How to Make an Emergency/Travel Sewing Kit


Yes, you are looking at an old fashioned camera film canister.  I have a huge box of things called the “may come in useful someday” box, and this is one of the items I re-discovered whilst sorting through said box.

As a side note, if you have one of these boxes, it is a good idea to sort and reassess the need for the items.  You have to be ruthless, otherwise instead of being useful, the items will become a pain in your already too busy life.

Back to the film canister.  Why, oh why keep this?  Well because they are useful – they are usually water tight, so great if you like outdoor sports and need to keep small items like spare camera batteries safe and dry, they are small, so fantastic for keeping even smaller things safe, such as beads, buttons and pins.

But my use for it today?  This is an essential device for all, doctors, cleaners, lawyers, shop assistants, parents, carers etc. An emergency sewing kit. By rooting around in your drawers and supply cupboard, find the following suggested items …

  1.  A scrap piece of felt material or canvas fabric (about 4 inches by 1.5 inches or 10cm by 4cm)
  2. a few quilters pins
  3. a few glass headed pins
  4. safety pins, various sizes
  5. 3 or 4 white shirt buttons
  6. plastic sewing thimble
  7. 4 general sewing needles
  8. thread in different colours
  9. a small piece of cardboard (about 1 inch by 0.5 inch or 2.5cm by 1.5cm)
  10. threader (optional)

OK so why 4 needles? Look at your wardrobe.  What are the 3 most common colours you wear on a day to day basis? In my case the 3 colours happen to be black, navy and white. When I’m out and about, these are the most likely colours I would be wearing should there be a wardrobe malfunction, such as a unravelled hem or a loose button. I suggest threading 3 of your needles with the 3 most common colours you wear and place them onto a piece of fabric as detailed above.  Having the needles pre loaded with thread also means you can start mending your clothes, or replacing a button straight away.

On the piece of fabric, add your glass headed pins.  The reason why I use glass headed pins is that they are far easier to see and pick up if you drop them. If you have to pin your repair work, they are easier to spot and you are less likely to leave them in, and cause yourself an injury.

Add a spare threader to the kit if you have one.  Useful if you have a very short time frame to do repairs, your fingers are not very nimble or your eye sight isn’t the best for threading the needles.

Quilters pins are great as they are long and easy to see.

On a small piece of card, wrap around thread with other colours which match the colour of the clothes you tend to wear.  The most popular colours are light blue, cream, brown, grey etc.  You can use the empty needle for this set of threads.

Save your fingers, and include a thimble.  It’s amazing how normally careful people repeatedly prick themselves when they are attempting a quick, emergency sewing repair.

Also consider adding a variety of safety pins, as they are extremely useful as a fastener when the little white buttons are not appropriate, or as a quick alternative to temporarily fix a hem.

These are just a few of my ideas about making up an sewing kit, do you have one? What did you put in yours?

I plan to post another tip using a business card box holder. Stay tuned for more information 🙂

Until next time.



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