Upgrade Your Sewing – The Top Accessories Every Sewist Needs

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Are you looking to take your sewing skills up a notch but don’t know where to start? The right sewing machine accessories can help improve your efficiency, quality, and expand your capabilities. With so many products to choose from though, it can be tricky to figure out which are essentials.

In this post, we’ll cover the top must-have accessories and provide tips on how to select the best ones to meet your needs. Read on to discover the tools that will make sewing easier, faster, and help you achieve professional-looking results.

The 5 Most Useful Sewing Machine Accessories

Let’s start with the accessories that no sewist should be without. Having these tools on hand will make your sewing experience smoother and help you become a more skilled crafter.

Sewing Machine Needles

One of the most important accessories is sewing machine needles. There are many types available, suited to different fabrics and tasks:

  • Universal needles are versatile for sewing wovens and knits. They have a slightly rounded tip.
  • Stretch needles have a special scarf to prevent skipped stitches in slippery fabrics like silk, satin, and synthetics.
  • Denim needles are extra strong for sewing thick fabrics like denim. The sharp point easily pierces multiple layers.
  • Leather needles have a special point to cut through leather and vinyl without damaging the material.
  • Quilting needles are made for sewing through multiple layers and have a tapered point.
  • Embroidery needles have a special eye and scarf to prevent fraying in delicate decorative stitching.
  • Ballpoint needles won’t cut knits; the rounded tip slips between fabric fibers.

It’s wise to keep a variety of common needles on hand so you can swap them out as needed for your projects. Check your machine manual for the right type and size. Change needles often – every 6-8 hours of sewing time – for best results.

Presser Feet

Presser feet may be the most useful accessories you can own. They snap onto the ankle to guide the fabric under the needle. Having specialty feet enables you to make certain stitches and techniques which aren’t possible with a standard foot. Here are the top 5 to start with:

  • Zipper foot – narrow on one side to sew closely along zipper teeth
  • Buttonhole foot – has space for the buttonhole bartacks
  • Rolled hem foot – curls the fabric edge under for a professional finish
  • Overcasting foot – prevents fabric from fraying and sews over edge of fabrics
  • Walking foot – has feed dogs to help it grip and feed layers smoothly

Check your machine’s capabilities and accessories available to select the right feet. Invest in quality – they should glide smoothly along the fabric.

Rotary Cutting Tools

Fabric cutting tools like rotary cutters, acrylic rulers and self-healing mats make cutting fabric faster and more accurate.

  • Rotary cutters work like a pizza cutter to slice through fabric. Choose one with an ergonomic grip.
  • Acrylic rulers have measured grids and guidelines printed on them to cut straight lines and shapes. Get sizes you’ll use most.
  • Self-healing mats provide a surface that won’t dull blades. They’re marked with grids and measurements.

Together this system gives you neat, precise cuts in a fraction of the time. Start with an 18mm rotary cutter, medium cutting mat and 6″ x 24″ ruler.

Iron and Ironing Board

A good quality iron and board are essentials. Look for an iron with:

  • Adjustable heat settings for all fabric types
  • Steam burst and vertical steaming
  • Nonstick soleplate
  • Auto shut-off

For the board, choose one with:

  • A wide, sturdy surface
  • Adjustable height
  • A heat-resistant cover
  • Folding legs for storage

Proper pressing makes your sewing look crisp and professional. Go slowly and press as you sew, especially on edges and seams.

Sewing Machine Light

Good lighting is vital for careful sewing and reducing eye strain. Built-in machine lights are often too dim and create shadows. Instead, use:

  • An adjustable desk lamp or sunlight
  • Portable LED lights that clamp or mount on the machine
  • Magnifying glasses to see details

Bright, natural light helps you sew accurate stitches and see colors correctly. Position lighting to reduce glare and shadows on your work area.

How to Choose the Best Accessories

Now that you know the most useful accessories, here are some tips for selecting the right ones:

Consider your skill level – Beginners should start with basic tools like universal needles, an all-purpose foot, small rotary cutter, and 6″ x 24″ ruler. Intermediates can invest in more specialized tools. Advanced sewers will get the most use from high-end specialty items.

Think about your sewing goals – If you want to make clothing, focus on tools like stretch needles, invisible zipper foot, and shears. For quilting, choose rotary cutters, 6″ x 24″ and 12″ square rulers, and a 1/4″ foot. Home dec items need leather needles, vinyl/denim feet, and pinking shears.

Research your machine’s capabilities – Check which presser feet, needles, and accessories are compatible. Compare features so you select items your machine can utilize.

Read reviews of products – There are many brands of accessories. Read reviews from other sewists to choose quality tools that will last. Check recommendations from experienced sewers.

Prioritize must-haves first – Start with necessities like needles, thread, shears, a few basic feet and pressing tools. Then add specialty gadgets as desired.

Buy the best you can afford – Quality accessories make sewing easier and results better. Consider them investments that will be used for years.

Choosing the right accessories for your needs will reward you with many happy hours of creative sewing. Take your time, do your research, and select tools that will enhance your skills.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sewing Accessories

If you’re wondering about sewing accessories, here are answers to some common questions:

How often should you change your machine needle?

  • For best results, change needles every 6-8 hours of actual sewing time. Use a fresh needle at the start of important projects. Replace immediately if needles become bent, dull or cause skipped stitches.

