So, we sometimes have extra young fellows around our place, because I have this very bad habit of feeding
strays–erm, missionaries. After noticing one fellow had a shirt pocket in the process of ripping off (and I sympathize, because I was the girl who lost her dress pockets more than once, due to the abundance of pretty rocks at the beach), and mentioning said pocket, I heard this in response:
Oh, I think I have some dental floss at home. It’ll be fine.
This just cannot, will not, must not be.
In real life, I (in part) teach dressmaking and handsewing. So, I have a few odd resources others might not have, but since they are indeed MY resources, I can easily make them available, so here’s what I put together for a sewing mini-kit, suitable for small clothing repairs and other needful situations. It stores very compactly, and if airport security does look squinch-eyed at you, at least you can delight them all with impromptu sewing lessons, and a delightfully wee instructional booklet.
For each kit, you will need:
- One empty Altoids tin. It was such a struggle to get an empty one around here. I had to open it, and wait about 14 seconds. The mints vanished, and my Little Girls smelled refreshingly minty for several hours. Give the tin a good wash and dry it well. I also primed it, and sprayed it with hammered metal spray paint, because obviously, I can’t leave well-enough alone.
- Two or three thin spools of Gutermann’s all-cotton thread. Since this kit is intended for someone who wears primarily business-type clothing (suits/ties), I included white, black, and an indeterminate medium warm grey (this is not the official color name) (though, it probably ought to be). Those three colors will serve for repairs to most business-type clothes by blending nearly perfectly, even if they are not a precise match. Vary the colors by intended uses of the recipient. Obviously, if you’re giving a sewing mini-kit to a Goth kid, three nice shades of black will be most welcome. Browns for Steampunks, etc.
- Small bit of wool felt for a Needles-and-Pins page. Wool felt retards rusting and won’t dull the points. You can buy wool felt at many crafting stores, or get a thrifted wool sweater, and let your Tall, Dark, and Slightly Neaderthal Husband do the wash.
- 3-5 #9 or #10 Crewel needles. These are a nice size to hold onto (not too big, not too small), and crewel eyes are longer than sharps eyes, so they’re easier to thread.
- A small beeswax disc. Now, I make these by the hundreds because I use them in my class kits, but you can buy larger beeswax bits from Wawak quite cheaply (a 1-ounce disc is a lot of wax!), melt it in a glass bowl set over boiling water, and spoon that into small flat candy molds to make your own. You could even make a little cornstarch bed, press in an item about the diameter of a quarter coin, and make your own snazzy waxer.
- A thimble, sized to fit the dominant-hand middle finger of the recipient. An XL metal thimble will lay on its side in an Altoids tin.
- A standard aluminum needle threader, if you know the recipient may get frustrated trying to thread needles.
- The instructional mini-booklet. Download my mini-book here. Go here for additional instructions on How To Fold It Up. Keep in mind that I had to sit down and draw the illustrations myself, and write the words, and everything, so don’t be a jerk and court foul karma: give this away with gifts, but don’t sell it!
Assemble everything, fold up the booklet, and play a bit of sewing-supply Spatial Geometry Challenge to fit everything in (embiggen the pic to see how I suggest making it work.) Then keep it for yourself or give one to a Person In Need of Useful Sewing Basics.