Keeping Your Notions At Hand


We quilters all want to have our notions at hand: scissors, seam ripper, tweezers, small ruler, etc. What are the options? We cover both purchased and homemade solutions.

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Keeping Your Notions At Hand

A quilting friend gave me this beautiful rocking chair that her husband had made for holding notions, so I know that its not an antique, but it sure is antique looking. Later, I found the little quilting frame at a yard sale for $.50 and thought they looked great together. However, they are so cute, I only use them for display.

Keeping Your Notions At Hand


There are some wonderful organizers for your sewing notions for purchase online. You can search on the term, “sew organized” and they will come up in your results. The prices vary and range from $6 to $17. The prices on identical items vary widely. It’s up to you to decide if you need these, but I will show you some ways that you can make your own organizers.


Here are some factors to consider: stability, accessibility, size, cost, and use of space.


Here are some factors to consider: stability, accessibility, size, cost, and use of space.


Let’s start with the least expensive – in fact, you can make it for almost free. Cut an egg carton in half and glue the two halves together. Cut holes in the top and puncture the bottom layer so that your marking tools, seam ripper, etc. can go through both layers. You can cover with fabric or spray paint if you want.



The next least expensive is also in the photo and is a toothbrush holder from a thrift store. This one I do use because it fits perfectly in the cup holder of my RV. I use this mostly for applique, so I place a small felt flower in one of the holes to have a spot for my small applique pins. There are now over 30 thousand members of the RV Quilters Facebook group, so we know that a lot of quilting takes place in an RV.


This small holder is made by placing a fitted slipcover over a 5x7 inch acrylic sign holder. A six pack of these stands can go for under $15, so this may be a perfect project for a bee or guild class. You can make the pockets whatever size you need. Pockets can also be placed on the flap on the back for additional storage.



After several years of using the denim holder next to my sewing machine, I decided I need a larger one. So, I started with a picture frame that had a table stand on the back. I did have to reinforce this table stand because of the weight of all the notions I stored. I glued a piece of shim wood from Hubby’s shop to the stand and used an adjustable tie to hold the stand to the frame.



Here’s what I did:

  • Measure for the basic slipcover – both front and back. Make sure to add an extra inch for the seams or finished edges.
  • Put pockets on the back flap and finish the edges before stitching the top seam.
  • Add front pockets. This slipcover has a large pocket for my 6.5-inch ruler and mat. Small pockets mounted on top of the large pocket.
  • Be sure to sew all pockets to one another from top down before you sew the side seams.
  • The net at the top is intended to hold small items such as bobbins, needle holders, etc. To save money, you can use the netting from vegetables from the grocery store. Tuck the ends of the netting in before sewing the side seams


    The back pocket holds a small ruler and spare rotary cutter blades. The long front pocket holds my rotary cutter. The stuffed cylinder along the bottom is for pins and the sides can hold clips anywhere.


    So far, it works as intended. Oh, did I mention – if the frame has acrylic “glass”, you can leave it in for extra stability, but if the glass is glass, take it out of the picture frame before you start! It will be a race to see if you or the cat knock it off the table first!


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    Attaching individual pieces of fabric to a background to form a design.

    Same As: Appliqué

    See Also: Freezer Paper Applique, Needleturn Applique, Machine Applique, Reverse Applique, Shadow Applique
    Four strips of wood that supports the layers for quilting.
    Marking Tools
    Any item that can be used to mark a quilt for quilting. May include pencils, markers, chalk or specialty products.
    Small sewing supplies such as pins, scissors, rulers, seam ripper, and so on.
    Quilting Frame
    A large free-standing floor apparatus made from wood or plastic pipe that holds the layers of a quilt together during quilting.
    Rotary Cutter
    A very sharp tool that looks like a pizza wheel which is capable of cutting through multiple layers of fabric.
    A heavy plastic measuring guide that can come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
    Debi Warner
    Author and humorist, Debi Warner, retired after many years as a clinical librarian and information specialist. She has her Master’s in Library and Information Science and achieved a Distinguished level in the Medical Library Association’s Association of Health Information Professionals. She has worked on teaching physicians to use computers and electronic resources. She also worked on several grants teaching the public how to use the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus public database and is co-author of several articles on health literacy. She took up quilting after retirement in 2012 and chaired the Rio Grande Valley Quilt Show in 2019. She currently teaches several quilting classes over Zoom and writes for QuiltingHub.
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