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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sewing Kit for College Man: Update picture

1.5" x 6.5" x 4.5
My grandson is going away to college and needed a sewing kit. I volunteered to make one for him. Since my daughter does not sew AT ALL and was resistant all her life to learning how to sew, I volunteered. I knew I could do the job more cheaply than she could. She would have bought the $12 sewing kit and called it good.
The little pouch above came from a yard sale. Lots of medical and homebound items were for sale. I found this, a travel kit for diabetics for a quarter. YAY!

Here it is empty. I put something in each of the little clear pockets on the inside to make them more visible. The little flap to the right is actually a zippered pouch.

Prym purchased sewing kit, repackaged
The one item I could not find sold separately was the needle threader, bottom left. So, I purchased this kit, now taken apart and repackaged. I don't know if the thread is good quality. We will see. The little pack of three needles may not be the best. The whole kit was $1.47, not bad. If I had found the threader in stock, it would have been $1.
The alternative to the thread situation was going to be to purchase a package of plastic bobbins and fill them with thread. I know my thread is good quality. 

The needles in the red, shiny paper came with the kit. The embroidery needles to the right left (shoot, if I only knew my right from my left!) are mine. I took four and put them in a paper in the middle to share with him. Why did I give him embroidery needles? First, they are sharps, so they will sew through fabric. Secondly, and most importantly, they have large eyes to help him with threading. Of course, if he uses the needle threader, he will need to have larger eyes to make even that job easier. 

seam ripper and nippers
I could get along quite nicely without either of these or only one. But, he gets the benefit of the doubt and the seam ripper to pick all the extra threads from a button that pops off. The thread nippers can cut thread when he needs to thread the needle or to cut the thread after he is through sewing.
Either of these will do the job of the other. Plus, I keep cuticle nippers on me all the time. If I were making a sewing kit for me, both of the above tools would be extra baggage. Or, I could choose just one. This man boy has never sewn anything.

2' x 4" zip lock bags
Since I needed some of these bags anyway, I don't count the $2 as a cost for the sewing kit.
needle threader on my camera case for easy viewing
Okay, if you don't know how a needle threader works, this is for you. Hold the needle in left hand, poke the little wire into the needle eye. Put thread through the wire protruding from the other side of the eye. Pull the threader back through the needle and you have a threaded needle. VOILA! I learned to sew by hand when I was four and never owned or saw one of these until I was in Home Economics in the 10th grade and other girls had a threader. I only used one for needlepoint floss when I was much older.

buttons and safety pins
I own two pint jars full of buttons of all kinds. But, do you think I can find either of them? NO.
Resorting to cutting the extra button off a shirt I own is the best I can do. Probably, the button jars are packed away and sealed in a box. However, surely there is a button in every There will be more buttons and more safety pins. I have some 2" x 2" bags I may put these in later.

filled sewing kit
All the thread is on one side in a clear pocket. Nippers and seam ripper are on the other side, along with instructions saying how the seam ripper can remove threads left behind when a button falls off. The zippered pocket holds the bag with needles and the needle threader. Loose in the middle of the case are the bags holding the buttons and the bag with safety pins.
Hopefully, this is a good system. Stuff loose in a container would work for me. Who knows what he will drop.
I will add straight pens with large colored heads and more buttons and larger safety pins. But, basically, this kit is complete and usable as is. I might add a six inch ruler.
So, it is done and cost me less than $2.
Since he has never experienced losing a needle while sewing, I put a silver thread in each needle and knotted it. He will have to remember to leave a bit of thread in the needle when he is through sewing so he won't drop it and find a needle with the sole of his foot or stuck into his body. We learn this lesson quickly. Right? I used silver because it was in the cake tin I was looking for pins and white thread was not in there.
Your turn
Did I leave out anything a beginner might use? Have you had to put together a sewing kit? Sue, I know your


  1. bahahahhaha on your comment to Sue...i agree, i think i might already know Sue's answer, too!

