a shop with buttons, needles etc.

Horrid Henry

Member
polski
Hello,
does the English language have a word for a shop with sewing stuff, like needles, threads, buttons, fabrics and the like?

Thanks in advance,
HH
 
  • JustKate

    Senior Member
    It's usually just called a fabric shop or sewing shop. The word for all the other stuff that goes along with sewing - buttons, zippers, thread, etc. - is, oddly, notions, and you'll sometimes see that word incorporated in a shop's name, too.
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    In the UK the usual word is a haberdashery

    Haberdashery is not a commonly used word, and where it is used may change the definition. In the UK, a modern haberdashery usually sells needed items like buttons, thread, or ribbons, and on occasion, a store specializes in selling window draperies. In the US, people use the term to refer to men’s clothing stores or men’s departments in stores that sell accessories like gloves, ties, watches, and hats. This is more often called a men’s accessory department, and many in the US are unfamiliar with the term.
    Article What is a haberdshery - wisegeek.com

    http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-haberdashery.htm

    Given that the article suggests the word is not common I wonder what others think. It just seems a normal word to me.

    (cross posted)
     
    Last edited:

    Hau Ruck

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    In the UK the usual word is a haberdashery

    Haberdashery is not a commonly used word, and where it is used may change the definition. In the UK, a modern haberdashery usually sells needed items like buttons, thread, or ribbons, and on occasion, a store specializes in selling window draperies. In the US, people use the term to refer to men’s clothing stores or men’s departments in stores that sell accessories like gloves, ties, watches, and hats. This is more often called a men’s accessory department, and many in the US are unfamiliar with the term.
    Article What is a haberdshery - wisegeek.com

    http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-haberdashery.htm

    Given that the article suggests the word is not common I wonder what others think. It just seems a normal word to me.

    (cross posted)

    Really? This surprises me. One of my favorite UK shows was Are You Being Served. They referred to the haberdashery as the department where men's clothing could be purchased.
     

    Bevj

    Allegra Moderata (Sp/Eng, Cat)
    English (U.K.)
    I agree with Biffo, if 'haberdashery' has to do with mens' clothing, it must be an American usage because I only know it to mean sewing and dressmaking 'notions'.
    I'm sure that the word is old-fashioned these days but I can't offer an alternative; 'sewing shop' maybe.

    It's many a year since I watched 'Are You Being Served' but I must admit I only remember the menswear and ladies' wear departments.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    It's many a year since I watched 'Are You Being Served' but I must admit I only remember the menswear and ladies' wear departments.
    The opening theme mentions it:
    Ground floor perfumery,
    stationery and leather goods,
    wigs and haberdashery
    kitchenware and food...going up
    ... but the clothing departments are on the first floor, not the ground floor.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I agree with all the other BrE-speakers. Haberdashery/Haberdasher's means, to me, a shop or department within a store which sells needles, thread etc.

    If people have understood 'haberdashery' in the context of Are You being Served? as 'menswear department', then they're mistaken, I'm afraid...:cool:
     
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    JustKate

    Senior Member
    Fascinating. I checked the Online Etymology Dictionary, and under haberdasher, it says the meaning of "seller of various small articles of trade" (plus "a kind of fabric"?) dates from the early 14th century. It's meant "seller of men's clothing" in AmE since at least 1887, which was, until a few minutes ago, the only meaning I knew it had. It is associated in my mind primarily with hats, but I wouldn't be surprised to see other items of male adornment sold there. I would be surprised to see buttons, thread and needles in one, though!
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Fascinating. I checked the Online Etymology Dictionary, and under haberdasher, it says the meaning of "seller of various small articles of trade" (plus "a kind of fabric"?) dates from the early 14th century. It's meant "seller of men's clothing" in AmE since at least 1887, which was, until a few minutes ago, the only meaning I knew it had. It is associated in my mind primarily with hats, but I wouldn't be surprised to see other items of male adornment sold there. I would be surprised to see buttons, thread and needles in one, though!
    It's starting to get off topic but in BE someone who makes/sells hats is a milliner.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Fascinating. I checked the Online Etymology Dictionary, and under haberdasher, it says the meaning of "seller of various small articles of trade" (plus "a kind of fabric"?) dates from the early 14th century. It's meant "seller of men's clothing" in AmE since at least 1887, which was, until a few minutes ago, the only meaning I knew it had. It is associated in my mind primarily with hats, but I wouldn't be surprised to see other items of male adornment sold there. I would be surprised to see buttons, thread and needles in one, though!
    This is interesting, Kate:). I checked the OED, which says:
    a. Formerly, a dealer in a variety of articles now dealt with by other trades, including caps, and probably hats: see quots.In the course of the 16th c. the trade seems to have been split into two; see following senses.

    It looks as though BrE has moved on, whereas AmE has retained the original sense.

    We've come across that so often here!
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Just to compound the confusion, take a look at the Wikipedia entry on notions.

    In sewing and haberdashery, notions is the collective term for a variety of small objects or accessories. Notions can include items that are sewn or otherwise attached to a finished article, such as buttons, snaps, and collar stays, but the term also includes small tools used in sewing, such as thread, pins, marking pens, and seam rippers. The noun is almost always used in the plural.[1]The term is chiefly found in the United States, and was formerly used in the construction Yankee notions.[2][3][4]

    As for "haberdashery" in this context, I am completely gobsmacked, but defer to the BE crowd.:)
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Here is a related previous thread: Notions vs. fabric store.

    It confirms JustKate's suggestion of "notion store" in post #2. That is what I would call it, though there are few such stores these days. For most part, merchants who specialize in notions, are selling to clothing manufacturers. Home-sewers buy their notions in fabric stores or in craft stores that sell supplies for a broad range of crafts.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Which all goes to show ... you need to know your audience, Horrid Henry!:D "Notion(s) store" would be impenetrable to speakers of BrE, as the thread Cagey links to suggests....
     

    Horrid Henry

    Member
    polski
    Thanks for an interesting discussion :) BTW, what about British haberdasheries? Are they a popular type of shop, or do they, like their American counterparts, sell mainly to clothing manufacturers (see last post by Cagey)?
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    Thanks for an interesting discussion :) BTW, what about British haberdasheries? Are they a popular type of shop, or do they, like their American counterparts, sell mainly to clothing manufacturers (see last post by Cagey)?
    Just to clarify: Stores that sell notions and nothing but notions are indeed rare and most of them sell to manufacturers. There are still plenty of stores that sell fabric and notions to regular consumers. It's just the specialty notions stores that are pretty rare.
     
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