of the most popular starter machines, this is a cost effective machine you’ll love.
- Babylock Evolution: This is the machine that I use! It was definitely an investment piece, and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it unless you know for sure you will be sewing for a long time. I use it for nearly every single project I work on- whether it be swimwear, home decor, clothing, and so much more. Plus, it doubles as a cover stitch machine!
- Babylock Ovation: If you want a Babylock (yes, they’re as good as people say) but you don’t need the cover stitch function, then the Ovation is a great alternative, and you can save some money by going for this model instead. To be honest, I rarely use the cover stitch function on my machine, but maybe that will change!
- Brother 1034D: This is a GREAT starter machine! It is the most affordable serger you can find that still functions very well.
- Juki Pearl: When I look into buying another machine, this is the one I plan on getting! It is well-priced with good reviews, and Juki is great quality.
- Singer Professional: Another well-priced machine with good features and good reviews!
- I have a library of PDF patterns available for you! I’ve worked for years perfecting these, so I’d love for you to try them out.
- Staedtler French Curves: If you are making patterns, these will make your life much easier. Even for altering patterns, these are a good thing to have on hand. They help you draw natural curves like necklines, shoulder lines, and cheekiness on bikinis.
- Medical Paper: This is the best paper for when you’re drafting patterns since its cheap and lightweight. Great for testing since it is so easy! I’m still on the same roll I bought almost 2 years ago!
- Kraft Paper Jumbo Roll: This paper is a little thicker than the medical paper, so it holds up better. I prefer the medical paper for drafting, and sometimes I’ll use the Kraft paper for keeping.
For keeping patterns:
- Swedish Tracing Paper: Stop what you’re doing and buy this paper. I cannot say enough good things about the quality of this pattern paper. You can draw on it like any other paper, but it feels like fabric and holds up so incredibly well. Its worth trying at least once!
- Pellon 830 Easy Pattern: Another good option for pattern paper that holds up well. If you don’t want to order online, you can find this stuff at many fabric stores like Joann’s or places like Hobby Lobby.
- Dritz Loop Turner: This tool is ESSENTIAL for making straps or for stringing straps through holes, like in a sliding bikini top. This tool is much quicker than the paper clip method, but you could use the chain method if you didn’t want to buy extra materials.