Monday, 4 March 2013

Why we should all have a sewing box in the home.

Regular readers to this  blog will know I'm very lucky. Not only do I work for the best fabric shop in the world but I also have my own dedicated sewing room at home. This saves me a lot of time and hassle when I want to start a sewing project as I don't have to clear a table or floor space and dig around a cupboard  for sewing equipment. However, fortunate as I am, even I still have a sewing box downstairs for emergencies. I personally think everyone should have a handy little box for quick repairs, even if your such an extreme stitcher that you have a dedicated room, or if you hardly ever sew at all.

  We all know the saying "A stitch in time saves nine" trust me it's not without merit. I've put off  doing a quick repair because I was just about to leave the house. I've then  had to throw away a perfectly good garment at the end of the night. By having the basic necessities at hand you are more likely to tackle a repair as soon as you notice the lose thread or lost button. So it becomes a matter of making life as easy as possible for yourself. A simple sewing box kept in a kitchen drawer or under  the stairs can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

  There are many sorts of sewing boxes out there, from little mini kits with a small set of snips and a couple of needles to larger boxes which you can keep your sewing projects in as well as your equipment.

Commercially available sewing kits  normally contain the basics that you need for a quick repair. Many go as far as to have spare buttons as well as snips, needles and thread. These kits are perfect to keep in the glove box of your  car, or in your caravan. I even keep one in my rucksack if I'm having a day out in London, or some other "stay-cation" venue. I've only had to perform an emergency repair when out a few times, but I was very grateful for my sewing kit when I needed it. (and yes I didn't have one the first time I needed it and wasted 2 hours of my grand day out having to hold my trousers up whilst hunting high and low for a sewing shop- top tip the safety pins sold in newsagents aren't very strong).

For the home we recommend equipping your own sewing box. We sell some lovely patterned boxes with separate drawers and capartments. One advantage of these dedicated sewing boxes is they are easily recognised from other storage boxes and no-one has any excuses for putting other bits and bobs in with your sewing equipment. However an old biscuit tin will do to begin with.

I've gone through my own sewing box, and those of friends , to give you  some clue of what you may like to put in yours.

Scissors- There are many different sizes available. For your sewing box I'd recommend a small pair of embroidery snips in a case, and then a medium sized pair of scissors. I'd also recommend making a case for your scissors, a simple project to stop the blades damaging anything in the box (or your hand) Until you make a case for them though use some elastic bands to keep them shut closed.

Sewing Needles -get a pack that are in a plastic case. You get many different sorts of needle in one handy pack, and the pack will stop them getting damaged and stop you from getting a nasty injury if you are rummaging around in your sewing box. Keeping a few needles in sponge  or in a pin cushion is not advisable as they often come lose and roam around your box.

Pins- Handy for keeping a tear in fabric closed whilst you stitch it up. Again I'd advise the pins that come in a small box, or use a metal tin to keep your pins in. I prefer glass headed pins as they are easier to find if I drop them.

Magnet- handy for finding lost pins and needles, but also I use a magnet as an emergency pin cushion.

Selection of thread- Black, White and your favourite colour.

Buttons- I keep all the spare buttons that come with my  clothes in a special jar in my sewing box. However I also keep a few black, white and other colours in different sizes for emergency repairs.

Tape Measure - I've tried guessing how much I need to bring something in before, or using thumb spaces to judge how much of a hem to remove. It never ends well. A tape measure means you will only have to sew and cut once.

Chalk or Fabric Marker  -I'm a big fan of old fashioned triangular tailors chalk in my sewing room. However it's brittle and messy if left alone in a sewing box. We sell a handy pack of four rectangles in different colours in their own case, or a convenient chalk pencil.

Thimbles- Even though I have leather like man hands I can still get stabbed whilst sewing. Thimbles not only save you from pain, but also stop blood ruining your sewing.

Instant Hemming Tape or Wundaweb- an iron on tape  for fixing hems on trousers, skirts dresses and coats. Perfect if you are in a rush but still want to look immaculate.

Ball Point Snag Repair Needle- An excellent tool for repair woven and knits. Helps stops your things from unravelling.

Darning Needles easily threaded needles for repairing  wool fabrics.

I think these cover most repair and small project jobs that I can imagine. However if you've found any other tools useful in the past please post them in the comments below, maybe even include pictures of your sewing boxes.


  1. The last emergency repair I did used cable ties and a broken guitar string. I think we confused the Maplin guy, and cheered up the street busker.

  2. ahh the McGuiver approach to repairing. We approve )