A “Ready To Go” Appliqué Sewing Kit
By Neysa J. Powell, former TAS President
How many times have you walked out the door for a place you knew you would have time to work on a little appliqué, but you didn’t have everything gathered together and ready to go?
A small, compact, easy to carry appliqué kit is easy to assemble and have “ready to go” at a moments notice. Once you have your kit assembled, keep it only for a travel kit. Do not borrow items from it and they will always be there when you need them. Always keep it in a handy place. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to remember where you have “hidden” your travel kit.
When gathering your supplies for your kit, remember you are not packing it for the summer…only for a few hours here and there. Although this list may seem like a lot of things to carry in a sewing kit, they are all quite small and do not take up a lot of space. Chances are you do not use everything that is listed below; so carry only the items that you use when sewing.
Here are a few ideas of what to carry in your kit.
1.) The Kit. The container, case, or bag for all the necessary supplies - The size of kit you use will depend on how you work and what tools you use. There are many types of sewing kits and travel bags in the market today from which quilters can choose. Choose a case that will comfortably hold all your supplies. If you work with many tools, you may want a case with compartments, zippered areas, or ribbons to attach some of your tools.
2.) Storage for needles and pins - Needles and pins can be stored in several different ways. One way is a notion called a Needle Safe. This is a small case that opens up to two magnetized compartments which protects the needles and pins and stores them safely for travel.
Another way to store needles and pins is to place them into a small piece of either felt, wool felt, or wool flannel. Cut the piece in any shape or size you like…square, rectangle, heart, etc. Pre-made needle-case books can be purchased from many fabric or quilt shops. These usually have several “pages” of felt or flannel to separate needles and pins and a sturdy cover to keep the needles and pins protected when closed.
Still another product to safely carry needles is the Clover Quilt Dome. This notion allows you to carry up to 10 threaded needles. The needles can be threaded while you are at home and have the proper lighting to thread them easily. When you are ready to sew, simply pull out threaded needle, knot it, and sew.
If you prefer to have an easy way to thread your needles while you are away, the Clover needle-threading cassette is a very handy tool. This allows you to place up to 10 – 12 needles on the needle threader at one time. When you are ready to thread a needle, all you have to do is place the thread through the wire threader and remove the needle from the cassette.
3.) Needles and Pins - carry two or three of each of the following:
- Large quilting pins
- silk pins
-¾” glass head appliqué pins
4.) Threads to match or blend with the appliqué pieces - The number of colors of appliqué fabrics will determine how many colors of threads you will need to carry at any one time. You may have need of only one or two colors for some projects and many colors for other projects. A new notion on the market is called Bobbin Saver. It is a small donut shaped organizer that will hold over twenty bobbins…metal or plastic. By winding some of your appliqué threads onto bobbins you will be able to carry many more colors in a much smaller space. The bobbins pop in and out of the Bobbin Saver very easily, yet it keeps them secure and in a way they will not unwind when not in use.
5.) Marking Tools - Since this is a compact kit, carry only one or two marking pencils or pens. For marking fabrics, a silver marking pencil and a black 001 Pigma Micron pen will be easily seen on most every fabric. For marking either freezer paper or plastic templates, a fine line graphite pencil or fine line permanent marking pen will be all that is necessary.
6.) Scissors - Carry a short, sharp to the point pair of fabric scissors and a pair of scissors that can be used on either paper or plastic.
7.) Other items for your kit - Everyone is different in the way they sew and what they use to sew. Some of the things you may want to carry are a good thimble, a fabric glue stick, bamboo toothpick, needle gripper, seam ripper, thread conditioner, beeswax, a needle threader, and a strawberry to plant the needles and pins as you work. For those accustomed to working on a flat surface, a small patchwork board will come in very handy. It will also give you a place to lay all of your tools while you are working.
8.) A secure way to carry the appliqué pieces - This can be anything from a small zip lock plastic bag to a piece of felt or flannel that can be folded over to secure the pieces. Never leave the appliqué pieces loose in the sewing kit. Since many appliqué pieces are often very small, they could be dropped and lost. Appliqué pieces are many times cut on the bias and if left loose or handled too often they may distort in size or shape or fray too much before you are ready to use them.