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A Well-Stocked Dressmaker Workroom

jd1row | Posted in General Discussion on


By way of introduction, I taught myself how to sew about 15 years ago, and just about a year ago decided to start a small sewing business. I haven’t yet narrowed down my range of projects, but I am starting to focus on liturgical art and clothing.

I am almost done with a dress for a client, but I discovered several times during the project that I did not have a minor notion and had to run to the store.

Does anyone have a list of the small, overlooked items that should always be on hand in a well-stocked dressmaker’s workroom? I’m thinking along the lines of three kinds of elastic, four kinds of interfacing, seam tape in standard colors, etc.

Any information will help!




  1. FitnessNut | | #1

    Off the top of my head:

    small, plain buttons in several colours
    snaps in several sizes
    hooks/eyes in several sizes
    selection of zippers in basic colours
    several weights of interfacing - both fusible and sew-in
    short lengths of lining in several colours
    shoulder pads in various thicknesses
    elastic in 1/2", 3/4" and 1" widths
    stay tape
    dressmaker's carbon

    I'll come up with more, I'm sure.....

    1. jd1row | | #2

      Thanks! I'll start shopping, and check back for any further brainstorms.Jeff

      1. mygaley | | #3

        Dear Jeff:  quilting pins (long, strong, and sharp), fine, extra-long silk pins (see gatherings discussion), a rigid ruler fastened in front of your machine, white craft glue, whatever you use for stabilizing under fabric while sewing (I use adding machine tape and old patterns), enough pin holders to keep your pins separate, cord to cover from rattail size on up (this is the thing I have had to make the most trips for!) and enough of the best machine needles to last a year (they won't).  Let us see some of your pictures.  God bless you, Galey

  2. solosmocker | | #4

    Jeff, I would be lost without my plexiglass tailors curve, quilting rulers ( they are great for non quilting), and my rotary cutter and cutting mat. This really speeds up productivity.

    1. jd1row | | #5

      Thanks for these suggestions. I've started shopping and stocking up already! Jeff

  3. Wunmismom | | #6

    I have a sample of all fusibles that are suitable for dressmaking close at hand. Here's how to do it:

    I cut out 6 x 6 inch squares of fabric in silky, cotton and suit-weight fabric. I then fuse an interfacing swatch to each and pink the edges. I use a permanent pen to write on the interfacing name, i.d. number and weight. I then use binder clips to hold the three swatches together. I then hang them on the back of one of my sewing cabinet doors close to the cutting table. I use these as reference when I am preparing to cut out. I then have an idea of the interfacings to reach for to make test samples from the actual fabric I plan to sew.

    However, to start with, I make certain that I keep a wide variety of interfacings on hand.

    Wunmi's Mom

    1. jd1row | | #7

      Actually, I've already set up file folders with one for each of about ten kinds and weights of interfacings. I use a variation on your samples suggestion, except that I sew a square of the original fabric to the square of interfaced fabric, so I can compare the two to help me make my interfacing choice.Eventually I would like to narrow down the range of interfacings I use, to make it easier to stock and to make decisions.Jeff

      1. Susan -homedecsewing | | #8

        How about some fray check, purple disapearing marking pen . I also made a poster with many different types of hem styles , it helped when training help to see how you want different hems for different fabrics done , also to show clients .


  4. SAAM | | #9

    I would also include a loop turner, a stitch ripper, buttons to cover in various sizes, a variety of marking tools from chalk to pencils to tracing paper. A hem marker is very nice to have on hand, too.

    I buy trims when they are on sale — 5-10 yards at a time so I have enough to play with. I also shop sales for interesting buttons, frogs, and other closures. It's good to have quantities of tracing paper on hand for drafting or altering patterns.

    I also keep a bar of soap near my sewing machine. It's great for sewing on fabrics (like a lot of the metallics) where the stitches skip. I just run a line of the soap down the stitching line on the fabric. It lubricates the needle and no more skipped stitches.


    1. solosmocker | | #10

      LOTS of black and white thread. I never seem to have enough no matter how often I stock up.

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