Tools to Get Started with Dressmaking

by | Jul 17, 2023

Tools to get started with dressmaking: As a beginner sewist, having the right tools is crucial for a successful and enjoyable sewing journey. In this guide, we will walk you through the essential tools you’ll need to get started with dressmaking. From cutting and measuring to sewing and pressing, we’ve got you covered!

Cutting Tools:

    a. Fabric Scissors: Invest in a good pair of fabric scissors with sharp blades and comfortable handles. These will be your go-to for cutting fabric.

Tools to Get Started with Dressmaking - Fabric Scissors

    b. Paper Scissors: Keep a separate pair of scissors for cutting paper patterns and other non-fabric materials. I like these ones from Dunelm.

    c. Small Embroidery Scissors or Snips: These are handy for trimming threads and making precise cuts in delicate areas.

    Seam Ripper:

    A seam ripper is your best friend when it comes to correcting mistakes. Look for one with a sharp point and an easy-to-grip handle like this Prym one.

Tools to Get Started with Dressmaking - unpicker

    Measuring Tools:

    a. Tape Measure: Accuracy is key in dressmaking, so a flexible tape measure is essential for taking body measurements and measuring fabric lengths. In stock at my studio.

    b. Pins: Use sharp straight pins to hold fabric in place during sewing. They come in different lengths and thicknesses, so choose the ones that suit your needs and personal preferences.

    c. Pin Cushion: Keep your pins organized and within reach by using a pin cushion. It can be as simple as a fabric-covered pincushion or a magnetic dish.

    Marking and Sewing Tools:

    a. Magnetic Seam Guide: This handy tool attaches to your sewing machine and helps you sew straight and consistent seam allowances.

    b. Seam Gauge: A seam gauge is perfect for measuring and marking seam allowances, hems, and other small distances accurately.

    c. Tailors Chalk: Use tailor’s chalk in different colors to mark fabric for cutting, sewing lines, or pattern adjustments.

    d. Frixion Pens: These pens provide a temporary mark on fabric that disappears when heat is applied. They are great for marking darts, pleats, and other sewing details.

    Threads and Bobbins:

    a. Threads: Invest in good-quality threads that match your fabric. Start with basic colors like black, white, and neutral shades, and expand your collection as needed.

    b. Spare Bobbins: Keep a supply of pre-wound bobbins on hand, so you’re always ready to sew without interruption.


    a. Hand Sewing Needles: A variety of hand sewing needles will come in handy for tasks such as basting, hemming, and attaching buttons. Choose different sizes to accommodate various fabrics and thread thicknesses.

    b. Sewing Machine Needles: Select the appropriate sewing machine needles based on the fabric you’re working with. Different fabrics may require different needle types and sizes. Look out for Schmetz, they’re my favourite.

Credit: Schmetz Needles

    Pressing Tools:

    a. Iron: A good-quality iron is essential for pressing fabric during the sewing process. Look for one with adjustable heat settings and a steam function. My preferred brand is Tefal.

    b. Ironing Board: Use a sturdy ironing board with a smooth surface for efficient and safe pressing. Get one that fits easily into your sewing space.

Armed with these essential tools, you are well on your way to becoming a skilled dressmaker. Remember to start with the basics and gradually expand your collection as you gain experience and know your preferences. Don’t forget to have fun and embrace the creative journey that dressmaking offers. Happy sewing!

If you need help choosing a Sewing Machine read my advice here.

Love & Stitches

Alison xx

PS. I do have some of these items in stock to purchase at the studio. If you’re coming to lessons and would like to buy some tools, just let me know.

But I also have plenty of tools for students to borrow while you’re at lessons in the studio, if you don’t feel ready to make the commitment to buy your own kit yet.

The Love & Stitches Club

An exclusive membership club where you can learn to sew and create your own handmade clothes, from the comfort of your own home

Learn to create an entire wardrobe of wonderful, stylish outfits. Whatever your personal style, size and tastes, youโ€™ll learn to make beautiful clothes that will last for years and gain compliments wherever you go.