If there's one word that could mean A LOT of different things, it's "notion." Even outside the sewing and quilting trade, it had different meanings, but within the trade, it seems like the umbrella term to end all umbrella terms. But a notion - to us, at least - is a small object or accessory, including items that are sewn or attached to a finished article or project.
We love notions here at Quilt Quarters, because it gives every crafter out there an opportunity to grow and expand their skill set! Because of that, here's a smaller, more manageable list than some you'll find out there of notions we think would benefit every sewist, quilter, crafter, and anyone in between.
1. Sewing Needles
It's a staple and a necessity for every single project you have! It might seem a little obvious to have this on the list, but having needles of multiple sizes is paramount for a growing portfolio of projects. Your skill might outgrow the 'one size fits all' hand-sewing needle, and it becomes much more important to keep a few extra sewing machine needles once you begin your journey into the world of sewing machines.
2. Tape Measurer
This unit of measurement is great for getting the dimensions of curves and the lengths of bulky fabrics that won't lay flat for a more rigid measurer, and that's why we've chosen to put it on the list! With just as much versatility as flexibility, you can use this notion for measurements of all sorts, and its portability really distinguishes it from other methods of measurement that are just as important.
3. Pins and a Pincushion
Primarily, we think that pins are an integral part of any sewist's basket of notions, with how often they are used to hold patterns to fabric as they're sewn on. Straight pins are likely the only kind a beginner will need to keep initially, but as we said before, with skill expansion comes the need for the tools that come along with it. Even with only straight pins, though, a pincushion comes in handy so that you don't accidentally poke yourself every time you need to fish around for a pin!
4. Seam Rippers
It's a lifesaver when it comes to stitching mistake or a DIY upcycling of clothes - seam rippers are one of those tools that you don't need until you do, and then they make all the difference! Even the most seasoned seamstress will have need for this notion once or twice (or more) during a project. It's especially useful for thrifters who like to take clothes that have seen better days and give them new life!
Kind of like needles, this one might seem like a given, since it's one of the fundamental elements of sewing - you have to have it in order to start. But, for most beginners who choose to buy a kit or package that comes with included thread spools, the colors, types, thickness, quality, and amount won't be enough after the first few steps have been taken. For growing crafters, a lot of the thread you know you'll need is much more helpful than having a lot of miscellaneous spools that you haven't touched.
6. Scissors or Shears
There are many different kinds of scissors and shears that grouping them into one category almost gives us an umbrella term underneath an umbrella term. Usually, though, the most popular kinds are:
- Sewing or Fabric Scissors
- Embroidery Scissors
- Pinking Shears
These all hold their own purposes, but beginners should most definitely have a pair of fabric scissors on hand, and embroidery scissors are great for storage because of their size, but are insanely helpful when it comes to everyday thread cuts and other small cutting jobs that don't require the fabric scissor's heft. Snips and pinking shears are tools that you might invest in later or for specific projects, but when talking basics, those top two are the Top Two!
7. Stainless Marking Method
While the title may be a little confusing, a marking method is just a way for you to keep measurements and placements for projects that either can't be completed in a single run or have a less linear process. Either way, pins don't always make the cut, and you never want to mark your fabric with a non-erasable material. Some of the most common marking tools that are easily washed or ironed off are:
- Carbon Paper
- Marking Pencils
- Marking Chalk
- Fabric Markers
Bodkins are notions that definitely aren't technically "necessary" when it comes to the completion of certain projects, but we think they make the list because of the pure convenient power of their use. When it comes to projects that utilize elastic in their hems, waistband, etc., we all know that threading the elastic can be a big pain. The bodkin is the tool that helps facilitate that process, and any other threading job, so we like to categorize it as a notion every sewist needs!
9. Presser Feet
With the publishing of our blog a couple of months ago, "Quilt Quarter's Presser Foot Crash Course," we only thought it fitting to include these important little pieces! These notions are additions to your machine, as opposed to a hand-held use, but they're just as important for making your projects as great as they can be. Each different foot has a different use but, for beginners, just a standard zig-zag foot might fit the bill. Once your projects start growing in difficulty and complexity, different presser feet will certainly be a notion must-have!
10. Iron and Ironing Board
These are difficult to imagine as notions since they have other uses outside of sewing and quilting, but they most certainly are included under the umbrella! They are quite helpful in making your projects lay the way you need them to for the straightest, most accurate stitches, and make the finished project much more professional. And if you're using interfacing, it's a necessary component for attachment!