Way back when in January, I wrote about a New Year’s resolution to get better about mending (and minding) my clothes. I haven’t needed to make any huge repairs since then, but there have been buttons re-sewn, tiny holes mended, stains treated and—acknowledging my own lack of expertise—pants taken to the tailor to be hemmed.
For repairs I can make at home, I’ve always stashed a small supply of sewing notions (to use a favorite word) in an old tin that belonged to my Aunt Ruth. About the size of the plastic boxes of needle and thread and folded paper measure tapes that you can find at drug stores and or fancy hotel bathrooms, the box has stashed a mess of threads and needles since I was in college. When I recently realized I was out of everything except the red thread that’s been untouched since I first put it in there ten years ago (and a small tangle of blue embroidery thread that I can’t remember buying at all), I decided to do a little makeover.
In case it inspires a similar project for you, here’s a list of what I put back into my sewing kit:
Tiny scissors: Not a necessity, but super convenient for one-stop sewing. Bonus, these tiny embroidery scissors have such small points that they can function like seam rippers should the task at hand be taking an itchy tag out of a toddler’s sweater (as it’s sometimes been).
Black, white, and navy thread: These were the three thread colors that seemed most important for repairs made in my personal wardrobe, but choose whatever makes the most sense for you. I bought three large spools and have them stashed in the cloth bag I keep in our linen closet filled with other strings and ribbons, but I wound smaller portions of each around a small tag for keeping in the box. (I’m not an expert, but if you’re after beautiful threads, Gutermann’s have been highly recommended to me.)
Enough needles to last me: At the risk of sounding terribly irresponsible, needles have a way of escaping from me. I restocked what I had with a few additional needles in various sizes. I stick my needles through a small piece of felted wool in my best effort to keep my box tidy. (I got my replacements at a local craft store, but if you don’t already have a place to keep them, this set comes in a handy case.)
Nota bene: My only regret is that I went it alone when I made my box. Forgive me my inner Girl Scout, but I have vivid memories of making personal First Aid Kits with my Girl Scout troop in elementary school and this project would be the perfect candidate for something to make with a group of people. If you have it in you, gather a few friends together to put together one of these kits and divvy up the thread and needles between you.
+ If you’d rather one-stop shopping, this Rapid Repair Kit has everything you might need in one package.
+ In the spirit of fixing what you already have, Karen Templer of Fringe Supply Co. has been stirring up a lot of great conversation with her Slow Fashion October project. Head over to her site to see what’s up and follow along with the hashtag #SlowFashionOctober.
+ For some of beautiful mending inspiration, check out the work of Katrina Rodabaugh.
+ If you’re into trying your hand at more than just mending, these are some of my favorite places bookmarked for a day when I have a sewing machine to play with: