We’re creators. We’re artisans. Creators and artisans must have tools. And because we sew, we get notions too.
Here is my list of resources that I think you will enjoy and find immensely helpful and/or crucial for making insanely pretty dresses or for increasing the enjoyment of our craft.
I promise that I’ll ONLY recommend tools and supplies that I’ve used personally and companies that I’ve done happy business with.
Please do NOT spend money on any tool, supply, or another resource on this list unless you need it to help you dream it, sew it, and flaunt it.
Sewing Tools & Notions
For your convenience, here are the absolute essentials that you need to join me on this journey to unleashing our dressmaking superpowers:
- Fiskars RazorEdge Fabric Shears
- Kai 5210 Dressmaking Shears
- Gingher 8-Inch Micro-Serrated Edge Knife Dressmaker’s Shears
- Gingher 7.5″ Pinking Shears
- Gingher 4-Inch Lightweight Embroidery Scissors
- Fiskars Nonstick Titanium Softgrip Scissors
- Fons and Porter Thread Snippers
- Dritz Seam-Fix Seam Ripper
RELATED: Read An Ultimate Guide to Cutting Tools.
- Dritz Extra-Fine Glass-Head Pins (White Pinhead)
- Dritz Ultra-Fine Glass Head Pins (Blue Pinhead)
- Dritz Ball Point Pins, Size 20
- Dritz Flat Flower Head Pins
- Dritz Silk Pins
- Dritz Long Pearlized Pins
- Dritz Tomato Pin Cushion
- Wrist Pin Cushion
- Dritz Ultimate Magnetic Pin Caddy
RELATED: Read An Ultimate Guide to Sewing Straight Pins.
Sewing Machine Needles
- Janome Blue Tipped Needles
- Klasse Sewing Machine Needles
- Schmetz Universal ~ Size 80/12
- Schmetz Universal ~ Assorted Pack
- Schmetz Jersey / Ballpoint ~ 80/12
- Schmetz Microtex (Sharps) ~ 80/12
- Schmetz Topstitching ~ 80/12
RELATED: Read An Ultimate Guide to Sewing Machine Needles.
Hand Sewing Needles
- Elastic thread
- Invisible thread
- Metallic thread
- Rayon thread
- Topstitching thread
- Variegated thread
- Gutterman’s Sew-All Thread, White
- Gutterman’s Sew-All Thread, Black
- Gutterman’s Sew-All Thread, Eggshell
- Gutterman’s Sew-All Thread, Slate
- Mettler Thread
RELATED: Read An Ultimate Guide to Sewing Thread.
- Dritz 60-inch measuring tape
- 2×18 Dritz Quilting See-Thru Drafting Ruler
- 2×18 Cottage Mills Ruler with Easy Grip knob
- Dritz 7-inch Seam Gauge with Point Turner
- Clover’s 5n1 Sliding Seam Gauge
- Clover’s Supersize 5n1 Sliding Seam Gauge
- Dritz Omnigrid Invisigrip
- TrueCut TrueGrips Non-Slip Adhesive Rings (Hobby Lobby)
RELATED: Read The Three Essential Measuring Tools.
- Ogrmar Professional Tailor’s Chalk Triangle
- Clover Chacopel Fine Point Pencils with Brush Cap & Sharpener
- Clover Thin Line Chalk Wheel Liner Marker
- Dritz Ergonomic Serrated Tracing Wheel
- Prym Smooth Edge Ergonomic Tracing Wheel
- Ogrmar Needle Point Tracing Wheel With Wood Handle (Needle Point Tracing Wheel)
- Crayola Ultra-Clean Washable Crayons
- Crayola Ultra-Clean Washable Fine Point Markers
- Crayola Washable Markers ~ Super Tips
- Avery ¼-inch Round Removable Colour-Coding Labels
RELATED: Read An Ultimate Guide to Sewing Marking Tools.
- Shark Ultimate Professional Iron
- Dritz Iron-Off Hot Iron Cleaner
- Faultless Hot Iron Cleaner
- Dritz Sheer Press Cloth ~ 100% Silk Organza
- Polder Deluxe Ironing Station with Iron Holster
- White T-Shirt Cloth Rags
- Dritz Tailor’s Ham
- Sunbeam Sleeve Ironing Board
- Dritz Seam Roll
- Scotch-Brite Lint Roller ~ Twin Pack
RELATED: Read An Ultimate Guide to Pressing Tools.
