What generic word/phrase can I use for materials like zipper, buttons, threads and needles, etc which are used in making clothes?

I want to use this word to describe a shop which sells these things.


Haberdasher is what you are looking for.

From Chambers,

"A seller of small sewing articles, such as ribbons, tape, etc"

"A men's outfitter (N American)"

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    This is the right word for the UK, but in the US, the second definition is the only one people know. I'd call such a store a "sewing shop". If it primarily sells cloth, but also sells these items, it'd be called a "fabric store". – Peter Shor May 26 '12 at 11:41
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    I agree that "fabric store" is the correct term in the US. Sometimes they are known as "fabric and craft stores." – Bill Lefurgy May 26 '12 at 12:21

In the U.S., zippers, ribbons, buttons, etc., can be found at a craft store, or at a fabric store.

A fabric store will sell other material for making clothing. You'll find the walls lined with bolts of cloth, and a section where you can buy sergers and sewing machines.

A craft store will sell little if any fabric, but will sell glues, paints, scrapbooking supplies, etc., along with the aforementioned items.

There are places where you can get all-of-the-above, all under one roof. If so, the business might bill itself as a fabric & craft store, like this major U.S. retailer.

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    Just to answer the entire first part of the question, which is lacking sorely from your response: The word for materials (zippers, buttons, etc.) that go into homemade clothing is notions. The pattern will list how much and what type of fabric you need and the quantity and type of notions you need so you can go to the fabric store and buy them. Source: Me, I make clothing and stuff – Jed Oliver May 26 '12 at 15:32
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    @Jed: Good points all around. Typo fixed. As to not giving a word for the materials, I guess I may have paid too much attention to the title of the question, and the last sentence of the question. But I don't think you'd want to call it a "notion" store ~ not too many would know what that means. I will think this over some more, and may amend my response. Thanks for the feedback. – J.R. May 26 '12 at 15:59
  • Have been in many such stores, and the above description is quite accurate. There is also "quilt store", which specializes in the fabrics and notions used to make patchwork quilts. – Hot Licks Oct 23 '15 at 8:45

Miscellaneous sewing items are often called notions or sundries.

  • If you ask for "sundries" in a US fabric store, (or, fabric shop) they probably won't know what you are asking for - we say "notions". – Oldbag Jul 5 '19 at 12:06

In UK English (also Australian and NZ), a shop like this is called a haberdashery (see http://www.thefreedictionary.com/haberdasher). Unfortunately, this means something else in North American English; I don't know a good answer for a shop like this in USA or Canada.


On the west coast of the US, there are a number of retailers known simply as fabric stores which sell all manner of accessories and devices related to making your own clothes at home. Including patterns, sewing-machine attachments, sewing needles, buttons, bolts of fabric, and whatever else you can think of. Businesses which make clothing to sell are called textile factories.


Draper or possibly mercer (antiquated)

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    Hello, Brock. You can turn this into a good ELU answer by adding an accredited link to a dictionary confirming your suggestion. It's certainly correct. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 4 '19 at 18:19

everything you would use to sew let's say a dress, pants or any other item is called notions. material is called material but everything else is called notions. i only know this because my late mother in law was one of the best seamstress in our area and everytime she had to go buy threads, zippers, buttons etc she would say i have to go buy some more material and notions. me not being a sewer asked her what the heck are notions and she told me. that's what they are called in the USA at least.

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    Hello, linda. Thanks for the answer, but as it's a repeat, it should only be used to support the original answer in a 'comment'. And we've all had to negotiate the 50-rep hurdle. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 11 '20 at 13:33

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