Some of these sewing tools aren’t very sexy. Some are—I’LL SAY IT—downright flimsy. But I love them all. If you’re new to sewing, this is a great starting point for your sewing tool kit. If you’re a seasoned pro, tell me what’s missing! Better yet, tell me which pieces warrant forking over a few extra bucks.
I’ll include links to exact or similar items, but FYI—this post is not sponsored! I simply find myself reaching for the same items again and again, and I figured many of you probably do, too. Sharing is caring. Without further ado:
1. Clear Ruler ($5.99, similar)
I use this clear grid ruler nearly every time I cut into fabric. It’s 18 x 2 inches and includes metric and imperial units. The imperial side has handy dark grid lines at 1/2 and 1 inch. When I lengthen patterns, I use it to ensure that I’m adding an equal amount of length throughout. When I’m cutting self bias tape, I use it to mark a perfectly straight line. I’m not a quilter (yet), but I assume this would be great when cutting squares.
2. Tracing Paper ($4.99 for 5 sheets, exact) and 3. Tracing Wheel ($2.49, similar)
This tracing wheel is flimsy, but it gets the job done! And you can’t have tracing paper without a tracing wheel. These items are ideal when you need to mark darts or pleats on your pattern. The paper is coated on both sides, so it’ll mark two layers of fabric at once. Just make sure you trace on a stable, relatively hard surface. I use my rotary mat.
4. Glass Head Pins ($6.99 for 200, exact)
These were a game-changer for me. I read about them on the Closet Case Patterns blog, funnily enough from Heather’s post about 13 splurge-worthy sewing items! I guess 3-and-a-half cents a pin is more than the going rate, but I still consider this a steal. As Heather notes, you can iron over these pins, unlike their plastic-headed counterparts. So go forth, iron at will! These particular pins are strong, comfortable to grip, and don’t leave any unsightly holes. Win-win-win.
5. Tailor’s Chalk with Holder ($4.99, exact)
I haven’t yet found a marking tool that I love, but this chalk gets the job done. The holder has a little sharpener on top to keep the chalk sharp, and the chalk always washes or rubs off easily—important considering that’s not the case with my not-so-disappearing ink markers.
6. Seam Ripper ($1.99, similar)
I debated whether or not to include a seam ripper on this list, because… duh. Every one who sews needs a seam ripper, we all use one regularly, and we’ve all been victim to accidentally ripping off a couple layers of skin on our index finger. So here it is. I’ve never splurged on a “nice” seam sipper. Is is worth it? (Do “nice” seam rippers exist?)
7. Seam Gauge ($2.99, exact)
Cough cough, this is another one of the flimsy tools I referred to earlier. The seam gauge pictured at the top is my second, because the right angle marker in the middle kept falling out of my first. It’s not pretty, and I sure as hell never use the built-in point turner, but it is a lifesaver when it comes to hemming garments. I don’t hem without it!
8. Invisible Zipper Foot ($7.95 for 3, exact)
Have you ever sewed an invisible zipper without an invisible zipper foot? If you’ve done it successfully, bravo. I have no patience for attempting an invisible zip with a regular zipper foot. (I’ve tried it, to my demise.) I invested in these universal feet before sewing my Anna Dress, and I’m never looking back. The foot has two channels on the bottom, one of which holds the zipper coils in place while you stitch the zipper down. Genius!
9. Point Turner and Seam Creaser ($3.99, exact)
I used to poke corners out with a large knitting needle. That worked fiiiiiine, but it was a little risky and imprecise. At under $4, this is the most fruitful little piece plastic I’ve ever bought. It’s never poked a hole in a garment and is especially useful when turning collars right side out to achieve pointy corners and a crisp seam.
10. Machine Needle Cushion ($5.99, exact)
This particular piece was a gift from my sewing-expert aunt. It’s a pincushion for your machine needles, printed with a grid listing different types of sewing needles (ballpoint, denim, medium-weight woven, etc.) and the number of hours of use for each. It’s so simple, yet so incredibly helpful when remembering when to change dull needles! This pincushion has earned a permanent spot on my sewing table.
Now it’s your turn. What did I miss? What’s worth the extra money? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
P.S. Check out my Instagram for a couple of additional closeups!
9 thoughts on “10 Sewing Tools and Notions Under $10”
Nice seam rippers do exist! I have an ergonomic (apparently) one, they may have been discontinued, as I can’t find one right now. I think it’s a Dritz. At any rate, I love it, the handle is so comfortable. Also, I find seam ripping kind of enjoyable, as an action. Not the mistake, but the seam ripping itself. Odd.
Good to know!! I agree, there’s something oddly satisfying about seam ripping. 👍🏼
I like my magnetized pin holder. It’s like a disk with a magnet ’cause I am not patient enough to stick them back in that sawdust tomato cushion I still have from middle school home ec. It mostly does keep puns off of the floor 🙂
Ohhh yes those look amazingly useful!
Tweezers! Where are your tweezers? I’m asking myself the same question right now but they’re in the sewing room some where. I feel lost without them. Sometimes you want to start too close to the edge, or sew a small curve with a small seam allowances. I love my tweezers. I might purchase a second pair today. I’m sure there other ones will pop back up when I do.
I have no idea how much they cost. Maybe they’re over $10?
Also, I bought a bigger clover seam ripper for my birthday last year. It does work better. Mostly because it’s sharper. But the bigger handle is ready to hold. It lacks a nice cap though.
You’re so right! A pair of tweezers came with my serger, and I use them all the time.
I use my clear quilting ruler all the time too. Must get me a point turner and one of those pincushions!
The Clover tracing wheel is lovely quality, and I also love their Chaco chalk liner. I’d add Clover Wonderclips (or generic equivalent) and 505 spray baste to your list–I use them regularly.
Thanks for the tips! I’ve been meaning to add Wonderclips to my arsenal for awhile… I need to get around to it!
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They’re so useful! I prefer them to pins most of the time, especially with knit fabrics.