Whether you’re heading off on vacation or traveling for work, there’s no reason to leave your passion for sewing behind. In fact, bringing along a well-stocked travel sewing kit can be a lifesaver for those unexpected wardrobe malfunctions, or simply a way to pass the time on long journeys.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “But, there are so many ready-made sewing kits out there. Why not just grab one of those?” Well, while they most definitely work for some people, I am not a fan. The quality of the tools can be hit or miss, and there is always something missing.

So, I’ve put together a list of must-haves for the ultimate travel sewing kit that’ll make you feel right at home, no matter where your adventures take you. Say goodbye to those one-size-fits-all sewing kits, and hello to your very own personalized sewing arsenal.

What to include in your sewing kit

1. Compact sewing machine

Let’s face it, we can’t lug around our full-sized sewing machines on our adventures, but we can bring a mini-me version! A portable sewing machine lets you fix, alter, or create anywhere you go. It’s all about convenience, and it doesn’t hurt that the mini sewing machines are so damn cute!

The Brother XM1010 portable sewing machine is a compact powerhouse. Weighing just 10.8 lbs it’s perfect for on-the-go sewing​1​. With 10 built-in stitches and a four-step auto-size buttonhole, it allows for diverse sewing tasks​1​. The machine features four sewing feet for various tasks, a brightly lit LED work area, and a jam-resistant Quick-set™ drop-in top bobbin system for ease of use​1​. It also includes a free arm for sewing cuffs and sleeves, and runs at a maximum speed of 750 stitches per minute​1​.

brother XM1010 sewing machine

2. Fabric scissors

The right fabric scissors make cutting a breeze, and that means no frayed edges or jagged cuts. Keep your projects looking top-notch even when you’re far from your sewing room.

Fiskars 8-inch RazorEdge Fabric Shears are a dream for any sewist. These high-quality scissors feature a specially designed blade that cleanly cuts through multiple layers of fabric with ease. The ergonomic handles provide a comfortable grip, reducing hand fatigue during extended cutting sessions. They also come with a protective sheath, which keeps the blades safe and sharp during travel.

fiskars fabric scissors

3. Thread

The unsung hero of sewing, thread is what keeps everything together. A few basic colors of quality thread will make your travel sewing kit ready for anything, allowing you to match your thread to various fabrics, ensuring a polished finish.

Gutermann Sew-All Thread is a versatile, all-purpose thread that works well with various fabrics and sewing techniques. Made from 100% polyester, it’s strong and durable, ensuring your stitches hold up to daily wear and tear. The thread is also colorfast, so it won’t fade or bleed during washing.

4. Needles

Like a Swiss Army knife for sewing, a variety of hand-sewing needles prepares you for any fabric encounter. Having a variety of needles in your sewing kit ensures you’re always prepared for any hand-sewing need, whether it’s embroidery, mending, or stitching delicate fabrics. This versatility is crucial when you’re away from your main sewing space.

Dritz Assorted Sharp Hand Needles offer a range of sizes and types to suit different fabrics and sewing tasks. The pack typically includes betweens, sharps, and embroidery needles, catering to a variety of hand-sewing needs. These high-quality needles are made from nickel-plated steel, providing strength and durability. The compact packaging makes it easy to keep them organized and accessible in your travel sewing kit.

5. Sewing pins

Pins are like the little elves that hold everything in place while you work your sewing magic. High-quality pins are your secret weapon for achieving professional results, even when you’re away from your trusty sewing nook.

Clover Glass Head Pins are an excellent choice for securing fabric pieces together while sewing. The glass heads are heat-resistant, meaning they won’t melt under the iron, and their bright colors make them easy to spot on your fabric. The sharp, smooth steel shafts glide effortlessly through fabric without snagging. The included storage case keeps the pins organized and prevents them from poking through your sewing bag.

glass head pins

6. Seam ripper

Everyone makes mistakes, but a seam ripper is like a time machine for sewing mistakes, such as uneven or misplaced stitches. Keep one in your travel kit to quickly fix any boo-boos, and nobody will ever know!

The Dritz Ergonomic Seam Ripper is a must-have tool for every sewist, as it allows for quick and easy stitch removal. Its curved blade is sharp enough to cut through stitches without damaging the fabric, while the ergonomic handle ensures a comfortable grip. The safety ball on the tip of the ripper prevents accidental fabric snags or cuts, making it an essential addition to your travel sewing kit.

seam ripper

7. Measuring tape

In the land of sewing, a measuring tape is like a trusty steed, carrying you to perfectly fitted garments and precise projects. Don’t venture into the wild without this essential tool. It’s important to have a measuring tape in your travel sewing kit to ensure proper fit and sizing for garments or to calculate seam allowances and hems in other projects.

The Singer 60-inch Retractable Tape Measure is a convenient and accurate measuring tool for all your sewing needs. Its flexible fiberglass construction prevents stretching, ensuring precise measurements every time. The retractable design keeps the tape neatly coiled inside the case when not in use, while the push-button mechanism makes it easy to extend and retract.

retractable tape measure

8. Small iron

A well-pressed seam or piece of fabric can make all the difference in the appearance of your sewing project. A mini iron keeps your seams and fabric looking runway-ready, no matter where your journey takes you.

The Steamfast SF-71o Mini Steam Iron is a great travel companion for sewists. Weighing just over a pound, it’s easy to pack and heats up quickly, with three temperature settings to accommodate different fabric types. The non-stick soleplate glides smoothly over fabric, while the steam function helps eliminate stubborn wrinkles. The dual voltage feature ensures compatibility with international power outlets, making it perfect for overseas trips.

steamfast iron

9. Mini ironing board

Who says you can’t iron on the go? A mini ironing board is like a portable, foldable sidekick that helps you achieve pressed perfection, even in the tiniest of spaces. It provides a stable surface for ironing when you’re on the go and takes up minimal space in your luggage.

