School of Thread Recommends
We use, love and fully recommend the following sewing machines and supplies.
The following recommendations are our tried and true favorite tools that are readily available online.
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We use and sell Babylock sewing machines at the studio. They are a higher end machine with all metal parts and gears. We love Babylock machines and can sell you one in the studio, or you can purchase at your local dealer, but we know the higher price tag isn’t a right fit for everyone. I also have some recommendations of some lower priced machines available on Amazon (under $200).
What to look for: the most important feature to look for in a sewing machine is a “drop-in bobbin”. This feature is easy to use and ensures more successful independence using the sewing machine. The front loading bobbins are more complicated and in my experience create more room for error.
A “nice to have” feature, especially for beginners and kids, is a Speed Control. Some kids struggle with controlling the speed of a traditional sewing machine, which prevents them from learning and enjoying the other aspects of sewing. Eliminating this struggle allows for faster progress in learning the other important things about sewing and also is a great safety feature that makes me feel more confident in keeping little fingers away from sharp needles. The machines with this feature tend to be a little pricier.
I recommend staying away from any toy, “simple” or beginner machines. In my experience these tend to cause a lot of frustration and interfere with the users ability to enjoy and learn sewing. To get a machine that your child will be able to use independently, you really have to spend at least $100.
Here are my recommendations:
Brother Computerized “Project Runway” Machine
I have this machine as a back up in the studio and have been happy with it. It has a Drop-in Bobbin and a speed control. It has some nice convenience features and features a beginner will grow into.
Brother Computerized Machine
This machine is usually lower priced than the previous recommendation. Many of my students have this machine and it works well. It does have both the Drop-in Bobbin and a Speed Control as well as lots of stitches. I find it is slightly louder and lighter than the Project Runway one.
Other Sewing Notions and Supplies
Sometimes success is all about having the right tool for the job. I’ve tried many different brands of sewing notions and tools and have found these to be the ones that work the best.
Oliso Smart Iron
I know, it’s just an iron, but this one is a game changer. When you grab the handle, the feet come up and the iron flattens onto your fabric. When you let go, it raises itself back up. This keeps little fingers safely away from the heat source and makes ironing a breeze.
Clover Wonder Clips
These little things changed my life. We use them in place of pins for most projects. We love that they aren’t as “pokey” as pins and they prevent holes and snags in the fabric too. The generic ones are harder to open and tend to break more easily.
Magnetic Pin Cushion
Because no one wants pins all over the floor! The magnetic pin cushion keeps your pins safe and spill proof.
Magnetic Seam Guide
This smart little tool sticks onto the metal seam guide area of your machine, what we call “the Danger Zone”, and gives your fabric a physical wall to bump up against to help create nice straight stitching lines. A must-have for every sewist.
Rainbow Unicorn Scissors
Perfect little thread snips. They are sharp and pretty and fit in the little secret compartment of your machine.
Gingher Fabric Scissors
These scissors are lightweight for even little hands and stay super sharp. Just hide them away and make sure no one cuts paper with them!
Crayola Washable Markers
We’ve tried every fabric writing utensil there is and we come back to the good old Crayolas every time. They are tried and true washable for fabric markings even after a long time. We use these to trace patterns and make important markings onto the fabric.
Clover Chalk Wheel
For dark fabrics where a marker line isn’t visible, this little chalk wheel works great and draws a nice thin and precise line.
Perfect Basic Tool Set
These scissors aren’t as great as the Gingher ones, but this is a great little starter tool set that has lots of useful items for a beginner.
Coats & Clark Thread
Thread Matters! Some machines are really picky about thread. Gutterman is a good brand, and so is Coats and Clark All Purpose Thread. This is a great little gift set with a variety of colors to get you started.