Buying the Necessary Sewing Notions

How Do I Know What's Necessary?

When you have your pattern that you want to make, look at the back of the envelope. Most patterns have a great deal of information on the back of the envelope, including a list of sewing notions. It's useful stuff to have at hand.

The first thing you see is usually a clothing category. It might say “Misses Jacket” or “Baby Sleepwear”. Just below this there is usually a listing of appropriate fabrics to use. I mentioned this listing in the Choosing Sewing Fabrics article.

So, What Are Notions?

Beneath the fabric list is another list titled “Notions”. Are you wondering what sewing notions are? It is a word with a fairly vague definition, but basically it means “little odds and ends that are useful in sewing”.

For me, the word “notions” usually means “those useful items I forgot to get but which I really need in order to finish this project”. It really pays to check your pattern envelope's listing. Not only will it tell you the items you will need, but also how many and what size of each item.

This could include closures (zippers, buttons), or small tools (a hem gauge, a seam ripper) or, even, small decorative items (ribbon, sew-on appliques). On the sewing pattern envelope, only closures and decorative items are likely to be listed.

It is best to acquire the necessary notions at the same time that you acquire the fabric you want to use. That enables you to color match when necessary, such as when buying thread.

Other Sewing Notions to Have on Hand

Another group of notions we will need to have are the little tools we use regularly in our sewing. These include a tape measure, a fabric marker of some type, a hem gauge, and a seam ripper. These will be used on most of your sewing projects.

There are also those little tools that are sort of specialty items. As an example, you may not use an invisible zipper on every project, or even on most of your projects. When you do, however, you will find it easier to install using one of the specialty machine feet which is sold separately.

You also might want to keep on hand a small supply of certain things that are used on many sewing projects and that are often sold in bulk form. For example, a few yards of a favorite interfacing and a roll of an often used elastic might be at home in the supply stash.

As you gain experience, you will come to rely on certain things and those are the things you will want to keep available for your use. As you realize that you want to keep something on hand, make a shopping list for your next foray to the fabric store. This will keep you from having to make a special trip to the fabric store, which (for me, anyway) is a danger to the budget!

Keeping It All Together

Once you have your pattern and your notions, as well as your fabric, it's a good idea to place the pattern and notions in a large (I use a one gallon size) zip lock bag.

I then pin the zip lock bag to a clothes hanger and drape the fabric over the bar of the hanger. This insures that I don't lose all the parts before I even get to start the project.

Be sure to place a towel or other padding under the fabric if you are using a wire hanger. This will avoid marring the fabric.