The shop owner asked me to put together supply lists for the class projects so she could assemble precut kits as a convenience to her customers (and hopefully, my students). Oh man, what to include for a basic sewing kit? I distinctly recall the old Dritz (or whatever brand it was) “start to sew” kit that had straight pins, a tomato pin cushion, a tape measure, thimble, wheel of assorted sewing needles, dull plastic handle scissors, a tracing wheel and carbon paper and a seam ripper. I think it retailed for about $5.95 back in the day and you can still find a version of it today (minus tracing paper) at fabric, craft and mass merchandisers for about $10.00. For a few bucks more and a little scrounging from sewing relatives/friends, you can assemble a quality sewing kit that will last you a long time.
Here’s what I think you really need:
Even if you decide sewing isn’t your thing, you’ll still have a basic kit that will cover your mending needs quite well.
HOWEVER, I’m going to assume you enjoy it and want the tools that make sewing a little easier. To the above list add: thimble, beeswax/thead conditioner, needle threader, glue stick, point turner, 4″ scissors, 1-1/2″ x 6-1/2″ clear acrylic or regular 6″ ruler, washout graphite pencil, soapstone or white chalk pencil, pencil sharpener and fine point permanent marker.
If you quilt: 45mm rotary cutter, 4″x18″ or 6″x24″ acrylic ruler and self-healing mat.
If you scrounge: ask if your donors can spare a few safety pins, snaps, and basic buttons. These will come in handy.
A few words of wisdom…
My most surprisingly useful notion has been my 2-1/2″ x 6-1/2″ clear acrylic ruler from Creative Grids. I typically keep this in my travel sewing kit. I keep reaching for it so much that I need to buy a second one to keep at my sewing machine. Unfortunately, they no longer manufacturer this particular one. I’ll call the shop I purchased this size ruler from to see if they have any more.