Building a Mending Kit
I know how to fix things with sewing, and I would like a portable kit to mend things for myself and others. Being able to fix other people's things makes you feel very handy, and it's a great way to share.
This is a brainstorming list. I have some of these tools already, but I would like to have dedicated ones for this kit. Otherwise I will keep losing them by juggling them between bags.
Basic Consumable Supplies
- black thread
- white thread
- gray thread
- I would like small amounts of plain thread in colors that can blend in (or stand out) as desired. I have seen people recommend winding these onto bobbins to save space.
- fingering weight yarn
- dk weight yarn
- worsted weight yarn
- Just little bits, probably scraps from sweaters I've made. To repair knit items, something thicker is better. I would not want to darn a hole with thread.
- embroidery floss
- This is great for more visible mending, or embroidery to cover a stain.
- I have a lot of lonely buttons lying around in a variety of sizes, because I've been collecting the spares that come with my clothes for years.
- Patches are a fun and quick way to mend something. I'll carry a few, maybe some with cool designs I've bought over the years.
Holding Things In Place
- straight pins with heads
- These can hold things in place while sewing. Getting a kind with heads takes up a little more space, but you don't have to worry so much about losing one. I have been stabbed in the foot (through my shoe) with a lost pin before, so this matters a lot to me.
- sewing clips
- The kind that Clover makes. They're expensive in the store, so I'm looking to stock up some more second-hand.
- safety pins
- Safety pins are great because you can use them to hold things in place while sewing and not get poked, or you can wear a garment that's been hastily repaired with them. They are harder to use in some circumstances than straight pins are, however.
- bobby pins
- Sometimes, when all else fails, you just need a bobby pin. They are long, hold things firmly, and very cheap. I like them for holding webbed straps together, like you might find on a backpack. Other kinds of pins do not do a very good job here.
Needles and Hooks
- strong sharp needles
- Sometimes, I want a long, thick needle that's easy to thread and handle.
- tiny sharp needles
- Sometimes, I need a short, sharp needle for delicate work like closing up a split lining.
- tapestry needles
- These needles are blunt at the tip, and larger ones have wide eyes for yarn. They're great for darning or embroidery, where you don't want to stab the individual threads, but work between them.
- double crochet hook
- For picking up runs in knit fabric. When a hole forms in a knit fabric, pulling on it can make it worse, producing a column of holes. It's what happens when people get runs in their tights, too. You can re-knit those sections, going up the run, using a crochet hook. The double crochet hooks have one size hook on each side, and are shorter than the kind people use for crocheting.
- snag grabber
- This is a tiny gadget about the size as a seam ripper, that has a clasping hook on the end. If something (such as a cat) snags your clothes and you have a little loop hanging around on the outside of the garment, this hook can pull it to the inside of the garment. That way, it is less likely to catch on something else and get worse. You can also use a needle and struggle for a long time trying to poke the snag through, but the tool is cheap and small.
- snippy scissors
- Short-bladed scissors, best for snipping thread. Mine are folding, which is great because they aren't going to stab anything when jostling around in a bag.
- leather thimble
- A thimble takes a while to get used to, but it will make you much more fluent at sewing. I use a leather thimble because I'm sensitive to nickel. They're more comfortable, anyways. My thimble does not have a "coin" inside to protect from needles sticking through. Instead, it just has two layers of leather. I think this is actually safer, because I don't develop an overconfidence in my thimble. I know it'll wear out eventually, and I don't push it too hard. I do not know how much I can trust the very flimsy coins in some thimbles. Are they stronger than my needle? Will I bet my finger on that? Certainly do not get a plastic-tipped thimble. If they shatter, you may stab yourself very badly.
- magnetic bracelet
- Some places sell these little bracelets that go on your wrist and have a magnet. They look kind of like an Apple Watch shape, but they are better because they keep you safe from lost pins. If this mending kit is supposed to be portable, it ought to have something to put my pins and other magnetic tools on, just in case I do not have a good surface.
- seam guage
- These are like tiny calipers. You set the slider at the intended seam allowance, and then use it to check as you sew to make sure you're staying at that seam allowance. I use them a lot when hand sewing.
- thread conditioner
- You slide your thread through this, and then it will glide better and be less likely to tangle.
- neck lamp
- I'm not sure which of these is best, but a portalbe, bright light is non-negotiable for sewing in tight spaces or with dark material.
- anti-fray glue
- I don't know if this stuff is worth the potential mess, or which brand I would get. Anti-fray glue would be helpful for slippery fabrics that fray so much that they are difficult to mend. For example, linings.
- tide pen
- I don't trust these things because I've never used one. But would I consider it worth a try if I had a new stain on a favorite shirt? Maybe.
- small embroidery hoop
- It's not required for embroidery or darning, but it can be helpful.
- zipper lubricant
- I think you're supposed to use wax or soap or something?
- If someone's shoelaces break, they will have trouble walking. If it fits in the kit, that's a nice thing to have!
- glasses repair kit
- I do not want my glasses to lose a screw. I want to have backup screws and a portable little screwdriver and I want to know exactly where it is when it's needed.
- mending instructions
- I am confident enought to improvise on most sewing basics, but not everyone is. I have a couple zines with mending instructions, and I'd like to keep some tiny copies for other people! If someone shows interest in what I'm doing, I can tell them what I'm doing. But I can also send them home with instructions for doing things themself!
- small notions
- I need something to hold things like buttons or coiled up bits of yarn. I'm thinking a pill divider might be nice.
- long items
- I need something to hold longer items like a seam guage and double crochet hook.
- I need a way to manage needles and pins. Perhaps a magnetic box?
- I need an organizer pouch that holds the kit.