Considering Making a Dress? Here’s What You Need

Dressmaking for the novice or beginner – the basic equipment you need to begin sewing

For the novice or beginner dressmaker, it doesn’t take much to get started, with only minimal equipment necessary – mainly a sewing machine and an iron.

The Basic Necessities

sewing tools

  • Tape Measure – in cm and inches. The standard 150cm/60” length is ideal
  • Pins – thin and long dressmakers steel pins. Mine are 34 x .06mm with flat heads
  • Sewing Needles – a package of mixed hand sewing needles
  • Sharp Dressmaking Scissors – a sharp pair of dressmaking scissors are expensive but worth the investment. The sharper the better so you can cut fabric without blunting.
  • Tailor’s Chalk – chalk pencils in dark colors (blue or pink) and a light one (white) are perfect to mark fabric
  • Ruler, Rubber, and Pencil – to make alterations to patterns
  • Iron and Ironing Board – dressmaking involves a lot of ironing and you will have to iron patterns and fabric often. A steam iron is preferred
  • Sewing Machine – unless you prefer to sew everything by hand, a sewing machine is quicker and saves a lot of time

Other Useful Items for Beginners


  • Pincushion and Magnet – make your own or buy a small one to keep ppins in one convenient place
  • Seam Ripper – inexpensive and ideal for fixing mistakes
  • Small Sharp Shears – to cut thread
  • Cheap Scissors – to cut patterns
  • Large Bristle Paint brush – sizes 10-14 are perfect to clean fluff from your sewing machine
  • Extra Bobbins – keep several colors of thread available with a pack of plastic bobbins that fit over your machine
  • Pressing Cloth – prevents shine on fabric when ironing


Buying Dressmaking Equipment

For the most basic dressmaking equipment, a local sewing shop may have everything you need. General arts and crafts stores may also carry sewing items. There are several websites that provide sales on everything from an easy-to-use sewing machine to guidebooks, with Amazon providing an extensive list of retailers selling their merchandise. Online dressmaking suppliers also offer an extensive range of products, with many of these accessories considerations to buy when you need them. Some items to consider later on include:

Dressmakers Dummy

  • Dressmakers Dummy – ideal for fitting shirts and blouses, a dressmakers dummy is an expensive investment but it is possible to work without one
  • Extra Feet – your sewing machine should come with additional feet, with zipper feet and concealed zips particularly useful
  • Storage – containers for fabric, haberdashery, embellishments; purchase plastic boxes from a local DIY store
  • Specialized Ironing Equipment – tailor’s ham, pressing cloth, and a sleeve board
  • Pattern Making Items – pattern paper, and bendy curves for pattern making and also a metre rule
  • Assorted Extras – strap turner, stiletto, pinking shears, et cetera, et cetera. These are items for more specialized projects that are nice to have around, but not absolutely necessary when first starting.


Where to Store Dressmaking Equipment


Your dressmaking area will need a workstation stable with an ironing board set up nearby for convenience. Ideally, there should be a corner of your house to place a table and store all of your dressmaking items. A lot of time can be saved if you don’t have to waste time looking for your equipment every time you want to get started. It helps to be able to leave projects out between breaks.

Steph’s Reviews of the Best Sewing Machines

Sewing is an integral part of fashion and the ability to piece together cloth to create new fashion cannot be underestimated. Investing in a sewing machine is a way to take your creativity to a new level in the comfort of your home and is an essential tool whether you are a novice or a professional. The following sewing machines have been researched and are proven to be among the best available in the market today.


Brother CS6000i
Brother CS6000i

The Brother CS6000i takes all of the technological advancements of the last few years and takes it to the next level. This computerized sewing machine extends to users a slew of quilting and sewing capabilities and comes with an assortment of features that make it one of the most impressive available today. Via the LCD display, users can choose the switch they want simply by pressing a button. A built-in light enables you to work on lighter fabrics with ease, while an adjustable sewing speed slide allows for control over the speed at which you want the machine to function. The model also includes extra table space, is light enough to make it portable, and has enough features that make it exceedingly user-friendly. It is rated as one of the best sewing machines available on Amazon’s website and is affordable enough for most budgets.


The Brother XM2701

Brother XM2701

No matter your skill level when it comes to sewing, the Brother XM2701 is versatile enough to get any project done with ease. It boasts amazing features that make any sewing experience more productive and includes 27 built-in stitches and has a range of options such as blind hem, decorative stitches, quilting and stretch stitches. For anyone that has a more creative spirit, this model provides 6 sewing feet options and there is even the possibility to make customized button holes using their one step buttonhole feature. In order to better serve users, the Brother XM2701 comes equipped with an instructional DVD that is perfect for beginners, and more professional users have even more features they can play around with that pique their interest. Other features include a foot presser, a needle presser, and a limited warranty that is 25 years, guaranteeing coverage that spans a lifetime. While there is no such thing as a perfect machine, this model comes very close.


Brother XR9500PRW

Brother XR9500PRW

As part of their Limited Edition Project Runway Series, the Brother XR9500PRW has been designed to make your sewing experience a great one. Boasting 100 built-in stitches and a host of embroidery options, just about any sewing project quickly is a reality. For beginners, these options make it possible to grow and gain experience with the same sewing machine rather than moving on to another one in the immediate future. Efficiency is definitely at the forefront of this model’s design, and the automatic winding feature allows you to set up within minutes. Maximum stitch speed reaches 850 stitches per minute, meaning you can finish a project in no time at all. An LCD screen is also included, which allows you to select the desired stitch with a switch. With the Brother XR9500PRW, you are allowed more freedom to create with fewer boundaries, and the low price makes it definitely worth the investment.


How to Save on Investing on a Sewing Machine


Searching and gathering information online is arguably the best way to know the best sewing machines that work for you and your budget. With coupons and rebates often offered by many brands, you can save a bundle and also possibly be able to negotiate even a smaller purchase price.


A warranty is an absolute must that should come with any sewing machine purchase and any brand that does not offer one should not even be taken into consideration. Lifetime warranties or extended warranties are the best options available through most brands.


Checking the best rated sewing machine reviews before you buy is also another way to get the most out of your future purchase. Not every sewing machine is suitable for every person e.g. if it’s for your kids, you have to search for kids sewing machine reviews and you may want to go to a local retailer and inquire about trying out a particular brand. Each sewing machine comes with its own special list of benefits to take into consideration. Do your homework and get the most for your money before you choose a sewing machine.