Sewing Notion Essentials
Over the years, I have accumulated many notions to help with my sewing needs. I get asked all the time which are my favorite and which are essential, so I decided to show you my favorite sewing notion essentials in a blog post.
Before choosing your own sewing notion essentials, you will first want to ask yourself “What type of things or items will I be sewing?” I sew mainly garments, but I also sew a lot of other items too, so while my notions are essential to me, they may or may not be essential to you. Yours may be a bit different; depending on what types of items you are going to sew.
So without further ado, in no particular order of preference, here are mine:
1. A very good pair of scissors. Scissors are an investment, so I suggest spending the money to get a good pair, so you don’t have to keep replacing them. My scissor brand of choice is Gingher. You can purchase Gingher scissors at your local fabric store or online. I purchase mine at Joann Fabric with a coupon or when they are on sale. I am pretty sure that I have almost every pair they make. The ones here are dressmaker sheers with a knife edge. They will cut through several layers of fabric with ease and last a very long time before you will need to sharpen them. I recommend getting dressmaking because they will allow you to cut through more layers of fabric without tiring your hands.
2. You will also want to get yourself a pair of nippers or very small embroidery scissors to cut random threads from the garments or items that you will be sewing. My favorite is the nippers – I actually have two pair of these, but I also have a pair of 4” large handle scissors that I also use. It really just depends on what I am doing as to which one I grab to use.
3. And extra accessory that is a must have is a sharpening stone. I don’t have to use mine often, even though I do a lot of cutting, but when I use it, I am totally amazed with how sharp my scissors get. Make sure that you get a sharpening stone that will work with the brand of scissors that you purchase. I made the mistake of purchasing a scissor sharpening tool that was not specific to my brand of scissors and my scissors did not fit in it.
4. Another cutting tool that is amazing and is an absolute must have, if you are going to be cutting a lot of straight edges is a rotary cutter. As you may have guessed, I use and recommend the Gingher rotary cutter. It is ergonomically designed, so it fits nice in your hand and it cuts like a dream. You will find mixed reviews on this rotary cutter, but I absolutely love mine. I do believe that the mixed reviews are because there is a slight learning curve with any rotary cutter that you purchase. You have to hold it just right to get a good cut. I have cut through four layers of denim and two layers of fleece multiple times without any issues, except when the blade dulls. The blade will dull faster with some fabrics than others, so I recommend always keeping a few spare blades on hand. Again, I suggest stocking up when you have coupons and/or there is a sale.
5. You will also want a cutting mat, so you don’t cut up the surface that you are cutting on. I have three of these – one very large one that I leave out on my cutting table, a medium size one, and a smaller one. Each one serves a specific purpose and each work very well. You will want to get one that fits your needs the best.
6. If you are doing any amount of straight edge cutting, a straight edge ruler is another must have notion. I actually have six of these, but I am only going to share my favorite – Fiskars Donna Dewberry Easy-To-Read Ruler – 6-1/2”x24-1/2” – the one that I use most often, with you. Picking out a straight edge ruler will be based on user preference. I have six in varying sizes and shapes because I need them for different projects. I suggest getting the one that you think you will need most often, and then add as your needs become more clear.
7. One more cutting must have is a good seam ripper. I have two that I love. One is a Gingher, of course, and the other is a Dritz. Both are essential to me because the Gingher will take care of taking out wider stitches faster and the Dritz will take out the tighter stitches easier. Both are ergonomically designed and fit will in the hand. The Gingher one does have a learning curve, if you are used to the original type of seam rippers; however, it doesn’t take long before you are ripping your way to an unsewn seam.
8. A cute pair of tweezers is another essential notion item that comes in quite handy when you need to rip out the stitches on something that you are making or when you need to pull a thread through a needle. Tweezers work much better than fingers when trying to grab a thread or two or three.
9. My next must have notion is an iron. If you want a professional finish to your projects; whether they are for yourself, family, friends, or a customer, you want to have a really good iron, so you can iron while you are sewing. It is good to iron your fabric before your cut it and before you start pinning it and sewing it. You will also need to sew after each step of your sewing, so that you will be sure to line everything up properly. I have two irons – one for the big jobs and one for the little jobs.
Along with being a Gingher girl, I am a Rowenta girl too. I used to purchase cheapy irons, but then I got tired of replacing them every six months to a year, so I broke down and purchased a Rowenta. They are a little pricey, but oh so worth it. I just replaced one that I have had for about 5 years and I am so loving my new one because of all the newer features it has that my old one didn’t have – it is a Rowenta Steamium.
For the smaller jobs, I use and love my compact Rowenta iron. The compact iron is great to use when pressing after cutting your pieces and also for when you are pressing in-between sewing your garments or items together.
If you shop at Joann Fabric, you cannot use a coupon on these; however, they do go on sale quite frequently for about 30% off, so if you don’t have an immediate need, wait it out because you will be able to get one for less sooner or later.
10. Now that you have an idea of the types of irons that are essential for you to get a professional look on your garments and items, you must know that another essential item is an ironing board. And ironing board is essential to help you iron the lengths of fabric you will be bringing home and also for ironing the larger garments and other items that you will be sewing. I have had my ironing board for over 30 years and it is quite sturdy and not something that I will be replacing any time soon; however, if you need to purchase one, here is a nice one that has all the features that I would be looking for, if I needed to purchase another one. This one is available at Joann Fabric and you may be able to use a coupon for it, since I have seen the irons in the notion sections at the Joanns that I frequent. And no, I do not work for Joanns – I just frequent them a lot because they are close to me.
11. Another essential notion item for your sewing room is a June Tailor Cushioned Quilter’s Square’n Blocker or something similar. I recommend this one because I have had mine for too many years to remember and I use it daily for pressing after cutting my pieces and after I have sewn them. This I keep set up almost 24/7 and could not live without it.
12. Depending on the type of sewing you will be doing, you will also need some type of pins or clips and something to put them in. You can purchase pins in containers, but it is less expensive to purchase them without so much packaging. I use Grabbit Magnetic Pin Cushions to store my pins. They are magnetic and you can turn them upside down to pick up stray pins. I have two of them. I like to keep one by my sewing machine and one either on the cutting table where I will be pinning fabric or on my desk, if I am pinning something that allows me to sit.
For my pins, I prefer to use Dritz Quilting Pearl Head Pins 1-1/2”-100/Pkg. They are reasonably priced – more so with a coupon, and they stay sharp and are a good length for what I need them for.
I also use Wonder Clips when I am working with bulkier fabric. Wonder Clips come in packages of 50 or packages of 10. The packages of 10 include a container to keep them in while the packages of 10 do not. When I first discovered these, I only purchased a couple of packages of 10 to see how I would like them. All I can say is purchase the packs of 50, if you can, because you won’t be disappointed. I love love love these!!! Needless to say, I did go back and purchased more of these. You can use your coupons on these too, so this is quite a good purchase. You won’t be disappointed.
13. When you pick up your pins two more notion essentials that you should consider are a wrist pin cushion and a couple of thimbles. I have seen stories and known sewers that have swallowed pins by holding them in their mouths and I have also known sewers that have ended up with serious infections from getting poked with a pin, so these two notion essential are also safety notions.
I have this wrist cushion and it works very well for me, and I have these thimbles and I love them. Each one of these notions is very comfortable and easy to get used to. One more thing, when picking out a thimble, I have very small hands, so I was concerned about the fit. It was recommended to me that I get the medium size thimbles because even though I have very small hands, the small ones would have been too small. The medium ones fit me perfect.
Now that you know what my favorite essential sewing notions are, please share yours. I would love to know if I am missing out on anything!!!