The thoughts, sewing projects, and fabric oglings of a dedicated sewist.

Gifts for New (and not-so-new) Sewists

Last year I published a post on gifts for young sewists to help out the parents of my tween students. You can find that post here. This year, I thought I would focus on what to get folks who are fairly new to sewing. My guiding principle was, "What do I wish someone had gifted me when I first got started?"

Note - if you click on the item name, you'll be linked to a place where you can purchase that item. And second note, I'm not affiliated with any of the websites and receive no payment for linking, I'm just trying to be helpful.

#1 Good sewing scissors

A good set of sewing shears will change your life. You can cut accurately, which makes matching up pattern pieces less confounding. You can cut easily, which protects you from hand cramps. Your scissors stay sharp, which saves you from having to find the time and money to get them sharpened. And there is something so pleasing about the heft of a decent pair of scissors that I just can't describe.  (Well, I can - it's like the heft of a good rocks glass, but I'm trying to keep it family-friendly in this post.)

My favorite brand is Kai, and they have a great range of scissors available on their website and at

I own a pair of 10-inch professional shears and a pair of 10-inch micro-serrated shears (for gripping slippery fabrics). You'll want to buy something smaller for kids and teens (8 or 9-inch shears). The professional shears cost $60-$70, but if you are on a budget, they have a series of non-professional blades that are excellent value ($20-$30).

#2 Thread
Nothing is more annoying than having to wait to sew because you don't have the correct color thread. has some beautiful thread sets. My preferred thread is Gutermann Mara 100 - each spool has over 1,000 years, the thread is high-quality (so machines like it), and they have a huge variety of colors. This 25-spool set is a great one for beginners ($60).

Gutermann 25-spool thread set

Wawak also has a 50-spool pack of Coats & Clark Dual Duty. The spools are much smaller (125 yards) but there is a greater variety of colors ($44). And if you want to indulge someone, check out the 100-spool pack of Gutermann Mara 100 thread ($238).

#3 Instruction
One of the things I love about sewing is how much there is to learn. But when you are starting out, this sense of all there is to learn can feel daunting. And while there are plenty of tutorials on YouTube and sewing blogs, not all of them are good (and when you are new, it's hard to tell the difference). I've found these sources to be consistently helpful, interesting and reliable:
This site has hundreds of online classes for a wide variety of crafty pursuits. The website makes it easy to search by level or topic. I've taken a number of classes and I love the format, the teachers, the price, and the production level. They have a number of deals on this month.

Threads Magazine
This might be the only magazine I've subscribed to that doesn't seem to recycle articles. This is a great way to learn if you are interested primarily in garment sewing.
Pattern Review is an online forum and social media platform for home and professional sewists. You can sign up for a free membership or a paid membership (gives you discounts on classes, fabric stores, etc). There are hundreds of reviews on patterns and sewing machines, you can ask questions from experienced sewists or just show off your latest make. This site is like a support system, therapist, an cheering gallery all rolled into one.

#4 Basic Sewing Kit
Sewing Storage Box from Etsy

Instead of buying one of those pre-stocked sewing kits, I recommend making your own. Buy a pretty storage container and stock it with good quality notions:

Pig pin cushion from Etsy

#5 Fabric!!!
Every sewist loves to shop for fabric. In the Chicago area, you might consider taking your loved one on a shopping spree to Vogue Fabrics or Fishman's Fabrics. Or you can buy them a gift certificate to one of the many great online fabric stores, like or

Stretch Cotton Sateen from

#6 Space to sew
More than anything, new sewists need space to sew. At minimum, your sewist will need a table for cutting and sewing, good lighting, and a place to store all that fabric you gifted. This might be the best gift of all - a dedicated corner (or room, if you have one to spare) to be creative and focused. Your sewist will love you for it (you're welcome!).

MilkyBeer Blog

Please feel free to ask questions or post your own addition to this list. Happy Holidays!

1 comment on "Gifts for New (and not-so-new) Sewists"
  1. Your post was really useful for me.My friend is a sewist and her birthday is coming, i will definitely pick one of your ideas.Thanks a lot