Getting Started with the Essential Sewing Notions

Getting Started with the Essential Sewing Notions

Whether you are just starting out on your sewing journey or are already experienced in the use of a sewing machine, having the right notions is essential for getting the most out of your machine!

What are notions

Notions are small accessories and tools used when sewing. A wide variety of sewing equipment fits under the notions umbrella and includes tools such as as sewing machine needles, bobbins, thread, fabric scissors, seam rippers, rotary cutters, cutting mats, thread snips, and pins & clips.

Sewing accessories like these can make it easy to achieve your creative vision, but it’s important to make sure you have the right tools for the job. Here are some of our favorites:


Sewing Needles

There are many different types of needles to use in your sewing machine and each serves a specific purpose. It is important to use the right needle for the fabric you are sewing on to ensure the best finish. Needles are one of the most basic sewing supplies that have a big impact on your stitch quality and look of your stitching. It is recommended to change your needle every eight hours of sewing or at the start of a new project. You might need to change your needle sooner depending on the type of materials you are sewing. Learn more about the various types of sewing needles and when to use them on our needles blog post.

Use this needle type for most woven fabrics, some knits and synthetics. Klassé Universal Needles feature a slight ballpoint to work with most materials. Available in sizes 70/10, 75/11, 80/12, 90/14, an assorted pack which includes sizes 60/8, 100/16, 110/18, 120/20 and in titanium size 75/11.



Quality sewing thread will make a difference in the look of your project as well as how your machine runs. Thread breakage and excessive amounts of lint are signs of poor-quality thread. There is a wide selection of thread types suitable for every project from sewing, to quilting and embroidery. Be sure to select the best thread for the project you are working on.

Madeira 18 spool thread assortments in handy reusable boxes.




The bobbin is the small spool of thread that completes the underside of the stitch when you sew. There are various types of bobbins. The most common are the Class 15, Class L and Class M. Sewing machines will only work with one style of bobbin so it is essential you only use bobbins designed for your machine. The manual that came with your machine should tell you what bobbin size your machine takes. When working on a large project or using various colors or types of thread it saves time to have multiple bobbins. This will allow you to wind several bobbins in advance so you don’t have to stop in the middle of your project to wind a new bobbin.

The Hemline Double Sided Bobbin Box includes 50 colored Class 15 bobbins. It is compatible with most brands of sewing machines that are front or top loading. The box is completely spill-proof with strong latch closure. No more tangled threads!


Sewing Scissors

Good scissors for cutting fabric are important for any project. A well-made pair of fabric scissors will have a long sharp edge for smooth and precise cuts that prevent fraying and should be ergonomic for hours of potential use. Unlike standard scissors, the best sewing scissors are made specifically for cutting fabric and should not be used on other materials.

Standard fabric dressmaker and sewing scissors are often 8”- 9” or larger to facilitate large cuts through multiple layers of material. Depending on your project needs, smaller sizes are also available for more specialized functions, such as quilting, detailed cutting and trimming or applique.

If you are unsure of where to start, we recommend looking at the Kai S-Series 3 Piece Scissor Set. This features an 8” large sewing scissor, a small 5.5” pair, and even a set of smaller snips for trimming!

The KAI S-Series Set includes their most common sizes. The finely crafted and razor-sharp blades make cutting and trimming a smooth experience.



Rotary Cutters, Cutting Mats, & Rulers

Another essential sewing tool is a rotary cutter for fabric. Rotary cutters use a circular blade on a handle that rolls as you cut through your material. This design reduces hand fatigue compared to scissors and is a great solution for when you need to make long, straight cuts.

When cutting fabric with a rotary cutter, you want to make sure that you’re using a cutting mat underneath your material. This prevents your blade from damaging the surface you are cutting on and can even help maintain the sharp edge of your blade. Additionally, many cutting mats include ruler grids for easy measuring, and high-quality mats are made from self-healing materials that will prolong the life of the mat for many years of cutting.

If you don’t already have a rotary cutter or cutting mat, a great option is to buy a bundle like the Quilters Select Tool Kit. It includes a 45mm rotary cutter for fabric, an 18” x 24” self-healing cutting matt, a 2.5” x 18” ruler, and more.  Using the Quilters Select Rulers along with the mat allow for precision cutting while keeping your hands safely away from the rotary cutter.

Quilters Select Tool Kit features all of the must have tools that have quickly become quilter's favorites!



Seam Rippers

Even the most experienced sewist makes mistakes, and that’s why you always need to have a seam ripper (or two) nearby. Seam rippers have a small blade on their tip that can be worked underneath a seam in order to cut the stitches to remove them without risking damage to your fabric.

Seam rippers come in a variety of styles ranging from basic designs to ones with lights, magnifying glasses, and even surgical blades. A favorite of ours is the Dual Seam-Fix which features a standard tip on one end, and a special plastic material on the other side that picks up extra thread without leaving a mark or sticking to your fabric. (We also recommend having more than one seam ripper in your sewing area. They tend to go missing when you need them the most!)

Dual tips Seam-Fix with large and small blades seam ripper. Sharp blades with safety ball and individual lid. Specially formulated plastic material grabs and removes excess threads without marking or sticking to the fabric. Innovative extra-large thread removers on both ends.



Pins & Sewing Clips

Pins are one of the most important pieces of sewing equipment out there to ensure precision seams. They are used to temporarily hold fabric together, and allow you to line up your seams perfectly before you start sewing. Once you’re ready to begin sewing pins will keep your fabrics from shifting and sliding, to help ensure your final project turns out as expected.

But not all pins are created equal! If you need to iron over or use some other heat source on your pins, then glass head pins are crucial because their glass tips won’t melt causing damage to your fabric or iron. And, if you’re sewing with knits, ball point pins have a rounded point that will more easily pass through knit fibers without damaging your project. Even quilters can benefit from specialized quilting pins that are made to pierce through multiple layers of fabric and batting.

A great alternative to traditional pins are plastic sewing clips. Unlike pins, plastic sewing clips simply clip onto your fabric so there’s no holes or risk of damage to your project. Our go-to is the Clover Wonder Clip, and these do a great job of holding your project together. For thicker fabrics that do not lay flat when pinned, or even end of bending your pins, the Wonder Clips are a great solution. They even feature a flat base with ¼” and ½” seam allowance markings to help make sure everything is perfectly lined up! This specific set is color coded as well, so you can group different pieces together. 

Clip and hold, Clip and Sew right where you need it! Great Holding capacity for different types of crafts. Wonder Clips have a wide opening for holding multiple layers of fabric.


Cleaning Your Sewing Machine

While not traditionally thought of as notions, cleaning tools are important for maintaining your machine between regular service checkups. Keeping your machine clean will ensure it is ready to sew when you are.  Here are a few key tools that every sewist should have. 

Using compressed air to blow loose dust out of your machine is a common practice, but not one we recommend. Instead, using a small lint brush can be a great way to remove dust and debris without pushing it further into the machine.

Another great option is one of our favorite cleaning tools, the Micro Vacuum Attachment Kit. It connects to the hose on any vacuum and includes several mini attachments and brushes that can get into hard-to-reach places a normal vacuum can’t. 

Instead of blowing dirt and lint further into crevices, use these attachments to clean your sewing machine, serger, and even your computer keyboard. Includes special adaptor to attach to any vacuum hose, oval and round brushes, crevice tool, and two extensions.


Set yourself up for success by having the essential sewing equipment and notions needed in your sewing tool box before you get started on your project.

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