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Basic sewing tools — 5 Essential sewing tools to start your journey as Fashion Designer​

Find out what are the basic sewing tools needed to become a Fashion Designer

The minimum equipment for any fashion designer is a tape measure, at least two pairs of scissors—one pair for cutting fabric and one for trimming fabrics and threads, pins and needles, possibly a thimble, threads for sewing, a seam ripper and a container to hold everything. An iron and ironing board will also be needed. There are, however, many other handy gadgets that are invaluable, and for the more enthusiastic designer, a sewing machine and possibly an overlocker are essential. Whether you are a beginner to sewing or a fashion designer with many years of experience, some of the following pieces of equipment will no doubt find their way into your work box. 


Tape measure

Essential, not only to take body measurements, but also to help measure fabric, seams etc. Choose one that gives both metric (cm) and imperial (inch). A tape made of plastic is best as it will not stretch.  


There are many types of cutting tools, but one rule applies to all: buy good-quality products that can be sharpened and used for long. Make sure they fit into the span of your hand—meaning you can comfortably open and allow clean and accurate cutting lines. Use the right scissors for the right job—use a cutting scissors to cut fabric and use it only to cut fabric. Use different scissors for cutting paper as using the fabric scissors on paper will dull the edges. There are different types of scissors or shears cutting shears (for cutting fabric), pinking shears (or zigzag scissors for neatening seams and decorative edges), embroidery scissors (for embroidery), paper scissors (for cutting pattern pieces and paper), bent-handled shears (for cutting long and straight edges on table), trimmer (for cutting thread).

Seam ripper

Seam ripper is also known as stitch ripper, is used to remove any stitches that have been sewn in the wrong place. Keep the cover on when not in use to protect the sharp point


Needed by every fashion designer to hold the fabric together prior to sewing it permanently. There are different types of pins for different types of work - the common ones are pearl-headed pins with beads on their head—that are easy to pick up and use



A selection of threads for hand sewing and machine/overlocker sewing in a variety of colours. Some threads are made of polyester, while others are made of cotton or rayon. 

Marking aids

Marking certain parts of your work is essential to make sure darts and pockets are placed correctly and seamlines are straight as shown on the pattern. Popular marking aids include

  1. tailor's chalk,

  2. chalk pencil—available in blue, pink, and white and can be used as a pencil

  3. water soluble pen—which looks like a felt tip marker and the markings can be removed with water (be careful not to press the marking too hard)

  4. chalk propelling pencil—with leads of different colours, you can use the propelling pencil to mark the fabric. 

With some marking tools such as pens, tracing wheel, and carbon paper, it is always a good idea to test on scrap fabric first to make sure that the mark made will not be permanent.




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