APEXCHASER Foldable Ironing Board is a convenient solution for ironing small projects or quick touch-ups while traveling. Measuring 32 inches long and 12 inches wide, it provides a decent workspace without taking up too much room, plus it can be folded for saving space.

10. Thimble

A thimble is crucial for protecting your fingers while hand sewing, especially when working with tough fabrics or small, intricate stitches. It prevents needle pricks and injuries, allowing you to sew more comfortably and efficiently. Having a thimble in your travel sewing kit you can sew fearlessly, knowing your fingers are safe from needle pricks and injuries.

11. Thread snips

These little guys are the unsung heroes of neat, tidy sewing. They trim threads with precision and control, keeping your projects looking polished and professional, even on the go.

Choosing the right container for your travel sewing kit is important because it keeps everything organized, protected, and easily accessible. Here are a few options to consider:

  1. Zippered pouch: A zippered pouch is a simple yet effective way to keep your sewing tools together. Look for one with multiple compartments or pockets to keep everything organized. You can find pouches in various sizes, materials, and designs to suit your personal style and needs.
  2. Sewing case: A sewing case specifically designed for sewing supplies is another great option. These cases often have built-in compartments, loops, and pockets to hold your tools securely in place. Some even have a hard outer shell for added protection. Choose one that fits your essential items and is compact enough for travel.
  3. Roll-up organizer: A roll-up organizer is a versatile option that allows you to see all your tools at once. It typically has multiple pockets or elastic loops to hold your items securely. Simply unroll the organizer to access your tools, and then roll it back up and secure it with a strap or tie when you’re done.
  4. Clear plastic storage box: A small clear plastic storage box with compartments can be a practical option, especially if you have a lot of small items like needles, pins, and thread spools. The clear material allows you to see your supplies at a glance, and the compartments keep everything separated and organized.
  5. Make your own sewing kit organizer: Sewing your own sewing kit organizer is a practical and enjoyable project that allows for customization based on your needs and style. Start by determining the tools and supplies you want to include, which will help you choose the size, layout, and features, such as pockets and compartments. Select a durable fabric like canvas, denim, or quilted material, and feel free to get creative with patterns and colors. Decide whether you want a roll-up style, zippered pouch, or book-style organizer. By creating your own organizer, you’ll have a unique and tailored sewing kit that suits your needs and showcases your personality.

When choosing the container for your travel sewing kit, consider the size, durability, and organization features. Your travel sewing kit should be compact enough to fit in your luggage, yet roomy enough to hold all the essential tools you need while you’re away from home.

Packing tips for your sew-on-the-go kit

packed up sewing kit

Prioritize essentials

Focus on packing the most important tools and supplies for your travel sewing kit. You may need to leave some of your bulkier or less frequently used items at home to save space in your luggage.

Keep it compact

Choose tools and containers that are compact and lightweight. This will make your travel sewing kit easier to carry and store in your luggage.

Organize thoughtfully

Organize your sewing kit in a way that makes it easy to find and access your tools. Use compartments, pockets, or loops to keep everything in its place.

Protect your tools

Ensure your tools are safely stowed away to avoid damage during transit. For example, use a protective sheath for your fabric scissors, and store your needles in a secure case.

Customize your kit

Tailor your travel sewing kit to suit the specific projects or tasks you expect to work on during your trip. This might mean including extra thread in a particular color or packing a specialized needle for a certain fabric.

Tips for sewing while traveling

Sewing on the go is challenging, so here are some quite useful tips for sewing while traveling, so you can keep your creative spark alive no matter where your journey takes you.

Find a dedicated workspace

Set up a comfortable and well-lit workspace to sew, even if it’s just a small corner of your hotel room or a foldable tray table. Having a dedicated space will make your sewing experience more enjoyable and efficient.

Plan your projects

Choose projects that are suitable for working on while traveling. Opt for smaller, simpler tasks that don’t require a lot of supplies or complex machinery.

Be mindful of your surroundings

When sewing in a shared space, like on a train or in a hotel lobby, be considerate of others around you. Keep your sewing area tidy, and be aware of any noise your sewing may create.

Stay organized

Keep your travel sewing kit organized while you work to make it easier to find and access your tools. This also helps prevent losing items in unfamiliar surroundings.

Be flexible

Travel can be unpredictable, so be prepared to adapt your sewing plans as needed. You might need to make do with limited resources, or your sewing time might be interrupted by other activities. Embrace the challenge and enjoy the creative process, even if it’s a little different from your usual routine.

By following these packing and sewing-while-traveling tips, you’ll be well-prepared to continue your sewing adventures, no matter where life takes you. Here is also I video that I found very useful for making my own sewing kit, and writing this blog post by wonderful crafty Karen from “Just Get It Done Quilts”:

Sewing kits, in all their various shapes and sizes, are like trusty sidekicks for every sewing enthusiast. They’re our go-to resource for tackling all kinds of sewing tasks, from mending a torn seam to creating a masterpiece from scratch. A well-stocked sewing kit is essential for beginners and seasoned sewists alike, ensuring we always have the right tools at our fingertips to bring our creative visions to life.

Aarmed with your trusty travel sewing kit and these helpful tips, you’re all set to conquer the world of sewing, no matter where your travels lead you. Pack your bags, and remember: creativity knows no bounds. Safe travels, and happy stitching!