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favorite notions

Sarah_Kayla | Posted in The Archives on

I recently got a $1.80 piece of equipment that has improved my sewing life considertably. It is a screw with an oversized head that allows me to change presser feet without having to find a screwdriver. ( My machine has snap on feet but not all specialty feet can snap on)

The point is, that this tiny bit of hardware has made my life much better. Have any of you had that kind of an experience where a notion can make all the difference in the world?

This isn’t an earth shattering topic, but one I think about every time I can just screw in my roller foot without having to rummage for that screwdriver.


  1. Drusilla_Peters | | #1

    This isn't exactly a notion but it is great for me. The foot pedal on my machine was always moving around even though I had bought one of those plastic trays to put it in. My husband applied a the soft side of a piece of velcro to the bottom of the foot pedal and the prickly side to the plastic tray. Now my pedal never moves and I can bring it with me to classes and not worry about any floors being damaged.

    1. Linda_C. | | #2

      *I love my bias tape makers. I have one in each of the available sizes: 1/4", 1/2", 3/4", 1" and 2"and find them to be invaluable tools!

      1. Margie_Padron | | #3

        *I understand how you feel about a simple inexpensive notion making your life easier. That is exactly how I feel about my jean-a-ma-jig. I have found that I use it for more than just jeans. Such a simple thing, why didn't I think of that?

        1. connie | | #4

          *Margie, what's a jean-a-ma-jig??????

          1. ellen_morgan | | #5

            *I took a class on hems recently and the advice was to bash the folded hem of the jeans with a hammer and then you don't need any jigs. Lets see if I can explain it better. Say you are hemming your new blue jeans. The problem area is where the side seams meet the hem, right? You have to drive up a mountain and then down the other side, much like skiing over a snowbank. First it is hard to get up and then you are left dangling in the air. The jean a ma jig goes beside the bump so both sides of the presser foot have something to stand on. But if you fold up the hem the way you want it and hit that bump hard with a hammer you have no bump. I keep a hammer in my machine-side cabinet now.

          2. Cherry_Harris | | #6

            *Linda, what are bias tape makers and where do you get one. Sounds like something I really NEED. LOL

          3. Cherry_Harris | | #7

            *Tell us what you have around the house that you use instead of some of the expensive store bought notions. Like using a wooden skewer instead of a point turner.

          4. connie | | #8

            *Thanks, Ellen, that makes perfect sense. I love the hammer idea...releases a lot of frustration at the same time...

          5. Lillian_McGee | | #9

            *I have 3 favorite inexpensive sewing notions.1.I sanded a block of wood and attached an inexpensive metal door handle to make a clapper.2.A tightly rolled magazine covered with a tube of wool for pressing seams3.Two slanted rubber doorstops inserted under the back of my machine to tilt it forward for better visibility

          6. Lillian_McGee | | #10

            *I have 3 favorite inexpensive sewing notions.1.I sanded a block of wood and attached an inexpensive metal door handle to make a clapper.2.A tightly rolled magazine covered with a tube of wool for pressing seams3.Two slanted rubber doorstops inserted under the back of my machine to tilt it forward for better visibility

          7. Tere_D'Amato | | #11

            *My favorite notion is this crazy looking measuring tool sold by Clotilde. It is about two inches square with jogs jutting out. Each jog is marked from as little as 1/4 inch to 1 3/4 inch. I use it to check on seam allowances, hems, etc. Besides my trusty seam ripper, I use this measuring tool more than any other notion. (and I love notions. I don't collect fabric, I collect sewing gadgets!)

          8. S.Roman | | #12

            *My favorite tool is a seam ripper that is surgical steel. Not your usual hook like with a red dot at the one end. This is flat steel and is very sharp. The point is flat and so small it can fit through a standard stitch. It is great for serged seams. This is not the one that has a plastic handle. I bought one of those and it broke and it did not cut through the seams as quickly. I believe Clothilda has them. They are $3.00 approx. and they are great.

          9. lin_hendrix | | #13

            *My fave is a scissor action buttonhole spacing marker. It has eight "points" with little slots so that you can chalk a horizontal line. It looks like those expandable coat racks or cup holders, made of metal. I've found them in various stores... I think Clothilde's has them.Perfectly spaced buttons/buttonholes every time!

          10. Gwynith_Krieg | | #14

            *I find an eyebrow tweezer wonderful for pulling out difficult threads when I am unpicking any stitching.

          11. judi | | #15

            *my fav is a plastic ruler with slots for 5/8, 1/2, 1/4 inch. It's broken and I sure would like to replace it, but can't find one anywhere.

