A Few of My Favorite Things--Notions

Here are a few of my favorite things, as in notions, for embroidery.

Thread Stand

I always use a thread stand. I'm fortunate enough that the machines I currently own have built-in thread stands that are vertical as well as the horizontal. I have a couple of these by my machines in case I need them (like when I'm using a specialty thread). The little plastic ones have a tendency to tip over, so I prefer the heavy, metal kind that's weighted down. You can get them for around $10. Check it out here.

One thing I will warn you about with the vertical thread stands, especially those that are situated to the right side of your embroidery machine. If you switch to use the machine’s horizontal spool pin, avoid leaving the thread tail hanging down from the vertical thread stand while you're sewing. Thread could get wrapped around your hand wheel on your sewing or embroidery machine. You won't realize that you've got a big wad of thread building up in the hand wheel until your machine locks up. 


Serger Sponges

Another thing that I love are serger sponges. You put them on a vertical thread stand and you put your thread on top. They prevent the thread from puddling around the base. Otherwise, thread can get caught, lock up and you will have needle breaks.

Some of the more problematic threads are those that are on a tube where the thread winds off but there's no base to catch it. Serger sponges are perfect for those!

I even use serger sponges on my built-in vertical thread stands on my embroidery machines. I got mine here, but you can make your own by cutting a 3”-4” circle out of ¼” foam and adding a hole in the center.

Makeup Brush

One of my other favorite things is a makeup brush. I never have been a huge fan of the teeny, tiny little brushes that you get with your embroidery machines. If you get a nice makeup brush, you can swish it around in your bobbin case area and you'll get all the dust and lint out of there lickety-split. I have one by each machine.

Micro Tweezers

Another one of my favorite tools are micro tipped tweezers. Now I know we all have tweezers in the sewing room but I think it was Cindy Losekamp who recommended getting the micro tip tweezers one year at a conference. I got them and I love them because they can get tiny little threads lifted so much more easily than the regular tweezers. Check them out here.

1” x 6” Ruler

The other thing that I reach for all the time is this little Omnigrid 1" x 6" ruler. When I bought it, I thought it might be kind of nice to have but I did not realize how much I would enjoy having this by my machine. I have one by both machines, I use them that much.

If I'm sewing I'll double check my quarter-inch seam allowance. I use it to draw a straight line in my hoop if I'm doing a placement or I'll reach for it if I just to measure a little something without bringing out a big ruler, so these are really very handy. Check them out here.



HavelSewing.com has several pair of scissors I adore. One is Snip-Eze. They are easy to grab and are great for cutting threads.


The double curved scissors are also great for cutting threads and they really can get up close to those little hard-to-reach areas. They also have a deeper bend. You might have a little jump stitch between two eyeballs or text and you can get nice and close with these. 

For applique scissors, I choose Gingher. They are great for cutting fabric on appliques. I really love them.

Gingher also carries a small, 4" curved scissor with large handle. They do a really good job of getting the little tiny threads or jumps that you need to trim in embroidery. They also have larger finger holes. The other thing is that they are strong enough to cut GlitterFlex, so I could use one pair of scissors instead of two.

Steady Betty


Another one of my little tools that I just can't live without is my Steady Betty. It is an ironing surface that's very hard. It was originally created for quilters because when you put your fabric on the Steady Betty it doesn't slip. That allows you to press a bias area without it stretching out of shape.

I like it because I use it to fuse my GlitterFlex in the hoop and I can use it for regular sewing too. Check it out here.

Stencil Cutter

I use a stencil cutter frequently with in-the-hoop designs, like the Nativity Candles. They are really great for cutting water soluble stabilizer, chiffon, and organza. Even some cutaway stabilizers, the non-fusible mesh kind, cut well. Test it on a little scrap before using it on your project. Check it out here.


Heat Sealing Iron

Last, but not least, since I embroider with a lot of GlitterFlex I can't live without my little heat sealing iron. This is a Hangar 9, a sweet little iron that's around $20. You can use it to press open seams or apply fusible web but it works particularly well with heat transfer vinyl like GlitterFlex. Check it out here.

Those are a few of my favorite things that I have to have when I'm embroidering. I have to have some good scissors, a good ironing surface, and a good way to clean out my machine periodically. Keep your dealers in mind with when you're trying to find things because they're really a good resource. See the full video here.

What are some of your favorite go-to notions that you can’t do without? Share yours in the comments below.

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  • Bonnie Welsh - August 14, 2018

    Sandra—Very clever! I love to use a tiny crochet hook too. =)

  • SANDRA CUNNINGHAM - August 14, 2018

    I found a small metal rod with eyes on each end. I use it to thread serger tails into the serged seam. A crochet hook works great to turn corners, pull a thread loop so it doesn’t tangle, and crochet a small thread loop to hook around a neck button.

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