- Dritz Lightweight Clear Elastic
- Pellon 865 Bi-Stretch Lite Interfacing
- Stay tape
- Zippers ~ All-purpose
- Zippers ~ Decorative
RELATED: Read What Are Sewing Notions?
- Traditional Sewing Kit
- Husky 10-inch All-Purpose Tote
- Over The Door Shoe Organizer 24 LARGE Mesh Pockets
- Over the Door Hanging Shoe Organizer
- Bobbin Box Tray Organizers or Bobbin Rings
- Wonder Hanger Max NEW & IMPROVED
RELATED: Read How to Organize Your Sewing Tools & Supplies.
- Janome DC2014 Computerized Sewing Machine with 50 Built-In Stitches
- Brother CS6000i Computerized Sewing Machine
- Stanley Stubby Cushion Grip Magnetic Tip 2-Piece Screwdriver Set
- Class 15 bobbins
- Zipper feet
- Zoom-SPOUT Sewing Machine Oil
- Belkin Surge Protector
RELATED: Read Understanding Your Sewing Machine!
- ComfyMed® Posture Corrector (Click HERE to read my take on this item.)
- Mighty Bright Magnifying Glass
- Mighty Bright Task Lighting
- The Original Kiss My Back back support
RELATED:Read The Ergonomics of Sewing
Sewing Pattern Supplies
RELATED: Read Duplicating Your Sewing Patterns
Nancy’s Notions sells so many cool sewing-related stuff. And they have the most amazing 100% LIFETIME customer satisfaction guarantee.
Definitely, check out this site. Even if you buy nothing, it is an education in what’s new and cool in sewing heaven.
Commercial Pattern Companies
From what I can tell, once upon a time, there were a lot of pattern companies. For example, there was Advance Patterns (exclusively sold at J.C. Penny); Spadea Design Patterns; Polynesian Patterns (so interesting); and Hollywood Patterns (Created by Conde Nast and glamorous), Burda, New Look, Butterick, McCalls, Simplicity, Vogue, and more I’m sure.
Over the decades, pattern houses have come and gone. And when the dust settled, in the US, we were left with the four BIG commercial pattern companies: Butterick, McCalls, Simplicity, and Vogue. However, today, it seems like Simplicity and McCalls own everybody else.
- Burda (part of the Simplicity brand)
- Burda Style (separate website)
- Butterick (part of the McCalls brand)
- New Look (part of the Simplicity brand)
- Vogue Patterns (part of the McCalls brand)
Our art is sewing and our medium is fabric and textiles. Therefore, a good fabric reference resource is priceless. Here are some great resources to get your fabric fix on… Enjoy!
RELATED: Read Fabric 101 & 201.
Honestly, I’ve found in my studies that no one book is ever going to tell the every thing about anything!
A single book — or article or video — just can’t do that! BUT…
… with that said, I still suggest that in the beginning you control yourself, save your cash, and just choose ONE technique resource. And as a beginner, let’s keep our chosen technique resource super simple! I like the following:
- Vogue Sewing – Revised and Updated (2006)
- Sewing Solutions by Nicole Vasbinder
- Dressmaking 200 Q&A by Mary McCarthy
And these are my two favorite fabric resources:
- Fabric A to Z: The Essential Guide to Choosing and Using Fabric for Sewing by Dana Willard
- The Mood Guide to Fabric and Fashion: The Essential Guide from the World’s Most Famous Fabric Store
Finally, if you ever plan to sew fitted garments, you need a good fitting resource! For me, this book connected so many lost and confused dots on the subject of fit that I donated all other fitting books to the Goodwill! Yes, it is that good — and I do NOT tissue fit then or now. But this fitting resource is the bomb! So if you’re ready for a fitting resource, then this is the one you need:
When I’m not sewing, making photos, or writing, I do love to curl up on my loveseat with my favorite sewing magazines.
Sewing Machine Manuals
If your sewing machine manual has taken a walk or has been dog-eared to death, Sewing Parts Online Instruction Manuals is a great place to start. There are names here I’ve never even heard of.
However, many sewing machine manuals are available online FREE. Just Google the brand and model of your sewing machine followed by PDF. For example:
Janome 415 PDF (with or without quotes)
So make it your business to bookmark this page and check back regularly to find the latest and the greatest goodies I’ve added just for you.
Life is the ultimate red carpet event. Dress for it!