Do you find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer volume of tools and notions at the craft store? (or excited perhaps?) What do you choose that is really going to be useful in your sewing room? – This list of 13 Must-Have Tools in the Sewing Room will guide you to the ones you actually NEED and calm the sheer overwhelm!
If you are new to sewing or a veteran looking to pick up a few new fancy tools to make your life a little more comfortable… I’ve got you covered!
This post contains affiliate links to products I own, use and love.
13 Must-Have Tools in the Sewing Room
Let’s just get this one out of the way first, because while you don’t HAVE to have one to sew, I believe you’ll be a much happier and more productive quilter when you do own one! It doesn’t have to be the most expensive model. There are tons of options out there for every price point.
Personally, I’m in love with my Janome 3160QDC. I have had her for a few years, and we’re totally besties forever now. (PS – This Janome 4120 QDC is a newer version of my machine, and comes with all the bells and whistles/accessories just a little more money up front.)
This Brother CS6000i on Amazon is a really great model for starting out. Less than $150 and includes a good quilting table and decorative stitches. It will grow with you for a long time before you feel any need to upgrade your machine.
Ugh. I have a love/hate with iron. I feel like such an old peasant woman slaving away in the hot sun every time I use them, but yet I’m also really impressed with the crisp, perfect smoothness of my fabric. I’m aware of the 2parallell feelings and still don’t understand how they coincide at the same time.
This is my favorite little iron. I use it every single day. I actually wrote a whole post on it that you can read here. It is perfect for pressing open seams as you go… and its smaller size lessens accidental finger burns and steam scorches.
Another iron that is absolutely loved and put on a golden pedestal by the quilting community is the Oliso Pro TG1600. This is the mac-daddy of all irons. It is a $170 workhorse. I do not own it (yet), but I have a friend who uses it, and I’m totally guilty of bringing a few yards of fabric over to her house to work on while we visit over coffee from time to time. — Good friend’s share their goodies!
No matter which iron you select, be sure that it will quickly become one of the hardest working tools in your space. And if you’re wondering… Do you HAVE to press your seams when you sew… I’ve got your questions covered.
- Rotary Cutter & Blades
When you first start sewing, I guarantee you’ll think you can do just fine with scissors and that tiny-pizza-wheel-of-potential-missing-fingers are not a priority for sewing tools. Wrong, my friend. Get the rotary cutter. Learn to use it properly. You will save precious time in the sewing room by being extremely precise and consistent the first time you cut, every single time. I use this one, and I’ve had it for several years now with no signs of wear and tear to it.
With a rotary cutter, you’ll need a proper cutting mat to not only protect any surface you cut on, but to protect the blades of your rotary cutter as well. There are so many on the market and in stores. I’ll recommend my two favorite ones.
18″ x 24″ Self Healing Mat from Fiskars – It is a good size when you’re cutting larger pieces of fabric, but it also protects your work table if you’re working on smaller projects too. Very handy to keep around.
This 14″ x 14″ rotating cutting mat from Fiskars is handy to have when you need to trim multiple sides of a piece and don’t wish to move the piece around.
All it takes is one project with this mat, and you’ll be glad you have it!
Yay! one of my favorite tools in the sewing room! I love the precise superpower that a good ruler can give you! My favorites are made by The Gadget Girls. I love the neon green and ‘glowing’ markings that make it really easy to align my fabric properly and make perfect cuts. Before you think you have to own 100 different ones… take a look at this post to see the Essential rulers and why you need them.
Face it… Once in a blue moon… we may get a day where we can sew all day with beautiful natural lighting and hours of uninterrupted sewing time… sweet bliss! My reality usually has me sewing just after the kids go to sleep in the late evening hours or random bits of kidnapped time here and there. I can’t rely on mother nature to give me proper lighting. The light on your machine isn’t meant to be the light source for your entire project. This little lamp is easy to bring out when you need it or fold it up and put it out of the way when you don’t. I also love the adjustable shade of lighting that it has!
Scissors – Fabric & Paper
I’m going to do my best impression of an old grandma and shake my pointer finger in your face for a moment. – Please DO NOT use your fabric scissors on your pattern paper! It’s a surefire way to dull your scissors and renter them less than worthy to perform the job you are asking of them! You should have at least two pairs of scissors in your sewing room. I always buy the cheapie scissors for my patterns and whatever else comes up in the craft room and save my good scissors for fabric ONLY.
Scissor Magnet thingy
Speaking of scissors, do not count this scissor magnet little gem out. It keeps your small embroidery scissors close at hand as well as your pins!
A Comfy Chair
If you’re going to be sitting for a while. You are going to need a comfy chair! I got mine from IKEA. You can see it at this link here. I love it. For lack of a better way to put it… the curve of the chair holds your rear end just so to make hours spent at the machine quite comfortable and at an affordable price too!
Buy yourself a good one at the beginning so you can look at your problems in the face and conquer them. This one is still my favorite seam ripper because I like the rubber “eraser tool” on the end, but I also love the one that my sweet hubby made for me too 😉 I go back and forth between the two. You can read more about seam rippers in this post that I wrote.
From clipping your rows for quilting, to quilt binding … even something (safe) to distract a curious toddler for a few extra minutes of sewing, magic clips are a very useful tool in the sewing room when you don’t want to use straight pins.
Tool Organization Method
I’m a sucker for places like The Container Store that gives me the feeling of really having my life together because everything has a place and a place for everything. I’ve tried several different methods, and this is my favorite organizer for my essentials and quick grabs in the sewing room. It’s simple, but it works and is easily transported elsewhere if I need to move it. The bin I have cost less than $20 and is apparently not being sold anymore, but there are several others on Amazon with the same general purpose.
Lastly, the truth is, as you begin sewing you’ll need to acquire a few little things to make your craft a little easier along the way. You do NOT need to purchase the whole aisle of notions… just a few will give you happy quilting vibes. These are my favorites 🙂
Good Luck out there. Remember you DO NOT NEED to buy everything at once. If you do, you will be overwhelmed and will likely give up before you even begin, right? Start with these 13 must-have tools in the sewing room and shoot for learning one new skill each quilting project. You will continue to grow and change in your skills, and your projects will show your growth as well.
Do you have any “must-haves” that I’ve left off the list? What are your favorite tools in the sewing room? Make sure and tell me about it in the comments below.
Mary Maychruk says
Something that is a must-have in my Sewing Room is a CD player! I just have to have my favorite music playing while I sew!
I See Stars Quilting says
Oh my goodness! You are so right! I always have some type of music playing! Or if my kids are asleep, I like to listen to podcasts on my headphones. It helps when I can concentrate! 🙂
Vikki Anderson says
Was so excited to find your site, HOWEVER, your pop=up ads are beyond annoying! Sorry to say I won’t be back.
The little round pull out tape measure – I have one in the purse at all times, 2nd only to my driver’s license. A jump ring that opens – fabric samples with a snip in the corner. Never know when you might see fabric and think – does it blend, match, contrast???
I See Stars Quilting says
Linda, you are one prepared woman! 🙂 I have seen the little plastic fabric swatch keyrings before. Never hurts to be ahead fo the game!