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Recommended Sewing Materials & Equipment

Here's a whizz up a list of stuff your child will need if they like making sustainable fashion and you want to encourage them to be creative at home.

Be resourceful..

If you have anything round the house, use that rather than buy new. If there’s a working sewing machine of any brand in a cupboard, please use that as it will be more than fine.

I’ve put in links, sorry it’s all Amazon but I’m keen to get this to you asap. You can shop around or use common sense and make do with what you have. I would if my children were still young. For example, newspaper, old wallpaper etc can work just as well as pattern cutting paper. I’m not one for expensive sewing kits in fancy boxes, an old shoe box or tin is just as good and the children can enjoy customising them with collage, old nail varnish etc.

I will put up some useful local shops and small businesses too in due course as much better to support them where we can..


If you child is interested in sewing and fashion then they really do need a machine to use for their own design work/ sewing projects, family repairs, upcycling, sampling at home and unethical fashion. I’ve recommended one brand Janome as we know they are really long lasting and we use them in the studios.

This might sound odd but we don’t recommend children’s sewing machines. In our experience they are badly designed, temperamental, generally a bit of a nightmare and often put children off sewing.

We always recommend full sized models as they are so much more reliable and the children are so incredibly quick to master them and are much better than adults. Yes really!

The Janome machines should last for years and if you buy one and your child decides they prefer trampolining, I will buy it off you. In 8 years and 1000s of young creatives, no one has taken me up on this so that has to be an endorsement. We used the models below in our PPE workrooms in March – July lockdown. 70,000 PPE ICU gowns were made by volunteers at The Royal Brompton and Royal Free and the machines are still going strong.

If you have a hand me down machine and it works – that’s more than fine. Liaise with your child’s tutor as to it’s make and model.

We have used the following models in classes, workshops, parties, The Great British Sewing Bee and in our PPE workrooms during lockdown.

This is the newest addition to the machines we use in the studio and the most expensive model we use. Our staff and children love them in the class as they are computerised, have speed control plus many stitch variations. However, one of our cheaper recommendations further down will more than provide for your children’s needs.

Many younger students will be familiar with 230DC as we use it in our studios and it is very straightforward for them. Very useful speed control so ideal for nervous beginners and I would buy this if my child was under 11.

Janome Sewist 725S My favourite classic machine for personal use. Good for adults, teenagers and competent sewers. We use these in our studios, they aren’t computerised. Will last for years, reliable

Haberdashery and tools

Mini Sewing Kit A handy kit containing some sewing essentials such as sewing needles, thread, mini scissors, pins, tape measure, unpicked etc. RFWIN Travel Set Korbond Sewing kit Janome Bobbins These are really useful as the bobbin houses thread for the under-stitch on a machine. Janome machine sewing needles There’s a selection on this link but just go for some standard ones if you don’t have any. If you buy a new model it will come with them. There are lots of specialist needles but your child’s tutor can suggest them if needed. Pin magnet Only cheap and if your child is sewing at home then it’s an essential as who wants pins all over the floor and carpet? Total lifesaver.We use them in our studios and they are part of our ‘pin patrol’. I would suggest putting approx 20 pins on a simple tray magnet so your budding sewer will be able to use pins safely rather than dropping them. Tape Measure In case you don’t already have one Hand sewing needles Basic Sewing Threads Here’s a box of basic colours from Coats to get your child started. If you already have threads then great.. Needlework Scissors for cutting thread and smaller detail Really useful, we use them in our studios. Make sure they only use them for fabric as paper blunts them. Smaller fabric scissors 6 – 11 year olds This first link is for children from 8 but our younger regulars who know how to cut will be able to use them. We actually encourage them to use bigger scissors safely in our supervised class/workshops. See what you think when you click on the link as a parent and make your own decision. These are slightly larger for 8-11 year olds. Full sized scissors as used in our studios. Mannequin stand

Optional pattern cutting equipment for 11+

(Or if they are younger and super keen to learn pattern cutting)

We use these in class with older children who are learning pattern cutting. If your child is in FashionLab then they will need one if they are working from home. They last a lifetime, I’ve still got mine from when I was at The Royal College of Art back in the 1980s.


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