Friday, July 24, 2015

Travel Sewing Trips for your Summer Vacation

Once upon a time, I traveled all the time for work.  I spent at least a week a month overseas, which would involve 3 hours to get to the airport, 3 hours in the airport, a 9 to 12 hour flight, and then a bunch of local hops by plane or train, plus the return journey.

With that much time to fill, I got very good at sewing on the go!

If you are planning a trip, whether by plane, train, or as a passenger in a car, consider putting together a sewing project for the road.

This little box has come with me across the UK, US, Canada, the Caribbean, Ireland, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Japan and S. Korea. I never have problems with security, even when pulled aside for a "random check".  Plus, nothing in the box is particularly valuable, so losing anything would only be an inconvenience!
For the sewing, I use:
  • a pincushion ring (don't use your pants or shirt for pins while flying, because you might forget them in there and ping at security).  I also have a pincushion bracelet.
  • 3 glass-head pins. I use two for swapping down the seam I am sewing, and a third as back-up or to pin further along the seam.
  • 2 needles.  I had a flight where my needly snapped mid-flight and I had to wait another 6 hours before I could sew again.  Ever since then, I always travel with 2!
  • a couple of safety pins, because I always need safety pins
For cutting string, I sometimes use little scissors if I'm on a train or car.  However, when flying, I always use nail clippers with the file removed.  You can also use the blade on a dental floss dispenser.  Don't try the little round disk cutters, as the TSA considers them concealed blades!
For the thread, I use:
  • thread which has been wound onto a bobbin so that I can stay small.  Also, when travelling with larger spools (or particularly cones) I am always searched at the gate, as security doesn't recognize what it is in the x-ray machine!
  • a threader for flights or drives with turbulence
  • a baggie for all my bits of leftover thread, so I don't leave a mess
Some extra, helpful bits:
  • a magnet (safety pins are attached to it in the picture), in case I drop a needle and can't see it
  • a pen for when the customs declarations come around
My particular style of running stitch is based loosely on Jenny Beyer but with a strong Japanese influence from my travel there.  Because of how I grip the needle and the fabric, I find I need
  • bits of electrical tape (in this case, pink) to protect the nail on my left index finger from being scratched by my needle.  I keep the bits on the outside lid of the box because I tend to forget to take the tape off when I put everything else away.
  • a rubber finger cot for my right thumb.  I use it to help grip the needle as I pull it through, rather than pushing the needle from behind like a proper thimble.  Watch out if you try these sorts of finger cots - I bought some where the plastic disintigrated after about a year and got some strange goo on my fabric!
The box itself is just a plastic food container. I like that it is rigid, but you can see that years of abuse have cracked the lid.

I take only a bit of fabric in the kit.  The rest goes in my luggage for another leg of the trip.  It's also worth packing some fabric scissors.

When sewing garments by hand, I use a running stitch and do French seams to finish the edges.  I always clip balance marks into the seam allowance so that I can tune out and sew as I watch movies, listen to audiobooks, or generally tune out.

Happy travels!

1 comment:

  1. This is awesome! Can you go a little more into detail on what your stitches are like? Hand sewing has never been my friend lol


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