Can I Bring Sewing Needles on a Plane?
Are sewing needles allowed in carry-on luggage? How about other sewing supplies? Find out here!
If you're a sewist who is planning on getting on an airplane in the near future, you may have the question: Can I Bring Sewing Needles on a Plane?
The answer is yes with a "but" as there are some TSA rules about sewing needles that aren't as straightforward.
Long plane rides go so much faster when there's something to do. That's why we love the idea of taking our latest sewing project with us.
On this page, we'll answer whether or not sewing needles are allowed on airplanes and explain the details of why or why not you can take needles on planes.
Along with that, we are answering other related questions about other sewing notions and tools, such as scissors and cross-stitch.
Take a look at this page for your one-stop 2023 guide on TSA rules for sewing materials.
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Table of Contents
Can you bring sewing needles on airplanes?
Yes, you can take sewing needles on planes. TSA sewing needles guidelines also include a few similar supplies. According to the Transportation Security Administration's website,
Carry On Bags: Yes
Checked Bags: Yes
It also states, "In general, you may place your knitting needles and needlepoint tools in carry-on or checked baggage."
However, it also states, "The final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint."
Because of this caveat, we thought we'd ask our AllFreeSewing Facebook readers if they have had any issues recently with bringing sewing items on a plane. We asked, "Have you ever taken sewing supplies on airplanes? How did it go?"
Here are some of their answers:
"I once had a crochet hook taken! My young kids were with me so I didn't argue but it did stink. I only ever use nail clippers in my kit, and have had no problem with the dull needle for embroidery (always in a case with the project).
On a somewhat related note, scissors are bad for jury duty too; courthouses are at least as serious about what they consider weapons." - Jennifer
"I have taken both embroidery needles and smaller, sharper needles. I keep them in a small tin labeled "sewing kit" and they are all secured in a piece of fabric. So far, so good." - Chris
Read all of the responses here.
Can you bring scissors on a plane?
Yes, you can take scissors on planes, though there are restrictions. According to the Transportation Security Administration's website,
Carry On Bags: Yes (Special Instructions - see below)
Checked Bags: Yes
They state, "If packed in carry-on, they must be less than 4 inches from the pivot point."
Along with this: "Any sharp objects in checked bags should be sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury to baggage handlers and inspectors."
Are thread cutters allowed on planes?
TSA says, "Circular thread cutters or any other cutter or needlepoint tools that contain blades must be placed in checked baggage. You are permitted to keep scissors smaller than 4 inches in your carry-on baggage."
However, we have heard from several crafters that certain thread cutters are allowed through, such as the Clover Thread Cutter, which can be worn as a necklace as you sew (remove it for security), can be taken as a carry-on.
Lindsay, a fan of our AllFreeSewing Facebook page says, "I've brought cross stitch and needlepoint on planes with no issues. However I tend to bring this thread cutter with me instead of scissors just to avoid hassle."
The image of the thread cutter below is courtesy of Lindsay.
Once again, the final decision is made by the TSA officer checking your items. Here are a few of the other comments from our Facebook audience about taking scissors on airplanes:
"I take an old dental floss container. You can put in needles a bobbin with thread on it and you can use the cutter on it to cut thread. If I take scissors it's usually a pair of cuticle scissors." - Becky
"I very nearly got arrested for forgetting I had a tiny sewing kit in my handbag - complete with a pair of 1 1/2" scissors so dull they wouldn't cut butter. Believe me, I empty my purse out the day before any flight and get rid of anything that looks the least bit sharp." - Terri
"Yes I have taken Pins, Fiskars Scissors, stork embroidery scissors and rotary cutters. The Fiskar scissors once in a while get pulled out by TSA to get their metal blades measured and they pass if they are under 4 inches. I never take my super expensive scissors just to be safe. Never had a problem with rotary cutter or pins." - Bobbi
"Took a tiny pair of scissors with my knitting. Maybe 1" blade...wrapped packing tape around the blades. The TSA agent couldn't remove the tape. He threw them away anyway...." - Cindy
Read all of the responses here.
What other sewing supplies or crafts can I bring on a plane?
Since there are a lot of "questionable" crafting supplies, we looked up some other supplies to see whether or not they would be allowed:
Are sewing machines allowed on planes? Yes - both as a carry-on and in checked bags.
Karole, an AllFreeSewing Facebook fan had this to say about bringing a machine through security:
"I brought my late Mom’s serger as a carry-on. Wrapped the blade with black electrical tape, folded it down and removed the needles. Put it in a small wheeled suitcase, told the security person what it was and that I had taken the needles out. Went right through X-ray, no problem. Of course, it was 5:00 am and I was the only person in line so that might have helped."
Can you bring a seam ripper on a plane? Yes - both in a carry-on and in checked bags (according to TSA on Twitter).
Can you take cross-stitch on a plane? Yes - both in a carry-on and in checked bags.
Can you bring crochet hooks/needles on a plane? Yes - read this guide from our friends at AllFreeCrochet to learn more: Can I Take a Crochet Hook on a Plane?
Are knitting needles allowed on airplanes? Yes - both in a carry-on and in checked bags. Related: Does Southwest airlines allow knitting needles? Yes - both in a carry-on and in checked bags.
Can you bring metal nail files on planes? Yes - both in a carry-on and in checked bags.
Can you bring spray starch on planes? No - not allowed in carry-ons or in checked bags.
Are staplers allowed on planes? Yes - both in a carry-on and in checked bags.
Can I bring stick pins on airplanes? Yes - both in a carry-on and in checked bags.
Are tape measures allowed on planes? Yes - both in a carry-on and in checked bags.
Are nail clippers allowed on airplanes? Yes - both in a carry-on and in checked bags.
Are pocket knives or razor-type blades allowed on planes? No/Yes - not allowed in carry-on bags but are allowed in checked bags.
Can I bring safety pins on planes? Yes - both in a carry-on and in checked bags. However, Sarah from Sadie Seasongoods shared a humorous story about taking a safety pin through security:
"Years ago, I had attached a large safety pin to the zipper of my purse to make it easier to pull open and closed. I had completely forgotten about it, and put my purse on the conveyor belt in the security line at the Buffalo, NY airport. I was pulled aside and told that they would be confiscating my safety pin and that "my name would be going on a list". To this day, I have no idea if TSA was intimidating me or if, in fact, my name is on a list for a safety pin."
Are pens and pencils allowed on airplanes? Yes - both in a carry-on and in checked bags.
While we've answered the popular crafter's question, Can I bring sewing needles on a plane?, that doesn't mean rules can't change. Of course, remember that as with anything in a carry-on, it can still be taken away. Always check your valuables or leave them at home when traveling!
Overview: Most of our readers have had no issues with bringing sewing needles on planes. It seems like it is rarely an issue if traveling in the U.S. but can be if traveling outside of the U.S. Most readers still suggest putting your nicer needles in a checked bag and inexpensive in a carry-on just in case TSA takes it away.
In addition to the TSA sewing needles rules we've shared, if you are curious about what else is allowed on planes, check out TSA's "What Can I Bring?" page to help you avoid issues once you're in the security line.
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Have you ever had trouble flying with sewing needles?
Let us know in the comment section!
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