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Sewing & Mending Kit Essentials For Preppers (And Everyone Else!)


One of those basic skills everyone should know how to do is to sew and mend their own clothes. It is still a skill I am learning, but one that I feel strongly about improving when I can. We have saved a lot of shirts by sewing the seams back up so my kids could wear them again. I have sown more buttons on than I care to think about. 

However, those small little kits sold in the stores are good in a pinch, they will not cut for most sewing and mending. You need better kits than that! 


Since I still have the basic sewing kit that my mother put together when I got married, I thought I would ask her what should be in a sewing and mending kit! She has been sewing her own clothes, sewing items for other people, altering clothes, and mending clothes most of her life. She has altered prom dresses, made doll and Barbie clothes, and still does some of my hemmings! She has got experience! 


I asked her what she would have in a sewing kit and a mending kit and what she couldn't live without. To her, these kits would probably be one and the same. You will notice some crossover between the two kits. I asked her what she would have if she had to be off-grid also. As you can see, she would use a lot of hand sewing and mending. There is nothing on this list that couldn't be done by hand. 


A basic sewing kit (with her recommendations) should include:
  • Needles – asst. lengths and needle eyes
  • Thread – asst. colors [or can do just the basic color hues]
  • Straight Pins – I like the big-headed long or quilters pins, but sometimes the smaller shorter ones are necessary
  • A pin box(es) or pincushion or magnetic tray [easy to make – glue magnets to the bottom of a pretty saucer]
  • Safety pins – asst. sizes
  • Tape Measure – I prefer cloth, but plastic works – do not use metal
  • Small ruler – 6 inches’ long
  • Scissors – Pinking Shears; Material cutting – long blade; material cutting -standard; snips
  • Rotary Blade cutter and mats of various sizes
  • Seam Ripper – with a sturdy handle
  • Thimbles – to fit at least two fingers
  • Beeswax – to coat difficult thread
  • Material marking pencils or pens that wash out

A basic mending kit (with her recommendations) should include:
  • Needles – asst. lengths and needle eyes
  • Upholstery Needles – can get them by the packs that have long and curved needles
  • Thread – asst. colors [or can do just the basic color hues]
  • Heavy Duty Thread – Black and/or Brown
  • Straight Pins – I like the big-headed long or quilters pins, but sometimes the smaller shorter ones are necessary
  • A pin box(es) or pincushion or magnetic tray [easy to make – glue magnets to the bottom of a pretty saucer]
  • Safety pins – asst. sizes
  • Small ruler – 6 inches’ long
  • Scissors – Material cutting - standard; snips
  • Seam Ripper – sturdy handle
  • Thimbles – to fit at least two fingers
  • Beeswax – to coat thread
  • Material marking pencils or pens that wash out
  • Patches – asst. sizes and material [can also use iron patches or tape
  • Buttons – asst. sizes and colors
  • Snaps – asst. sizes
  • Hook & Eyes – asst. sizes
  • Zippers – Jean size, Jacket size, skirt size
  • Repair parts for zippers

While sewing by hand is a great skill, most people would still like to have a sewing machine. Learning to use a sewing machine is a great skill to learn. I asked her about sewing machines in an off-grid or no power situation. If you are interested in an off-grid sewing machine, you need to find a treadle-powered sewing machine (using foot-powered pedal). Lehman's carries one that is a treadle powered modern sewing machine. (not an affiliate link) Most modern electric sewing machines cannot be converted to treadle power. Older sewing machines may be able to be converted to treadle power, but you will need to check on that. 


If you have these sewing and mending kits already, I would check them over for anything you might have missed or have used up. If you do not have anything for these kits, I would start at the top of these lists, find a good container to hold the items, and start buying! 


Thanks for reading,

Erica (with a lot of help from my mom!)




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