Make a portable sewing kit for under $10
The ability to create and repair clothing has been a great benefit to me over the years. I had the foresight to learn to sew when I want a teenager. It was offered in a home-ec class I took. Even though I don’t sew regularly, I still keep up on my skills and I like to have a simple sewing kit on hand for emergencies. Sewing skills are an important part of your preps.
This is a completely portable kit (unlike the main sewing kit you may have at home), because you never know when you will lose an “essential” button or have a rip in the “wrong” place.
Make your own Dollar Store Sewing Kit with a few simple but essential items. Your DIY Sewing Kit should enable you to:
- -repair clothing in a pinch
- -hem a skirt or pair of pants
- -sew on a button
- -fix a ripped tarp or tent
- -mend sleeping bags or backpacks
- -maybe even stitch up a wound
Your DIY Dollar Store Sewing Kit should be kept small and it may contain items that you might not think about packing in a 72-hour kit, prepared purse, or car kit. For instance, instead of only storing regular sewing thread, add dental floss and fishing line. This gives you the ability to use your kit for more than just sewing.
What container should you use for your kit?
As I see it there are a couple options. The first is a handy quart size wide mouth Mason Jar. It’s portable and doesn’t take up much space. This may be the best choice is you are going to store your small sewing kit in the car trunk or your office desk. It can also double as a handy drinking vessel or water collection container. Canning jars are made of glass, as you know, so be careful and think about where you want to take it.
The best option for a 72-hour kit is probably rigid plastic like the one in the picture above. I was able to get this rugged 7 x 5 inch Sterlite container at the dollar store for $1. It is the perfect size for the items I purchased.
You can even use a plastic bag with a zipper. This is going to lay flat in your emergency kit.
No matter which option you choose, make sure it is waterproof, easy to store, and easy to carry.
Here are a few things that you may want to add to your DIY dollar store sewing kit:
- *Buttons – several sizes
- *A packet of straight needles of various size
- *A thimble to push needles through heavy tarps or jeans
- *Small scissors
- *Several colors and thicknesses of thread
- *A needle threader, which comes with many packages of assorted sewing needles. Learn how to use one here
- *Straight pins
- *Seam ripper
- *Cloth measuring tape
- *18 inches of heavy string (or a shoestring)
- *Self cutting grommets for tarps and tents
- *Fishing line is a lot stronger than thread and can be used for sewing wounds
- *Dental floss is strong and also has many uses
- *18 inches of Duct Tape (see this article at The Art of Manliness to see how to make it small and easily accessible)
- *Thick rubber, plastic and/or canvas patches
These are the items I purchased (and their cost) for my DIY dollar store sewing kit. All for under $10
The foundation of my kit is this little 5 piece gem. You can stop here and purchase a dollar store sewing kit for $1, but making a DIY kit with additional items will be of more use in an emergency.
– 10 colors of thread, buttons, small scissors, thimble, straight needles and a needle threader in a small kit($1) – 50 straight pins ($1) – seam ripper and cloth measuring tape combined in one package ($1) – a roll of fabric bond ($1) – 18 inches of duct tape from a roll I already had ($.50) – 18 inches of heavy string from around the house (free) – heavy duty household needles (2.50) – dental floss ($1) = $8.00
Don’t know how to sew yet? Consider a Craftsy class to learn or brush up on your skills.
What other items do you consider essential for a small sewing kit? Leave your ideas in the comment section below.
Other items that are handy to have in an emergency sewing kit:
1. A small chunk of bee’s wax. It conditions your thread & keeps it from knotting while you’re sewing an item. It also waterproofs the thread.
2. If you have one just laying around gathering dust… an ‘As seen on TV’ button kit. One brand was called The Buttoneer, if I recall correctly. You can reattach a button in seconds, literally.
3. Shoe & boot laces. (not just a single shoe lace) They don’t take up much space, are light weight & are useful for many things. (I’ve seen a newborn’s umbilical cord tied off with a clean shoe lace) If you have laces in your sewing kit you won’t need to waste paracord to replace a broken shoe lace.
4. Paracord… If you have some scraps of leftover 550 cord, roll them into small skeins & toss them into your sewing kit. Then you can cut off a short piece & pull the threads from the center to use as sewing thread.
5. A single edge razor blade. They’re often more useful than scissors. (Or a mini box cutter)
6. A leather sewing awl, the kind that has a bobbin of waxed thread attached. You can make down & dirty leather repairs with this handy item. It’s not all that big or heavy. If you’ve ever needed one you won’t be sorry that you have it in your sewing kit.
7. Paper clips… Think MacGyver… Several sizes, from small to large.
8. A small tube of super glue and/or a small tube of rubber cement. Both are useful for all kinds of repairs. Rubber cement can also waterproof a repair seam that you just made.
9. Fabric scraps for patches, in a variety of fabrics such as denim, cotton tee-shirt fabric, etc. Keep the scraps as large as possible & cut to size as needed.
My emergency sewing kit has all of the above. All these items were scraps & leftovers from other projects.
Dental floss is waterproof thread suitable for repairs to tents, jackets, and backpacks without needing any other immediate treatment. The “thread” is already waxed!