Sewing Kit Basics

Do you know your seam ripper from a needle threader?

Ealing Repair café put together this list and guide for what you need in a basic sewing kits. If you can put your hands on these, it should get your started in patching, and darning Have a look at our sewing mending guides.

Black and White Threads – Black and white are essential. Poly/cotton thread is the most versatile for all garments. For small mends and sewing buttons on these threads are perfect.

Coloured embroidery threads: Use when patching or darning. These threads have 6 smaller threads. The thicker the fabric the more threads should be used. So for denim it’s best to use all 6 threads and for thinner cotton, it’s better to use 2 or 3 threads. ,

Set of needles: A variety of sizes is useful. Some with bigger ‘eyes’ or holes for embroidery thread or knitting yarn to feed through. Plus thinner smaller needles for finer fabrics and thread.

Seam ripper or unpicker – a sharp tool which helps to unpick hems and seams for alteration or to remove broken zips. 

Needle Threader: Helps in threading a needle. Put the needle threader wire through the eye of the needle. Put the thread through the wire of threader and pull it back through eye of needle to thread the needle. Look at this needle threader video on how it works.

Safety pins & Dressmaking pins: These can hold patches in place while sewing, or holds fabric in position while measuring for alternations. 

Extra Equipment

If you want to build up your kit, some other items you can add: 

  • Sharp pair of scissors – best to assign one pair of scissors only use for cutting fabric and thread. They will become blunt if used for cutting paper. 
  • Cotton & embroidery threads: There are many types of threads out there. A selection of sewing and embroidery threads are great.  
  • Plastic ball or Darning mushroom or egg: Makes it easier to darn holes in jumpers, t-shirts and socks.
  • Small or medium embroidery hoop: Holds fabric taut and keeps an even tension while patching or darning. 
  • Darning yarn – to repair jumpers and socks
  • Tailors chalk, chalk pen or a fabric marker for marking out grids for stitching and alterations

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