I’m wrapping up talking about how to organize all your sewing stuff today talking about some sewing notions storage ideas.
Once upon a time, I used to have 1 box for all my notions. In it I crammed zippers, buttons, elastics, bias tape, snaps and likely the kitchen sink.
The usefulness of this situation lasted exactly 2.786 seconds. Every time I needed a zipper, I’d have to dump out everything and go fishing.
So over the years, I’ve discovered some ways to fight the sewing notions chaos. I’ll share ideas for storing buttons, zippers, snappy bits, and all the trims and ribbony type things that we use as sewists.
How to organize your button stash
Sewing notions storage idea #1: let’s fix your button stash.
It’s pretty hard not to love buttons. They’re so beautiful, but they get out of hand really quick. Think about how many times you’ve passed a jar of fantastic vintage buttons in an antique shop. I’ll bet it’s at least every time!
While those buttons look lovely on a shelf, if you want them to be actually useful, you’re going to have to divide and conquer.
As you’re sorting buttons, you’ve got two goals:
- separate buttons by color: so your eyes can find them fast
- keep the matching buttons together: So you don’t have to play Where’s Waldo when you’re making a shirtdress.
My favorite way to do both these things is with small jars.
First grab a collection of small jars. You can use about anything here. Small canning jars, jam jars, magnetic spice containers are all good choices. I love this idea from Better Homes and Gardens using a spice rack and jars.
Next dump out your button collection. Divide them into color families. Every jar = 1 color family.
If you find matching buttons, set them aside together.
To keep matching buttons together, cut a piece of embroidery floss. Thread it through all the buttons and tie a simple knot. From there, you can drop the matching sets back into your jar.
Old button cards are really nice for keeping sets together, but they can get bulky in jars. If you have some nice button cards, another option is pinning them on a pegboard or bulletin board.
It’s a T-Sweets Day also has a cute idea for keeping button sets together with safety pins.
How to organize your zippers without drowning in them
If you show me a box of zippers, you can safely come back a couple hours later. Inevitably, I’ll be there, finding the best ones.
But digging through a box of zippers is zero fun. They’re like quicksand. The second you think you find one, it gets buried by the 20 around it.
My approach to zippers is pretty similar to the buttons. First group them by color.
Second, find a way to hang them up. I use a shower curtain rod. One shower curtain ring = one color family. Use safety pins through the ends of the zips to group smaller sub color families or zipper types. From there, hang up the various safety pins on the curtain rings.
Other ideas for hanging zipper storage
- pinning zippers on a corkboard
- clip them to a hanger
- repurpose a jewelry display stand
Storage solutions for snaps, rivets, grommets and all their kind
The one sewing notions storage solution that you really need is for all of the snaps, grommets, rivets and anything else that you can sew-on or hammer on like that.
All of these notions have multiple pieces that go into them. Lose one part, you can’t use the whole thing.
Pearl snaps come to mind here: there are 4 separate pieces to 1 functional pearl snap!
The best way I’ve found to keep all the parts together is with small jewelry tackle boxes. These let you divide each of the parts into their own little compartment. That way it’s easy to quickly find all the components.
Rivets and grommets usually use their own special setting tools. Since they’re unique for the size and shape, I keep those tools with the size of grommet and rivet as well.
From there, any time I need to use my snaps, I can grab the hammer off my sewing room pegboard and I’m in business.
How to store ribbons, bias tape, and other trims
Trims are tough when it comes to sewing notions storage. It’s very easy for them to get all tangled up, and if they’re delicate enough, all those tangles might lead to them being ruined.
If you use a lot of ribbon, it’s best to keep them on the spools they came on. There’s a lot of great ribbon boxes out there that let you thread through the ends without getting tangled.
If your ribbon stash is smaller or you tend to make bias tape just for a project at a time, you’ll probably need a smaller solution.
Cut up strips of cardstock or cardboard and wrap your ribbon around it. I cut notches in each end to hold the ends. After that, you can store the little bolts in pen caddies or a drawer.
You can always add a pin in the end of a trim that gets sassy with you.
Elastic storage solutions
If you make a lot of pajama pants as I do with 4 kids, buying elastic in bulk is a thing.
I usually buy 10-50 yards at a time from Wawak. They’re nice enough that they give you a cardboard spool to keep your elastic intact without too much fuss. To keep the ends in order, put a pin in the end. When you need to use it, you can just roll it off the spool like ribbon.
If you use a lot of trims like this, Cheep Trims has a good price on a box of cardboard spools. They’re great not just for elastic but also for cords. I love having cotton cord on hand any time I want to make piping for a project.
You can hang several of these spools on horizontal racks for quick access. Something like this:
So those are some ways for you to get a handle on your sewing notions storage. Be sure to check out these other sewing room organization ideas!
Sewing room storage ideas
For reigning in your sewing tools
How to store fabric
No more black hole fabric storage solutions. Make your stash work for you.
Thread storage solutions
Make your thread storage pretty and functional!
Elizabeth Farr is the writer behind the Elizabeth Made This blog where she shares helpful sewing tips, step by step sewing tutorials and videos to help you explore your creativity through sewing. She has written sewing Eguides and patterns, been a featured teacher at Rebecca Page’s Sewing Summit and Jennifer Maker’s Holiday Maker Fest and her work has appeared in Seamwork and Altered Couture magazines. She also created a line of refashioned garments for SEWN Denver. When her sewing machine isn’t humming, she’s playing and teaching violin, and hanging around a good strategic board game with her husband and 4 kids.