Airplane-Friendly Mini Sewing Kit

I've never taken a sewing project on an airplane before, but each direction of my recent trip was about 20 hours so I was looking for ways to keep myself entertained. I was worried about getting bored, but it turns out trying to sleep takes up a bunch of time. Yeah, trying. Anyway, I set out to figure out what it would take to be able to hand stitch on board and ended up with this cute little kit I'm going to share with you today!

To make this you'll need:

  • empty dental floss container (you'll need one you can open without destroying)
  • thread
  • cotton fabric
  • fusible fleece
  • felt
  • elastic cord
  • button
  • 3/4" wide elastic

The question of whether you can carry even tiny scissors on a plane is a big one, and seems to vary by country. One stitcher even talked about her necklace that had a shielded blade being confiscated. (affiliate link)

Are you scratching your head over that dental floss container? It's a brilliant idea (which I can say because it wasn't mine) that I read about in several places. Instead of taking my chances with the scissors, I used the tiny blade that's ordinarily used to cut the floss! 

When I mentioned this to my husband, he suggested I take it a step further and wind my thread around the spool inside. Even better, and saved me space elsewhere! He did mention a winding technique that involved a power drill, but he wasn't around when I made this so I ended up winding it by hand. I'm kind of curious what that would have looked like.

I put the spool back in place inside the container and fed the thread through the hole and across the blade, just like the floss. And it works great!

Now that I had a handy thread dispenser, I couldn't just leave it at that. I needed something to carry it in. After a couple of too-complicated sketches, I settled on this simpler design.

Cut your pieces in the following sizes:

  • outer fabric - 6 x 3"
  • inner fabric - 6 x 3"
  • fusible fleece - 6 x 3"
  • felt - 5 x 2"
  • elastic cord - 3"
  • 3/4" wide elastic - 6"

Apply the fusible fleece to the wrong side of the inner fabric. Lay it down, right side up. Add the wide elastic, centered. Tie or stitch the two ends of the elastic cord, then lay that loop in the middle of the wide elastic on the right. The loop should be to the inside and the ends even with the edge.

Add the outer fabric on top, right side down. Pin well and stitch 1/4" from the edge, leaving 1 1/2" open at the bottom.

Clip the corners and turn right side out. Press, turning in the edges of the opening. Stitch around, close to the edge.

Lay it down with the elastic side up. Center the felt on top. Stitch down the center.

Fold closed along the stitching line. Pull the elastic loop over the front and mark the spot it reaches. Sew the button on that spot.

Open and stitch from top to bottom 1" from the right edge.

Now comes the fun part - loading it up! Slip the dental floss container under the elastic in front, weave a needle or two into the felt and add a threader in the back. You can even slip in a small spool of thread if you need a second color.  Keep in mind, you may run into someone who doesn't let those needles though, although that seems to be pretty rare.

You can click on the photo below to scroll through each of the sections:

I made my kit its own zipper bag so I could carry the English paper piecing project I was bringing with it. 

I never did actually sew on any of our flights. You forget how much elbow room it requires when you're doing it at home. However, I did use my kit at my son's home! I repaired one of his pillows and made him a little project that I'll be sharing with you soon.  

No one batted an eye at my needles or thread holder in any of the security areas we went through, so I'm going to call this a success!