    but this whole post made me think about basic training. in basic training, you have to make little tags for every piece of your clothing and gear. and then they teach you how to sew - girls and guys. and they teach you how to iron. and they teach you how to have a clean bedspace. i was always amazed at how quickly the boys took to this, while the girls struggled? and then in later years when i would go to a military guy friend's apartment - it would be pristine. and he did all of his own sewing. and my military girlfriend's apartments weren't a mess per se, but they were definitely messier than my military guy friends.

    interesting eh? i think that your grandson will really enjoy such a thoughtful gift. and i think that he will actually use it. good job on putting it together so cheaply, Linda....oh no. i mean frugally - bahahahahah!

    your friend,

    1. Frugal or cheaply...all the same? Right? I have seen a guy's shoes, all shined on the floor of the closet, covered with a tshirt. His wife showed she said he was a neat freak from military service. I can tell if a guy was in military from the state of his shoes, if nothing else!

      He needs a little basic training that is not from his mother right now. She had her chance!

  2. I've never put together a sewing kit. I don't really sew. I took home economics for three years. I always got an A in cooking and a C in sewing. I'm still a good cook and a lousy seamstress. Needle threaders can be so helpful.


  3. Janie,
    I learned to cook and sew well before hs, so at 14, I was way ahead of the class and learned absolutely nothing for the two years I took. It was a waste of time except that I learned other girls did not know how to sew at all!

    At least you can cook and feed your family healthy and tasty food. There is nothing sadder than a couple where neither knows how to cook.

    I taught all three of my children to thread a needle without a needle threader. I don't know if the son has threaded a needle since I taught him. The older daughter (middle child)probably has not. The younger daughter sewed like a fiend for several years and is proficient enough to make a simple garment and not use a needle threader.

  4. I made sure all my sons and my daughter can repair clothing, and make a few things. I'm glad I am not the only one ! Nice kit !

    1. Jane,
      Sewing is a good life skill that boys and girls should learn. I suppose I will have to go to NY and show the g-daughter how to sew a bit. Thanks!

  5. That's an outstanding sewing kit, has everything a person would need.

    I have a bunch of them in my store room, though not as good as yours. Dollar Store had them on clearance, and I bought them all, about 10 kits I think. You never know when you might have to take up sewing on a much more serious basis. We have an old singer sewing machine that you run off a foot treadle. I hope we never have to use it but we have it if we do.

    1. Harry,
      Thanks. I have the old Singer along with about six others, and all work. I learned on a treadle, so it would not be a real chore for me, even after 57 years without using a treadle. It is like riding a bicycle! I do sew on a serious basis.

      I will keep looking for little empty kits of any kind and make more of these sewing kits. Since I just buy needles whether I need them or not, I can duplicate this many times, just without the nippers. Winding bobbins from 2 lb spools of thread is cheaper than the kit I bought. However, rather than nippers, I have many child's school scissors that will work for thread.

  6. Linda, so you can tell when a person has REALLY been in the military? Baahahahaha

    Ya know, some long term hospitals also have that rule where tags are in all the clothes.

    But since your son is undoubtedly in you honestly think he'll be repairing those rips and tears?

    and at his young age, he won't need a needle threader. I used to thread my mom's needles, and wonder if she was blind as a bat, since the eye of the needle was HUGE. Now? I can't even SEE the eye, and have to poke around with the Threader and hope for the best.

  7. lotta joy,
    You make me laugh soooo much!

    Oh, who knows? Maybe daughter is delusional and me along with her. Yes, I thought about his young eyes, but he has no excuse now. You know how you supply kids with tools and hope for the best? That's this! Teaching him a skill might have helped but I was not there!

    I remember the same thing with my mother. Then, I sometimes had the stubborn-about-sewing daughter thread mine, hoping contact with a needle might inspire her. It did not. I still have never used the threader in years but only then for needlepoint yarn and only because it is too big to go through the giant eye in those needles. Amazingly, I can thread a needle even with cataracts that are making me quite blind...



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