Ahh…summer. It’s a time of days at the beach, lazy vacations, concerts at the park, and outdoor BBQs. With all this time outside, your sewing time is guaranteed to go down, right? Never. Hexagons are the perfect accompaniment to slow summer days spent out of the sewing room. With just a few items, you can pack a travel sewing kit and have your hexies (or your favorite paper piecing project) with you anytime.
Here are my key essentials in my travel sewing kit:
- pre-cut fabric
- it’s a bit tough to tote around a rotary cutter and mat, so I always cut my fabric at home. While I used to do this by hand, I recently bought the Brother Scan & Cut, and – WOW!!! Not only does it cut the hexagons from cardstock, but with the press of a button, it adds 1/4″ allowance and cuts the fabric, too. What once took hours to cut now takes just minutes.
- glue pen
- when it comes to basting, I much prefer glue basting as opposed to thread basting. The glue basting is a faster process, both up front and when removing the papers. There are no threads to cut or extra stitches to sew. I’ve also had projects that have passed the 2+ year mark, and the glue basting is still holding up strong.
- tiny scissors
- seam ripper
- extra hand quilting needles
- needle carrying case
- paper for piecing
I also *often* rely on my portable design wall. While this isn’t an item that travels with me unless I’m working on a fussy project or have a bit more space to work in, it’s a great tool for transporting blocks to and from meetings and retreats. I’ve been making blocks for the Farmer’s Wife QAL for a while now, and it’s so easy to cut a block and save the pieces in their final arrangement until it’s time to sew. An added bonus is that it saves space at home, too.
When it comes to these items, I always have two sets – one for my home studio, and one that stays in the paper piecing bag. Seriously, don’traid your travel kit when you need supplies. It may be a great idea now to grab those scissors out of your bag as you sit at your sewing machine, but it’d be a real bummer tomorrow when you find yourself on the go with your bag and no scissors inside. Been there, done that.
Your suggestions on other items you include in your travel kit are wonderful!
- beeswax thread conditioner
- Thread Heaven protectant
- both blunt-nose and needle-tip scissors
- chalk pencil
- straight pins (some as small as 1/2″)
- sandpaper board
- needle threader
- bobbin box with assorted threads
What do you keep in your travel sewing kit? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll update our list.
Don’t forget to pin this post so you’ll have it for your next trip – and tag your photos with #travelinghexies to show us where your paper piecing goes!
Just for fun – this post links up at some of these great sewing, quilting, and Catholic linky parties!
The only trouble with my carrying case is that I go “borrow” from it when I can’t find the duplicate item around the house. A slightly larger pouch holds a square to be appliqued(since I never got into hexies) and the pieces either already basted or in a ziploc bag.
Claire, I agree! I “borrowed” from it the other day (a seam ripper) and still haven’t put it back. A larger pouch is perfect for larger items – especially since you applique.
This is the same problem I have with mine! I also tend to have several travel projects and tend to always want the supplies that are in the bag that I don’t have.
Colleen – how fun to have multiple projects! I need to change mine up as I’m tired of working on the same one. My red hexagons are getting old 😉
I like this and will have to do it. I just never thought to use glue instead of thread basting. Will the glue work for 1/4 hexies because I didn’t like the process. Keep up the great work! L
Hi Lindi – I’ve done various size hexies and never had an issue with the glue. I *so* prefer the glue to the thread basting – it’s crazy fast, doesn’t ruin the hexies, and washes clean. Let me know how it goes!
Lorinda Davis says
I love the tip about not raiding your travel kit when you can’t find something! I have done that and regretted it later.
Resisting the need is a challenge! I’m way better at do-as-I-say and not do-as-I-do as I definitely raid mine from time to time.
Love your kit!! I always have my English paper piecing with me to hand sew any where I go!! I have kits in each car, purse or tote bag. I need to try the glue method. I baste mine.
I love that you have multiple kits! I tend to over stuff my bag (an old diaper tote) with at least two or three projects…I think your idea of multiple bags is the way to go.
Jen, I love these ideas. I do a lot of traveling with my sewing machine. But for quick trips to the doctor or other things that require sitting in waiting rooms I like to bring hand basing projects. Thanks for sharing.
Come join the party and post this on Snickerdoodle Sunday!
Thanks, Maria – I will definitely stop by Snickerdoodle Sunday! T
Just a few hints for the “borrowing” of scissors: First, find a great sale on the scissors of your choice. Second , buy those scissors. Third, label them as “sewing scissors.” Fourth, put the scissors everywhere you might need them. And, this is important, put peel and stick hooks in your sewing areas to hold the scissors, and train yourself to always hang them up.
I put peel and stick hooks on the end of my sewing machine, right under the hand wheel. I did not use the “pull and release” ones, because I knew I wouldn’t want to take it off and the others were much less expensive. My hooks hold two pairs of scissors and so I hung two pair on my machine.
I hope you laugh a little at all of the steps!
Do not skip the third step even if you live alone. I have a friend who walked into her sewing area to see a guest using her sewing scissors for cutting out coupons!
Torry – these are great tips! I had to laugh – I just had a *clear* discussion with my husband the other day that fabric scissors were not to be used as a quick replacement for a box cutter. Labels are on the way 🙂
Rebecca Grace says
I need to come up with a better traveling sewing kit. I’m working on a needleturn applique project so I have two different scissors (sharp tips and blunt tips), two spools of silk thread, a needle book, but also my retractable Bohin chalk pencil, a sandpaper board and templates for positioning applique pieces and pinning them in place, and a precarious little box of 1/2″ applique pins (it’s only a matter of time before I dump those all over the floor at the doctor’s office!). Also my Thread Heaven and my little stick-on leather thimble dots. My problem is that the bag I’m using doesn’t have the right size/shape compartments for the things I need with me when I’m sewing on the go.
Rebecca, I’d love to see how your needleturn applique turns out…I haven’t tried that yet though think it’s a beautiful technique. Wow – 1/2″ pins! That’s so tiny!
Vicki Richardson says
I keep a small container of wax for thread conditioning. I will either use real bees wax and melt it down and pour in a small container, or Clover has mini wax wheels that come like 5 to a package. Lastly I use my side winder and fill bobbins with thread, this allows me to bring more with me of different colors. Oh and a needle threader too. LOL I better stop before your travel size is suitcase size.
Vicki – no wonder women have such large purses 🙂 I’ve never conditioned my thread before…though I have heard of others doing that. What are some of the benefits?
Vicki Richardson says
The biggest thing is tangling. You run your thread over Heaven in a box, Bee’s wax, or the was in commercial wheels, and the thread just glides through your fabric. It also helps with fraying. Hope that helps.
Taylor Bishop says
I just wanted to thank you for going over what you do when traveling with quilting and sewing supplies. I hadn’t considered having the fabric pre-cut at home, but I can definitely see the benefits of this. I wouldn’t mind knowing if you keep the fabric all in one place or if you separate and organize them when traveling.
I actually keep them all together in the same bag; it hasn’t been a problem for me.
Hi Taylor, I keep the fabrics all together in the same organizer. I don’t carry a ton, though, so they all fit comfortably.
Hi, I like to use press and seal wrap while traveling. It keeps pieces and templates/rulers all together. Hope this helps and enjoy your travels.
Vicki, that’s a great idea!