          12. Victoria_Miesle | | #16

            *I don't know what I would do if I ever lost my gingher thread nippers--they have the thumb hole openening on them--and very sharp! I use them for cutting notches and such as well as garbage threads. Using dressmaker shears around the sewing machine is clumsy for me. I've been thinking of getting another pair to have at my ironing board as well.

          13. Ghillie_C | | #17

            *I second the square measuring thing AND the scissory button spacer (I once made a pure wool blazer, did the button holes beautifully,measuring with a tape, cut them open, sewed on the buttons and found that one button hole was precisely one inch from where it should have been. Neearrghhh...)I also have a porcupine quill, which in a country which only has a handfull of porcupines all in zoos is a rare thing. It is excellent for pointing and poking and getting into tight places.Chop sticks are also useful, but a porcupine quill is classier.

          14. Kathie | | #18

            *My two favorites: an old mousepad under the presser foot to keep it from sliding and my magnifier light which I use for all close work (like ripping out seams).

          15. Marion_ | | #19

            *Kathie, I'd love to know more about your magnifier light. How bright is the bulb and how much does it magnify? Is it on a stand that sits on the table or floor? Can you adjust it so you can use it when sewing on the sewing machine? And where did you get it? Am I giving you the third degree?!

          16. Tere_D'Amato | | #20

            *I just bought the magnifying lamp (with the optional stand) for my ironing board area. I swing it over to the area that needs light. And even though I wear bifocals, the magnifier really helps when you are sewing at night. I found it at Joanns.

          17. Susan_Dryer | | #21

            *I am quite partial to the "Dye Magnet," an ionized piece of white terrycloth you add to your washing machine load. This amazing cloth "grabs" the excess dye molecules and minerals from the water and keeps them. No more accidental pink underwear! I use it for all loads of laundry except dark towels and rags. The "Dye Magnet" looks grungy but the rest of the load does not. It lasts for 50 loads. Costs $4.87 at my local Wal-Mart. As you can imagine, this product is a must for prewashing fabrics to prepare for the needle. NAYY

          18. brenda | | #22

            *favorite notions - the ageless seam guide for checking measurements on seams, hems, etc.>>the simplex gauge - that's the one that expands like the old coffee mug holders popular a few years back - spacing buttonholes has never been easier>> a set of fine-pointed tweezers - one is angled - for threading machine & serger, picking out fine threads, etc.. >>that pocket guide template for pressing corners on pockets (and getting them to look the same)>>safety pins of different sizes for threading elastic - the fancy store bought gizmos always seem to disappear when I need them>>the little piece of rubber with a grippy surface for pulling through stubborn needles in ribbon embroidery!

          19. Julia | | #23

            *I also have the wonderful button(hole) spacer and every time I use it I am impressed by its cleverness and simplicity. My two other favourite notions are:1. Grabbit - a magnetic plastic pincushion. I keep it on the table next to the sewing machine and, as I sew, I can remove pins and throw them in the general direction of the pincushion where they stick. It has also put an end to scrabbling around on the floor picking up pins one by one (ouch!): I can get the pincushion to pick up any stray pins.2. A 6-inch long flat metal measuring gauge with a sliding red indicator. It makes measuring seams, hems, pocket positions etc so much easier and the red indicator really speeds this up.BTW although I live in England, my best gadgets were all bought in the USA. I'm really impressed with the way you invent something to solve a problem. What else can you think up? :)

          20. Lucitoon | | #24

            *Welcome, Julie,My favorite 'home made' item I appreciate is a wooden spool with a 'c' hook driven into the side of it. I use the hook to hold serger thread when I use the thread on my sewing machine. I simply put it in the thread holder and slip the thread through the hook and thread the machine as always.

          21. Diane | | #25

            *Sorry, I can't visualize this at all. Could you explain further?

          22. Marion_ | | #26

            *That sounds like a much better solution than the one I use -- a straightened-out paper clip bent into a hook on the end and taped to the top of my machine. The tape is always coming loose.

          23. Clairezbo_ | | #27

            *my greatest gaddget is the cardbord flat that comes inside material. I slip into the leg of slacks i am making to press the inside seam. The stores are grateful for you taking there empty flats away. The round ones I use for sleeves

          24. Doreen_Green | | #28

            *For years I've looked for the perfect tool to hold two-hole buttons off the fabric when stitching them onto shirts in order to create a threaad shank. I found it in a jar of bubble soap I'd bought for the grandchildren. Inside there's a plastic thingamabob for blowing bubbles, with a loop at each end. Cut off the smooth loop and leave on the one with the serrated surface. Makes a nice grip for your left thumb and forefinger to hold the "spacer" in place between the button & fabric. It won't get lost like a finishing nail might in your sewing basket.

          25. Cecile_Moore | | #29

            *Lillian - what's a clapper? (sorry for stupid question!) Ceil

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