My Cart


Free Shipping on U.S. Orders over $100

What Are Sewing Notions and How to Choose Yours

What Are Sewing Notions and How to Choose Yours | Little Fabric Shop Blog

There are so many areas of sewing - machine sewing, hand quilting, needlepoint, and even garment mending. Having the right tools -or- sewing notions makes a huge difference in the creative process. We have put together a handy tip sheet to help you understand what sewing notions are, how to choose sewing notions, and a basic sewing notion tool kit to for the beginner sewist. Let’s get started.


What Are Sewing Notions?


Sewing notions are your basic sewing supplies. They are all the extras that help get the job done. They will include cutting tools, needles, thread, rulers, and pins to name a few. Additionally, sewing notions include embellishments that you add to your project including buttons, zippers, ribbon, hooks, and elastic. Combined, sewing notions is a large group of items that are vital in the sewing process. Let’s break them down into a few categories.


Sewing Notion Tools


These notions are used to help with the cutting and construction process in sewing. They do everything from measuring, trimming, stitching, pressing, marking, and even pinning fabric. From start to finish, these tools are a key part of the construction any sewing project. Here are some general categories for these items.


Cutting Tools

Cutting tools are an important part of sewing. Whether you are cutting fabric, batting, or thread, having both the right type and the right size of cutting tool can really make a difference.

Cutting shears tend to be larger in size. They are used for precision cutting of fabric, batting, and interfacing. It is important that your cutting shears are sharp! Do not use these shears for paper. That is a major no-no. Sharp scissors make for accurate cuts.

Rotary cutters are very common for cutting fabric for quilting projects. They come in a variety of blade sizes. Rotary cutters work with a ruler and a special cutting mat. As with fabric shears, they are very sharp and need to be handled carefully. Once again – do not use your fabric rotary cutter on paper.

Embroidery scissors & thread snips are perfect for smaller jobs. Cutting thread from your sewing machine or hand sewing projects is the most common use of these scissors. They are small, but super sharp as well. There are so many different varieties of these small scissors – beautiful colors, shapes, and sizes.


Rulers & Templates

Rulers are another important tool for sewing. They make a huge difference in accurately creating your sewing project. Different sized rulers and templates are used for specific parts of sewing. Here are a few basic types of these tools.

Clear rulers are commonly used to cut straight lines with a rotary cutter. Having a see-through ruler helps with the placement of this tool on the fabric. There are many different sizes of clear rulers. Each one is used depending on the size of the cut needed.

Retractable rulers are flexible. These rulers are designed to wrap around an object for accurate measuring such as a head, arm, waist or even a curtain rod. The retractable ruler is commonly used in garment sewing.

Templates are used to cut out specific shapes. There are some very common templates used in sewing such as a flying geese template or half square triangle ruler. These templates help speed up production of specific shapes and create a more accurate fabric cut-out when used.


Pins & Binding Clips

Pins and binding clips help secure your fabric and hold it in place in both cutting and in sewing. There are many different sizes and lengths of pins as with binding clips. Both are key components of the sewing tool kit.


Other Sewing Tools

A seam ripper, marking pen or pencil, quilting gloves, pressing iron, seam roller, needles, thread, thimble, and tweezers are all make-up this catch all sewing notion tool category. They are all a must-have for the sewist.


Sewing Notion Embellishments


These are the are trims and accessories used to finish a sewing project. Buttons, snaps, hooks, collar stays, trim and even elastic are all important to the finishing of a sewing job. Most of these items are used at the very end of the sewing project but can be utilized at any time depending on the pattern requirements.


Choosing Sewing Notions


So, how do you determine what sewing notions you need and when to use them? The best place to start is with your pattern instructions. In every pattern there is a list of tools and supplies you will need beyond the basic fabric measurements. From there, we suggest trying out different types of tools to find the one that works best for you. For example, there are 100’s of different seam rippers available on the market. How do you pick? Try a few out. Read about them on a blog. Even following your favorite sewist on Instagram will give you insider information on what the pros are using.

At Little Fabric Shop, all our tools have been used by both amateur and professional sewists. We have stocked our shop with their favorites and are comfortable recommending any of the notions we sell in the shop as they have been proven to be both high quality and high performing items.


Sewing Notions for Beginners


Here is a list of a basic sewing notion tool kit to get you started:

  1. Seam Ripper
  2. Fabric Shears
  3. Thread Snips
  4. Large Ruler
  5. Smaller Ruler
  6. Rotary Cutter
  7. Cutting Mat
  8. Iron
  9. Marking Tool
  10. Pins & Pincushion
  11. Hand Sewing Needles
  12. Binding Clips


We hope this guide has been helpful in understanding the world of sewing notions. If there is anything you need, we’re here to help you. Just drop us a line at We look forward to connecting. Happy Sewing!


Connect with our latest news by signing up here.