10 best sewing kit essentials

Needles (and seam-rippers) at the ready, it’s ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’ final on Thursday. IndyBest picks the best kit to get you stitching

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The Independent Online

Here ends the third series of The Great British Sewing Bee, and what a series it’s been. Contestants have grappled with everything from leather and lace to neoprene and mountains of tulle, Claudia’s fringe and eye make-up have been on top form, and for the first time there is a man in the final three (well, two actually). There’s been life lessons for us all along the way - “life is short and pleats are big” - and a few tears shed, too (we’re still mourning the loss of suave judge Patrick Grant’s beard).

Whether the series has inspired you to dig your old sewing machine out of the loft or buy your first one, whether you want to start simple with a cushion cover or go full-on Lorna and add a Madonna-style cone bra to a wetsuit (via some slightly Mean Girls-esque boob holes), we’ve got the kit to get you going on some great projects to fill the Sewing Bee-sized hole in your life.

{1} Vintage Craft Needle Set: £2, iwmshop.org.uk


Whether you’re the next Patrick Grant or your sewing skills amount to reattaching a button only when strictly necessary, you’re going to need a needle or two. This nifty set comes with 12 different sizes, a thimble and threader, plus the handy matchbox-size is perfect for throwing in your handbag.

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{2} Daisy Chain Print Dressmaking Scissors: £22, johnlewis.com


A blunt pair of dressmaking scissors can make pattern cutting a chore, but get your hands on a good, weighty pair which cut from pinch to point and you’ll be away. The patterned handle on these helps distinguish them from the paper scissors so they won’t get inadvertently covered in sticky tape residue.

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{3} Rustic Craft Compartment Sewing Box: £12.95, dotcomgiftshop.com


Once you’ve spent some time building your own mini haberdashery, you’ll need somewhere to keep it all. With six compartments to store everything from buttons to needles, we reckon these little wooden boxes would look great stacked up at your sewing station.

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{4} Garden Ditsy Pin Tin: £4.50, cathkidston.com


All the pins you could need for securing pattern pieces and holding seams, stored in this true-to-style vintage-inspired tin from Cath Kidston; pretty and practical in equal measure.

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{5} Personalised Sewing Machine Pin Cushion: £12, notonthehighstreet.com


No more pins lost down the back of the sofa or dangerously sticking out of the carpet with this cute sewing machine motif pin cushion, handmade to order and personalised with you or your giftee’s name. The front is wool and the back is polka dot cotton in either pink or green.

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{6} The Fabric Fox Fruit Stand Quarter Bundle: £15, etsy.com/uk


Sometimes sewing supplies can be overwhelmingly twee, which is why we love this bundle of fabric quarters. Five different designs in bright colours and geometric, Orla Kiely-esque prints give this great potential as a modern, punchy patchwork project.

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{7} The Makery Chalks & Tape Measure: £5.95, johnlewis.com


Two dressmaking essentials in a neat little box: you get two pieces of talc-based tailor’s chalks – use it to mark out your fabric then simply brush or wash away – and a pink measuring tape (because white ones are just plain boring).

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{8} Kirstie Allsopp Wooden Ribbon Spool Wisteria: £5, hobbycraft.co.uk


It’s good sewing-sense to have a few trimmings on hand for finishing touches (or to hide a mistake with a strategically placed bow). TV’s favourite home-craft guru brings a bit of modern country charm to your haberdashery with this mixed pattern, three-ribbon spool.

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{9} ‘The Great British Sewing Bee: Fashion With Fabric’, by Claire-Louise Hardie: £16, amazon.co.uk


If the Sewing Bee has got you inspired, the show’s third official book includes all the instructions, technical diagrams and full-size patterns you need to make 30 garments. Feeling brave? Get stuck in with the corset gown – but we’d recommend a gentle start with the sleeveless shell top.

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{10} GÜtermaNn Creative Sew All Thread Pack: £17.50, johnlewis.com


Agreat starter set for anyone who has just invested in a first sewing machine. It contains 11 reels of polyester thread, all in practical colours, and a seam ripper, because even master sewers make mistakes.

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Verdict: If you’re just starting out with your first sewing machine project, we recommend you start with the basics - a good pair of dressmaking scissors like John Lewis’s daisy print pair and Gutermann’s thread set - or, for a lovely hand-sewing project, pick up The Fabric Fox’s quarter bundle and a personalised pin cushion and get going on a patchwork quilt.

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