Sewing can be expensive at times. What with the fabric and the thread and the notions, it can all start to add up. It’s tempting to look for less expensive options but when it comes to things like thread, needles, and bobbins, buying cheap ones can often lead to frustration. Bargain sewing supplies can lead to lower quality sewing projects!
So, how do you save money on sewing supplies? Well, one way is to look ways to economize wherever you can without sacrificing quality. We’ve got a great list here of sewing supplies you can find at the dollar store. Many of these aren’t necessarily traditional sewing notions, but they can still be very helpful in your sewing room. Just wait until you see all of these amazing ideas!
Sewing Supplies You Can Find at the Dollar Store
You can use this to mark your fabric in place of chalk. It washes out much easier than chalk and will do a great job on darker colored fabrics. Be sure to test on a small piece of fabric first, especially if using a specialty fabric.
Salt and vinegar –
Mix equal parts of salt and vinegar together. Heat up and using a rag, rub the plate of your iron with it to remove any dirt and residue. Finish up with a clean rag and plain water.
Bobby pins –
These can be used in place of pins to hold pleats in place.
The small binder clips you can find in the office supply section of the store are a great substitute for pins when hemming or joining a seam. Clothes pins work for this too.
Gardening gloves –
These are great for helping to guide fabric (especially slick fabrics like satin) through your sewing machine. They can also be really helpful when hand sewing through thick fabrics as they help you get a better grip on the needle.
Paint palette –
This is a fantastic way to sort out small notions like sequins or beads. It keeps them handy for you as you are attaching them to your sewing project.
Foam board –
Use this to make a handy hemming guide (see our post on Sewing a Hem that is Perfect Every Time for more details) or to create pattern or quilting templates.
You aren’t likely to find really good high-quality sewing scissors at the dollar store but we’ve found small ones perfect for clipping threads there. They often have seam rippers as well.
Freezer paper –
Want to use a sewing pattern again and again? Iron some freezer paper onto it to make it sturdier. The bonus with this is that the pattern pieces won’t slide around as much on the fabric because of the freezer paper.
Flannel back plastic tablecloth –
If you’re a quilter, this is really going to come in handy. Hang it on your wall with the plastic touching the wall. The flannel side is perfect for creating a design wall that most fabrics will stick to.
Shelf liner –
You know the rubbery kind of shelf liner? It’s meant to keep dishes and glasses from sliding around and it’s perfect for keeping your sewing machine foot pedal in place too!
Paint or makeup brushes –
Any type of small brushes are really great for cleaning lint out of your sewing machine!
Masking tape –
Use this to mark a seam allowance on your sewing machine. If you need a better guide, you can even stack the masking tape up in multiple layers to create an edge that will keep your fabric in place as you sew.
Rubber bands –
This is another great way to mark seam allowance on your machine. Simply wrap it around! Use a rubber band around two pencils with something like an eraser or other small item in between and you’ve got the perfect tool for marking seam lines or allowances on your fabric.
Lint brush –
Perfect for picking up dust and stray threads from around your machine, on your ironing board, your sewing table, and more, you’ll find a lint brush is the perfect addition to your sewing room.
We find toothpicks really helpful when it comes to sewing on buttons! Use them to keep a little space between the button and the fabric so they aren’t sewn on too tightly.
Clear nail polish –
Use this along the edge to keep your fabric from fraying. You can also apply a dab over your button threads to hold them in place even better.
Give the end of your thread a tiny spritz of hairspray to make it easier to thread your needle.
Aluminum foil –
Cut through a few layers of foil to sharpen your scissors. You can poke through it with your seam ripper to sharpen it too.
Coffee mug –
If you buy those larger cones of thread that won’t fit properly on your spool holder, you can pop them into a coffee mug. It will hold the cone of thread in place and keep it from rolling all over the place!
Metal nuts and washers –
These make great pattern weights!
Plastic bags –
Find these in the kitchen section of the store and use the thin ones with thicker fabrics to help guide them smoothly through your sewing machine. The larger ones are a great way to store your sewing machine fabric pieces so you don’t lose any. Grab a plastic bin while you’re at the dollar store and stand these bags of sewing patterns in the bin to store them. They’re neat, organized, and easy to flip through so you can find the ones you want.
Cuticle sticks or bamboo skewers –
These are ideal for poking out corners in your sewing projects.
Flexible cutting mats –
These are made of a flexible plastic that is ideal for creating templates for quilting patterns.
First aid tape –
Because this kind of tape is slightly textured, you can add some to the back of your ruler and it will keep them from sliding around on your fabric. You can also use this in place of the masking tape for marking seam allowance on your machine but it is sometimes a little harder to remove and may leave behind a residue.
Toe separators –
Yes. We are talking about the ones you use when giving yourself a pedicure. Would you believe that most of them will hold sewing bobbins in them perfectly? It’s a great way to keep them organized.
Magnets and a small plate or saucer –
Glue the magnets to the bottom of the plate and you’ve got a handy dandy magnetic needle and pin keeper!
Plastic bins, caddies, boxes, and other storage containers –
Of course, as with anywhere else in your home, these can really come in handy when it comes to keeping your sewing supplies neat and tidy and easy to find. Pick yourself up a permanent marker and some labels at the dollar store so you can mark what’s in them. Don’t forget to look for non-traditional items (bowls, hanging produce baskets, and so on) too!
Next time you take a walk through your local dollar store, put on your sewist hat and look at the items there with new eyes. You’re bound to find all kinds of things you can use to make your sewing easier and more organized!