How to be awesome at sewing with only 10 tools

How to be awesome at sewing with only 10 tools. The ultimate guide to all you need to sew like a pro | Randomly Happy

Sewing is such a minefield of gadgets, isn’t it? You could fill cupboards full with all the different tools on offer. But really after years of sewing I’ve realised, you don’t really need all that much to sew like a pro.

In fact. You only really need 10 tools to sew up a storm. True story. You can make all sorts of gorgeous makes with just these tools.

top 10 sewing tools to sew like a pro

These 10 tools are the ones I reach for again and again while sewing my handmade wardrobe. Just throw in a sewing machine (see this handy guide if you’re in the market) and you are good to go.

Of course all sewers are different. Maybe you have some tools you can’t live without that aren’t on this list? Have a read and see if you agree.

Top 10 sewing tools (To sew like a pro)

ultimate sewing tools top 10 list
Fabric scissors

You should definitely get a pair of really great scissors and keep them only for fabric. Seriously. Guard them jealously if you have to. As soon as scissors start cutting into paper you dull the cutting edges which leads to jagged edges in your fabric.

Get yourself a separate pair of scissors for cutting paper. I use a retired pair of sewing scissors for cutting out  PDF patterns.

Rotary cutter

Such a handy little tool. Great for cutting slippery fabrics and knits. Plus you get killer precision if you combine rotary cutting with a tracing wheel and carbon paper for transferring your pattern onto fabric.

Small scissors

You can never seam to have too many of these for sniping threads and trimming fabric. I have about 4 scattered around my sewing room, but these pictured are my favourite – a pair from my mamma’s sewing box.

Tracing wheel

Really great when combined with carbon paper. The single most effective way to trace patterns onto fabric. It gives baller precision (technical term). I only just rediscovered this technique and I can’t recommended it enough, especially when cutting slippery fabrics and knits.

Fabric pen

For marking darts, notches and the like. I like this one because it has an eraser (I’m a really haphazard sewer so I make a lot of mistakes).

ultimate sewing tools top 10 list
Measuring tool(s)

Obviously apart from a tape measurer which you need to take your measurements, I find these little seam gauges really handy. I use them when hemming and trimming, but they’re also great in a pinch for adding seam allowances.

You also can’t go wrong with a ruler – great for using with a rotary cutter to give you that extra bit of precision.


I think it’s good to have a few sets of pins. I use smaller pins for more delicate and medium weight fabrics. Larger pins are great for heavier fabrics. I’ve also started using safety pins for alterations. It means I don’t shed pins everywhere (a major health risk with the bambino) and I don’t get jabbed with pinpricks when taking off projects. Double win.

ultimate sewing tools top 10 list

Seam ripper

Where would any sewer be without a seam ripper? The perfect tool for undoing sewing mishaps. I prefer to use ones with a red dot to stop me from mistakingly ripping through too many layers. But you could use the one that comes with your machine if your careful enough.

Pressing cloth

I’ve only just gotten into pressing cloths, but this bit of kit has really been invaluable. Pressing is soooo important for getting a good finish on makes, but you also don’t want to muck up your fabric, or leave a shiny patch behind.

A pressing cloth provides a thin barrier between your fabric and the iron so you get a good finish without damaging your fabric. Nice one.

Machine needles of different types

One of the single biggest game changers is using the right type of needle for the fabric. No one wants broken needles or giant holes punched through fabric because you had the wrong needle.

Do yourself a favour and get lots of different needles. Switch them out often too. If you find needles a bit confusing (I totally did fit the first few years) you can read my handy guide to machine needles.

And that’s it. The only 10 sewing tools you’ll need to sew like a pro.

Do you agree? Or do you have you’re own secret/favourite/never-fail tool that you can’t live without that’s not made my top 10?

I only ever share products and people I think you’ll like as much as I do (because sharing is caring). This post was brought to you in partnership with John Lewis. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. 

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