Are you wondering what to buy someone who loves to sew? I spoke to sewers on my email list and forums to find out. Here’s what they actually want, plus ideas from my own 6 years of sewing experience.
- More fabric!
- Great sewing books.
- Fun sewing labels.
- Online sewing class subscriptions.
- Sewing magazine subscriptions.
- Essentials: black and white thread, more sewing machine needles, more pins, and muslin/calico fabric for test garments.
Sewing room gifts under $50:
- Flexible LED light for sewing in the evening.
- Bobbin holder.
- Thread storage.
Sewing gift ideas over $50 *the dream stuff*:
- Sewing machine upgrade.
- Serger machine.
- Dress form / mannequin.
I’ll explain all of these items below and give specific product recommendations.
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Sewing gift ideas under $50
Shiny new fabric is a very exciting thing for us sewers! This was the most popular gift idea when I asked around.
If you know the giftee’s favorite colors, get one pack of fat quarters in that colorway. A “fat quarter” is a small bundle of matching fabric, as shown in this photo.
If you’re not sure what fabric they’d like, get a gift card for a big fabric store like Fabric.com (USA), Joann (USA), My Fabrics UK, or Minerva (UK). These stores have a HUGE range of fabrics to choose from, so you can’t go wrong. Giving cash is also an option.
Complete Guide to Dressmaking by Jules Fallon
This book (Amazon link) is all about giving step-by-step instructions on how to do most sewing techniques. It’s a fantastic reference book and the photos for each step are easy to follow.
Mend & Patch by Kerstin Neumuller
I bought Mend & Patch (Amazon link) recently as a good reference book for mending clothes. It covers all the essentials, from replacing buttons to repairing holes invisibly. Oh, and the photography is absolutely gorgeous!
Using labels is a great way to remember the fronts and backs of our makes. Plus it feels nice to sew them in and look all professional.
Kylie & the Machine (Amazon link) has a range of really fun labels. My favorites are “THIS is the back” and “IT HAS POCKETS”.
Online sewing class subscriptions
Craftsy and Creative Bug are two of the biggest online class creators for sewing and related crafts.
Both services bring on experts to teach their classes and the filming is TV-level quality, so it’s a much better learning experience than free content on Youtube (I say this as a Youtube creator myself lol).
I have used both services over the years and can vouch for them. I recommend Creative Bug for newer sewers – their classes are project-based and modern looking. Craftsy is great for more advanced sewers. Their pattern-making and coat-making courses are fab.
Creative bug subscription: 3 months for $30, 6 months for $60, and 12 months for $95. Here’s the gift subscription page. *Dec 2020 update: they’ve just dropped the prices by 50%!*
Craftsy subscription: $7.99 per month or $79.99 for 1 year.
Note: Craftsy doesn’t have a specific gift subscription. You’ll need to create an account with the giftee’s information and then add your own payment details.
Sewing magazine subscriptions
Burda is a very popular sewing magazine. It includes lots of sewing inspiration, tutorials, and templates/patterns. You can buy a single issue or a 6 to 12 month subscription.
These are items that nearly every sewer needs to replace often:
- Black and white general-purpose thread. I highly recommend the ones by Gutermann (Amazon link) – they’re strong and lint-free.
- Universal sewing machine needles. Get packs with a variety of needle sizes inside, from 70/10 for lightweight fabrics to 90/14 for thick fabrics. The Schmetz brand (Amazon link) is well-known for making good quality needles.
- Pins and sewing clips. These are used to hold fabric together before sewing. Having pins (Amazon link) in a variety of sizes is useful: long ones are great for going through thick quilts, and finer ones are great for tricky fabrics like silk. Get ones with a glass head, not plastic head, so they don’t melt under an iron. Watch out for big packs of unbranded pins because they might be badly made (speaking from experience, unfortunately). Sewing clips are fab for thick fabrics.
- Multiple yards of muslin fabric (Amazon). This is widely used by dressmakers and the fashion industry to make test garments. I recommend getting a medium weight version for draping. Ps. in the UK it’s known as calico.
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Sewing room gift ideas under $50
Flexible LED light for evening sewing
Good lighting is essential when sewing in the dark. We need a concentrated burst of light over the stitching area, and the lights on sewing machines are normally too small and weak.
This LED light shines a bright white light, and it’s flexible so we can shine it in exactly the right spot. This is definitely going on my to-buy list!
Bobbin thread storage
I’m always filling up bobbins with different colored threads for each project, but it’s tricky storing so many of these small items.
This flexible bobbin ring is a great way to securely store them so they don’t unravel or get lost at the bottom of a drawer. Make sure the plastic is flexible, not hard, so it’s easy to take the bobbins out.
Sewers always have lots of threads in every color, but they’re difficult to store. Spool racks and thread boxes (Amazon links) are a great solution.
Sewing gift ideas over $50 (the dream stuff!)
As someone who received their serger as a gift, I can confirm that a new machine is one of the best sewing gifts we can receive! Every time I use my serger I feel very grateful to my mom.
When it comes to machines, I recommend talking to the giftee first. It’s important to know what features they need.
An upgraded sewing machine
Many of us started sewing on basic, hand-me-down sewing machines. These are great for the beginning of our sewing journey, but after a while, we want those extra stitches and automatic buttonholes.
Good brands to buy from include Brother and Janome (Amazon links).
A UK sewing machine technician told me not to buy big box store / supermarket machines and Singer ones (Amazon). The construction quality is bad apparently.
Note: If you’re not from the UK, the Singer machines you have access to might be better. I’ve noticed that Singer has way more machines for US buyers, so they might be made better over there.
Their first serger!
Note: this machine is known as an overlocker in the UK and Australia.
These are a dream for many sewers who want to make professional-looking clothes. Sergers create a special overlock stitch that’s often seen in shop-bought clothing. This stitch stops fabric fraying and creates seams that can stretch.
Here’s my guide on the 5 best machines you can buy after comparing 40+ models.
A dress form (also called a tailors dummy or mannequin)
These are so helpful when you want to check the fit of your handmade clothes, but can’t see your back. They’re also essential for creating clothes directly on the dress form, which is called draping.
I own an adjustable dress form (Amazon link) so that the bust, waist, and hip measurements match my own. For hobby sewists, this is ideal. For fashion students, a professional mannequin with guidelines is better for draping and pattern making.
Fabric for Fashion: The Swatch Book
This is hands down my favorite sewing book (Amazon link). It has 125 REAL fabric swatches inside. Being able to see and feel fabrics in real life is the best way to learn about them. It’s also a great reference book when we’re fabric shopping online and have no idea what a certain fabric name is.
Note: this post was originally published on 16 November 2020. It has since been updated.