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9 Must-Have Sewing Essentials You Need in Your Dressmakers Kit

by Polina K
sewing essentials for dressmaker

If you’re anything like us, your sewing room is overflowing with bits and bobs. Over the years, we’ve collected hundreds of tools that are designed to make sewing easier and our creations better. But do they all do what they say on the tin? No chance! 

That’s why our sewists have teamed up to create a list of sewing essentials that we really do use on every project. Hand-selected by our team, these are all tools that can take your sewing skills to the next level with a seal of approval from our Good Fabric sewists. For newbies and experts alike, we think that everyone will find these must-haves a welcome addition to their dressmakers kit.

1. Swedish Tracing Paper

Swedish tracing paper

An essential in every sewing kit is Swedish Tracing Paper. We could rave all day about how useful this is, but we’ll try to keep it brief! This is hands down the best medium for replicating patterns, allowing you to easily trace your existing pattern to make alterations, carry out pattern hacks, or simply make a copy for a friend.

Swedish Tracing Paper is super sturdy and easy to work with, too, so unlike regular tracing paper, you won’t have to worry about rips or tears. Did we mention that you can sew it? Yup, you can make toiles and test out sewing ideas using the paper itself, cutting down on fabric waste and saving your scraps for other projects. Once you’re finished with the paper it’s completely compostable, making this an eco-friendly addition to your sewing kit. 

2. LDH Fabric Shears

LDH scissors in black

If you have a pair of LDH Fabric Shears in your dressmakers kit, you’ll never have to worry about cutting fabric again. We know the pain that bad scissors can cause, and would never recommend a pair that leaves your fabric in a fraying mess! These shears are tried, tested, and absolutely adored by our team, and we’d trust them with even our most tricky fabric.

LDH stands for love, dedication, and happiness – the secrets behind the success of this family-run business. Run by lovely husband and wife sewing scissor experts Roy and Ursula, they’ve perfected the art of creating the best fabric shears that give a clean, sharp cut. Crafted from industrial-grade carbon steel and available in 5 sizes, they’ll make cutting fabric feel like sliding a hot knife through butter – no joke!

3. Sewply Glass Pins

sewply pins in yellow tin

You’re probably aware that pins are a must-have in your sewing kit, but have you heard of Sewply Pins? We’ve added them to our essentials firstly because of their glass heads, which are more sustainable than plastic-topped pins and also more practical. You can iron right over these bad boys without a hitch! Plastic heads, on the other hand, are more likely to melt under the heat and create a pretty nasty mess on your fabric.

We also love that Sewply’s pins are available in three lengths: 32mm, 38mm and 49mm. The longer length is the more versatile of the two, great for grabbing multiple layers of fabric, but the shorter ones are a must-have when working on curves or more fiddly areas. They come in a super cute metal tin that’ll slot straight into your sewing kit, too, earning bonus points for gorgeous packaging.

4. Self-Measuring Tape

self measuring tape in white

As a sewist, one of the most annoying problems you’ll encounter is the challenge of measuring yourself. If you’ve ever pulled a muscle trying to measure from your ankle to your hip, you’re not alone! That’s why we don’t go anywhere without the amazing Self-Measuring Tape from Sew to Grow.

This little invention makes measuring yourself easy. All you have to do is loop the tape around the chosen area, clip the end of the tape into the main device, and press a button to pull the tape tight. It’s so easy to use and gives you accurate measurements of your own body without the need for contortionist skills – hooray!

5. Quality Interfacing

fusible knit interfacing in white

Interfacing is a sewist’s dream. Whenever you’re making a section of your garment that needs a little oomph to hold its shape, interfacing – also known as interlining – is your must-have. Button plackets, cuffs, collars, and waistbands are all made stiffer by adding interfacing, and iron-on (or fusible) options make this material super easy to use. 

We recommend two types of interfacing for your sewing essentials kit; one for woven fabrics and one for knitted fabrics. To use, simply place the coated side directly onto your fabric, cover with a damp cloth, and iron for between 8-10 seconds. Easy peasy!

6. Chalks or Fabric Pencils

fabric pencils in 3 colours

Whether you’re creating hems or working out where to put your seams, something to mark your fabric with is always an essential. You can choose from either pencils or chalk here, and whilst you don’t need both, if you can fit two options into your sewing kit, then go for it! Some fabrics work better with chalk and others with pencil, so having one of each will make your life that much easier.

For chalks, we’d recommend Hancock’s Triangle Duo Chalk, which comes with one white and one yellow chalk to use on both light and dark fabrics. We also love their Cloth Marking Pencils, available in three different colours and easy to brush off. 

7. Sewply’s Loop Turner

sewply loop turner

A loop turner is a pretty niche sewing tool, but one that we’d recommend everybody adds to their sewing kit. Trust us, we thought we didn’t need one either, and how wrong we were! For turning straps inside out, Sewply’s Loop Turners are our go-to, making a once fiddly, time-consuming task incredibly easy. We’ve tried using chopsticks and we’ve tried using our fingers, but nothing even comes close to a proper loop turner. Just pop one in your kit and you’ll be grateful when you need it!

8. Sewply’s Bodkin

sewply bodkin

As with their loop turner, the Bodkin from Sewply is one of those tools we never thought we’d need but now can’t go without. For every project that requires elastic, you’ll get your money’s worth out of this handy tool. A bodkin makes it about a million times simpler to push elastic through your fabric channel, ensuring that you don’t lose grip on it halfway through or find it stuck at a curve. It’s a basic tool but one that a surprising number of sewists miss out on their must-have lists. 

9. Mighty Bright LED Seam Ripper

mighty ripper LED seam ripper with magnifier

We have to admit that one of our most used tools is (unfortunately) the humble seam ripper. Usually a sign that things have gone wrong, it’s never a joy to take out of your sewing kit, but you’ll be even more stuck without one! Seam rippers are also fantastic for upcycling old clothes or repurposing old materials, making them a priority for any sustainable sewist.

We adore the Mighty Bright Seam Ripper, which not only cuts through premium thread with ease but also has a magnifier and LED light to make things a little clearer. Never again will you strain your eyes trying to undo a wrong: now you can clean up your mess quickly and get back to the fun of sewing.

Bonus: Sustainable Fabrics

Of course, every sewist needs fabric to work with. That goes without saying, doesn’t it? But we wanted to shine a light on the importance of sustainable fabrics in your dressmakers kit, with renewable materials and recycled fibres helping all of us to cut down on our negative impact on the planet. If you’d like to source eco-friendly materials but don’t know where to start, be sure to check out Good Fabric’s Guide to Shopping for Sustainable Fabrics to make filling up your haberdashery a breeze. 

Start Creating Your Essential Dressmakers Kit

You don’t have to buy every tool under the sun to get started, but these nine must-have sewing essentials you need in your dressmakers kit are a must! Whether you’re a novice or a long-time sewer, we hope you find our own selection of key tools helpful. If you’d like any more information on the products mentioned or would like to share your essentials, feel free to drop us a message over on Instagram, where you’ll find us @good_fabric_store. We can’t wait to chat!

by Polina K

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fusible woven interfacing

Vlieseline Vilene G710 Fusible Woven Interfacing in White

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mighty ripper LED seam ripper with magnifier

Mighty Bright LED Lighted Seam Ripper with Magnifier


Sewply Glass Head Sewing Pins Short 32mm


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