What sewing machine feet should every sewist have?

  • Start with an all-purpose foot, zipper foot, buttonhole foot, hemmer, and walking foot. Build your collection gradually with specialty feet like piping, braiding, cording, and invisible zipper feet.

Should I buy accessories separately or in kits?

  • Both have pros and cons. Kits provide an assortment at a bundle price but may include items you won’t use. Buying separately allows you to select exactly the tools you need. Mix individual purchases with sets for value.

What thread works best with various fabrics?

  • Cotton covered polyester is suitable for most fabrics. Use cotton on natural fibers, polyester on synthetics, silk thread for silk or satin, metallic for decoration, and heavier threads like topstitching thread as needed.

How do I know which presser foot to use?

  • Consult your machine’s manual which recommends the best feet for various stitches and techniques. Ask at your local sewing machine store for assistance if unsure. Mark your feet so you remember which are which.

Where is the best place to buy sewing machine accessories?

  • Check sewing/fabric stores, online retailers, your machine brand’s store, and eBay for deals. Compare prices between sellers. Buying directly from manufacturers gives the best selection.

Must-Have Accessories for Beginner Sewists

Just starting out with sewing? Build your skills with these useful accessories:

Sewing machine needles – Start with universal size 12 needles. Include a variety pack to try different types. Change them frequently when learning.

Thread – Stock up on quality cotton/poly all-purpose thread in neutrals like black, white, gray for your first projects.

Shears – Invest in one good pair of 8-10″ dressmaker shears for accurate cutting. Take care of them.

Seam ripper – Mistakes happen; this allows you to rip stitches and try again. Choose one with a safety cap.

Thimble – Protect your fingers as you learn, especially for hand sewing. Try different sizes to find one comfortable.

Hand sewing needles – Have an assortment of hand needles like sharps and milliners. Use fine needles and thread for basting.

Measuring tools – A retractable tape measure and 6″ ruler are necessities. Add a gauge for hems and seams.

Pin cushions – Make a tomato pincushion to keep pins and needles organized. Have 1 near your machine and 1 for hand sewing.

Presser feet – Start with a general all-purpose foot. Add a zipper and buttonhole foot next. Check for compatibility.

Needle threader – Makes threading easier until you master the skill. Choose one suited to your machine.

Be patient and build your accessory collection over time. Good tools will make learning to sew more enjoyable. Don’t buy gadgets until you need them – start with the basics.

Recommended Accessories for Intermediate Sewists

Intermediate sewists ready to advance their skills should consider:

Specialty machine needles like denim, stretch, embroidery, leather, and twin types. Have a variety of sizes too.

Additional presser feet – blind hem, overcast, walking, rolled hem, and 1/4 inch feet open up new possibilities.

Quality shears – Upgrade to sharp dressmaker scissors and add embroidery and pinking shears.

Seam ripper – Choose an ergonomic one to make this tedious task easier.

Rotary cutter and mat – Cut fabric precisely and quickly. Start with a 45mm cutter and a medium mat.

Acrylic rulers – Square and rectangular sizes help cut straight lines. A 6″ x 24″ ruler is very versatile.

Pressing tools – Invest in a professional grade iron and a sleeve board for hard to reach areas.

Sewing machine light – An adjustable LED light lets you see stitches clearly.

Magnifying glasses – Opt for either a headband style or glasses to inspect your work.

Don’t be overwhelmed; build your accessory collection gradually as you learn new skills that require them. Quality tools will help you create professional finishes.

Must-Have Accessories for Advanced Sewists

Advanced sewing enthusiasts should consider upgrading these accessories:

Sewing machine – Treat yourself to a high-end machine with all the bells and whistles so you can tackle anything.

Professional grade iron – Invest in a top brand with lots of settings, steam power, and a large surface.

Specialized machine needles – Enjoy working with stretch fabrics, leather, and delicate threads with twin, stretch, and embroidery needles.

Presser feet – Explore techniques like piping, cording, ruffling and more with specialty presser feet.

shears and rotary cutters – Pamper yourself with high-end scissors and rotary cutters that feel like an extension of your hand.

Rulers and measuring tools – Quilting rulers, curved tools, and precision tape measures will make projects more accurate.

Sewing lights – Have sunlight-quality lighting with mounted lights and portable Ott lights to eliminate shadows.

Sewing furniture – Create a dream sewing room with storage cabinets, adjustable tables, and ergonomic chairs made for sewing.

Notions and gadgets – Stock specialty items like invisible zippers, shoulder forms, sleeve rollers, sewing clips, needle threaders, and more.

When you sew frequently, use high-end accessories to get professional results quickly with less strain on your body. Quality tools can inspire creativity too!

Choose Accessories That Suit Your Skill Level and Budget

Sewing accessories are investments that can make sewing faster, easier and give your projects a more professional look. Start with essentials like needles, shears, a few useful presser feet and pressing tools. Add specialty gadgets over time as your skills grow. Research and select accessories suited to your machine’s capabilities. Quality matters, so buy the best items you can afford.

The right accessories become trusted sewing partners that expand what you can create. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced sewer, treat yourself to tools that make the sewing process joyful and enrich your skills. Don’t let a lack of accessories hinder you – with the must-haves in your sewing box, you’ll be ready to tackle any project with confidence. Happy sewing!

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