Saturday, January 19, 2008

What' in my sewing kit?

When I did the cleaning of my sewing room the other day, I also cleaned and organized my sewing box. Today I was thinking about how nice it is to have a clean box....without all the snipped threads sticking to everything.

I've used various bags and boxes to keep my sewing kit in over the years. I have found that I like a rigid box best. I like for it to be seperate from the bag I carry my blocks, threads, and fabric in, and I like for it to be fairly small. Picky little somebody....aren't I??? I thought I would share a few pictures of my sewing box.

I found this neat, clear box in the makeup area of a local store. I thought it would be the perfect size.....and it has proven to be just that.

It is 7.5" wide, 4.5" deep, and 4.5" tall. That's a good size for me to carry along to the sewing groups I attend. As you can see, I keep several small containers inside this box.

I unpacked all of it just so you can see all what I can fit in it.

Now, let's take a look at the things I like to use as I work on my stitching.

I carry 2 small pair of scissors. These are specifically geared toward my applique. I use the sharp pointed pair with extra large finger holes for clipping and very close trimming. The other pair I use when I am cutting a piece for applique out of a larger piece of fabric. This pair has one blunt tip and one sharp tip. I keep the sharp pointed tweezers because I had been told they were handy to have when doing applique, but guess what....the only time I have used them was to pick a splinter out of my friends finger. She couldn't get it out at home, so she asked for help when she got to group and I was able to help! They are so compact...I just leave them in there.

I do needleturn applique and most of the time my size 11 straw needle is the tool I use to turn under the seam allowances. Occassionally I will work with a stubborn fabric that does not want to turn under with the needle, so I use a dampened toothpick. You can see my toothpick with the gold button on top. It keeps the toothpick from rolling around and from getting lost. I learned that little trick from Linda Franz. I prefer toothpicks from Crackerbarrel restaurants because they very smooth and they have little ridges around the top that hold the button shank.

The little bright pink box in the photo above is a travel soap box I had here at home. It is the perfect size to keep my needles and pins.

I unpacked it so you can see what all I manage to fit in it. My favorite needle to use is a Jeana Kimball size 11 straw needle, but....I have other brands too. The little gray item laying just beside the pink box is a Clover needle cassette. I have a package of the Jeana Kimball needles in it and I use that at night when I have a little trouble seeing the eye of the needle to thread. That little thing will easily thread your needle. As I work, I do not glue or baste my applique pieces on my background. I simply use several applique pins. I also like Jeana Kimball's applique pins and those are in the little round box with the green label on top. I also have a box of Clover glass head quilting pins. I love those because they are thin and very sharp. All of that fits in the pink soap box!

To the front of these items are my marking tools. I'll mention them from the front to the back. The white item at the bottom is my herra marker. I use that to mark the crease on the edge of bias that I am going to finger press and stitch down for stems. The black item behind that is my Pentel Clic eraser. I use that to remove pencils marks on applique pieces that I don't quite get turned under with my needle. I also use it to remove visible pencils marks when I handquilt. The gold pencil behind my eraser is a Papermate Sharpwriter mechanical pencil. That is the marking tool I use to mark for handquilting. I use a very light touch and most of it comes out as I stitch. When it doesn't, I then use my Clic eraser. The lime green item is the mechanical pencil I use to mark around applique pieces before I cut them out. The red and black is also just another mechanical pencil for writing reminders and notes. Another marking tool I use when I am working with dark fabrics is a Verithin white marking pencil. I use that to mark both my applique pieces and to mark quilting lines for handquilting. I see I didn't have the white pencil in my box and I need to put it there now! Up by the needles you can also see my 2.5 inch square ruler. It's a compact size perfect for my little box.

I found these two little boxes for $0.50 at Michael's. I knew they would be useful. This is what I did with them.

One holds my thimbles and a sharpener for my pencils. I use different thimbles for different tasks. The thimble on the left is a Clover adjustable thimble. I like to use that one for hand piecing. The thimble in the center is a Roxanne thimble that I got for Christmas from my family several years ago. I like to use that one for all my handquilting. I do not use it if I go out of the house though as it was expensive and I wouldn't want to lose it. It stays safe inside the pretty little box! The thimble on the right is also one I use when I handquilt. I also use that one when I sew on buttons or hem something.

The other little box holds my wool pin cushion with applique pins and sharp quilting pins. There are also probably a few needles stuck in that one too. I like having a box with a lid so I an close it for travel. In between the two boxes is a little pin cushion I made. It is made from the cap of a liter water bottle. I just took a little fiberfil and stuffed it in a circle of fabric, wound some thread around it to close the circle. I then took some glue and put it around the inside of the cap and stuck the stuffed fabric circle in it. I've had that little cushion for about 4 yrs. now and that is where I like to put my needles with different color threads for the applique I am working with.

The metal box sitting off to the side is an Altoids tin. I have the berries for the center medallion of DD's quilt in that. I need to be sewing these on, but I'm having trouble getting motivated.

I am by no means endorsing the above products. I have just found that these are the products that work for me personally as I stitch.

If you read my post.....I would love to see what some of you use for your travel sewing kit and how you organize it.


Kristie said...

Wow! I am jealous! You are so organized. You have given me alot of ideas!

Darlene said...

I'm in awe and very, very impressed! I've seen those clear boxes at Walgreens and often wondered if they would work as a sewing kit. Well, it's obviously perfect. You are incredibly organized and have provided a wealth of great ideas. I love the pin cushion you made with the bottle cap - I need to make one of those. :-)

Wendy said...

You have a wonderful way to organize all your sewing notions to be ready for any time of stitching. My strategy is usually "grab and go" style, depending what I'm doing stitchery, appliqué etc. I love the pincushion with the lid, I might have to copy that one.

Barb said...

First may I say...I hope it is OK that I am commenting to your blog, I so enjoy your postings! You are very organized and I love your suggestions with the sewing kit! When I travel to classes or guild I ALWAYS TAKE TOO MUCH *STUFF* and end up not needing 50% of it LOL! When I do need an item it seems to have fallen to the bottom of my *bag*...I can see the box idea is MUCH BETTER!! Thank you again! Barb in PA

Norma said...

You are making nice progress on your de-clutter!

I read about your sewing kit and you have things in there that I know nothing about. Think I need to study this applique thing a little more. The kit is great, think I will be looking for one of those boxes.

Laura said...

Your quilt is so beautiful!!!! You do wonderful applique - I'm looking forward to checking out the rest of your blog! I have a "touch" :) of OCD so I love all of your organization!