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5 Great (Cheap!) Beginner Sewing Tools

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Learning a new skill can be expensive. Often you need to invest in a lot of awesome (but pricey!) tools in order to get started. While we really love quality tools here at MDM we also believe that incredible Making doesn’t need to be limited by budget.

So here are 5 fantastic sewing tools that can get you Making on the cheap:

1. Sewing Pins: these come in all shapes and sizes and have many different uses. Obviously, they help keep material together while you sew, but you can also use them to help turn corners on shirt collars or pockets! There are also fabric clips for really thick fabric or for times when you don’t want to leave a hole in the fabric. (In a pinch you can use binder clips for this too!)

Scissors: a Maker’s friend in many situations. You should always have a designated pair just for fabric, so that they aren’t dulled by other materials. Also getting your big scissors a little sidekick of small scissors makes clipping threads and even seam ripping just a little easier.

Measurement Tools: Measure twice, cut once! Since a lot of sewing has to do with making 2D fabric fit 3D bodies/objects it is really handy to have a flexible tape on hand. Another excellent tool is the sewing gauge which allows you to precisely measure hems.

Marking tools: I am a huge fan of marking tools! They are all really wallet-friendly and make life so much easier when you’re sewing. White pencils (just from a crayola pack) work really well on dark fabrics, sharpies are great too as long as you’re careful about making sure the marks are hidden in the seam, but the really magical marking tool is the iron-away fabric marker. You can draw these on any type of fabric and then when exposed to the heat of an iron your marks magically disappear! I've really enjoyed using these fabric markers!

Seam rippers: no matter how long you’ve been sewing or how much experience you’ve had, you will always need a trusty seam ripper. There is of course the classic seam ripper (you can get these guys for dirt cheap!) and they are really practical and easy to use. But one of my new favorite sewing tools, especially since I’ve been taking lots of things apart lately, is the breakaway knife. It almost makes seam ripping fun. It's so easy. You can definitely spend a few extra bucks and get a nicer one like mine, but you can also find cheap plastic ones for cents at hardware stores. Here's a basic seam ripper option.

Bonus tool: a chopstick. Adam Savage is very passionate about the usefulness of pointy turning objects in his shop and it’s a great thing to have as a sewist too. Often times you can get chopsticks for free or you could buy a metal set online if you’re looking for something more durable. They are fantastic for all kind of things: turning collars out, holding down fabric while you iron, the list is endless!

I hope this inspires you to go out and build your own sewing arsenal!

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