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How to Use a Sewing Kit

Do you have a travel sewing kit or a mini sewing kit and are wondering what's included and how to use everything? Let's open one and find out!

Updated January 08, 2021
How to Use a Sewing Kit

Whether you sew or not, you've probably seen a basic sewing kit or travel sewing kit somewhere. Most people even have a small travel sewing kit sitting around the house.

These boxes don’t have the fanciest supplies inside, but they will definitely do in a pinch. They can be purchased fully-stocked, or even put together yourself.

Whether you need to repair a button that’s come loose or temporarily stitch up a ripped hem, mini sewing kits can often save the day!

Learn all about sewing kits with this guide: what's included, how to use a sewing kit, along with a few ways to make the most of your travel sewing box for years to come. 

Check What’s Already Included in Your Sewing Kit

Doing a short inventory of the contents will help you know what’s included in the sewing box when you finally need it. 

Mine came stocked with:
 - tiny scissors
 - safety pins
 - a few straight pins
 - measuring tape
 - sewing needles
 - needle threader tool
 - small spools of thread in various colors
 - thimble
 - small buttons
 - snaps

Some are tiny and only include some needles and thread for basic repairs. If you're looking to purchase one, make sure it includes what you use the most before purchasing.

Restock the Basic Items in Your Mini Sewing Kit

If basic supplies are running low in your sewing kit, restock them so it’s all ready for the next use. Items like thread, hand-sewing needles, and scissors are all necessary materials to have in a travel sewing box.

This is a great way to use up remnants of larger spools of thread! Just wrap the thread around an empty small spool, paper card, or even a bobbin (which is the perfect size). Basic colors like black, white, blue, and red are always useful in a travel sewing kit.

Include Other Essentials in Your Sewing Kit

Besides what already comes in the sewing kit (thread, needles, thimble, etc.), think about other essential items that you could add. For instance, a seam ripper can serve many functions and is relatively small so it would fit in most travel kits.

If your sewing box didn’t come with straight pins, include some pinned onto a small piece of fabric or attached to a magnet.

Extra tip: You may want to even include a few adhesive bandages for any sewing-related first-aid needs that arise.

Remove What You Absolutely Won’t Use From Your Kit

Next, toss out any broken sewing supplies that aren’t fixable. Then, set aside the notions that you absolutely won’t use but don’t want to throw away.

I tend to never use a needle threader tool, so I might remove it to make more room for other (more useful to me) things. If there are spools of thread in colors you will never wear, replace them with colors you know you’ll need.

Make Do With What’s Available

Don’t be too picky when you are using this sewing kit. This is for travel (and fashion emergencies), so the quality won’t be exactly the same as you're used to for regular sewing.

The thread might not be very smooth or strong, the small scissors might be hard to use, and the sewing needles too small for your project or repair. But try to make do with what you have on hand- as I’m sure we are all used to doing as crafters and sewists!

Create a Custom Sewing Kit for Special Occasions

You may want to pack a sewing kit for a big day like a wedding. Ask the dress shop or seamstress for spare matching thread and buttons/clasps for emergency use at the event. A gown or suit will typically come with extra sewing notions, so they should be available for you to add to your homemade sewing kit.

Extra tip: If you plan to fly with your sewing kit, double-check with the airline to make sure your supplies are all allowed. Learn more with our Q&A page, Can I Bring Sewing Needles on a Plane?

How to Use Tools in a Sewing Kit

If you're a beginner or not sure how to use all the tools (notions) in a sewing kit, we have tutorials and information to help. Simply click on each link to read and learn more.

 - How to Sharpen Scissors
 - How to Pin Patterns/Fabric
 - How to Take Measurements
 - Types of Sewing Needles
 - How to Use a Needle Threader
 - Types of Thread
 - How to Use a Sewing Thimble
 - How to Use a Seam Ripper

 - How to Sew Buttons by Hand

Needle Threader

How to Make a Sewing Kit

Don't have a small sewing kit? No need to fret, you can easily make one! If you don't sew and aren't sure what you'll need, this is the bare minimum list of supplies:

  1. Sewing needle: small but with a large enough eye to easily get a piece of thread through.
     
  2. Sewing thread: if you are able to have more than one small spool of common colors, such as white and black, that would be helpful. If not, choose the color you think you'd use the most.
     
  3. Scissors: Made sure they are sharp enough to cut the thread easily. Folding scissors will allow you to keep the point secure and the size smaller when not in use.
If you sew and know what you use most often in addition to the three basics shared above, include those. Such as a needle threader, buttons, and pins.

Safety pins might not be needed when sewing, but they can offer a quicker temporary fix for garments and other damaged fabric pieces until you get home or take it in to be properly fixed. Since they are small, they are a great addition to any kit.

For your supply holder/container, you have a few options. Your supply kit can be an upcycled cookie tin container or even a pencil box that closes securely. Using a hard-shelled box for your kit will prevent any supplies from getting out. Old pill bottles also work well for a few small notions.

Even a small zipped bag or rolled fabric design with more flexibility might work for you. Check out the storage sections of stores or even your local thrift shop or a garage sale for small containers that might work.

You can even find tutorials to make part or all of a sewing kit. Some of our favorites include the Child's Sewing Kit, the DIY Travel Sewing Kit, and the Airplane Friendly Mini Sewing Kit. Plus, look at this adorable Storybook Needle Case from Nana Company.

Storybook Needle Case

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