100 Replies to “Hand Sewing Essentials”

  1. My own ‘go bag’ has mostly the same items and my latest favorite is a small leather covered retractable tape measure. Ahhh…when you pulled out the linen counter I felt a pang of grief over losing my brass family heirloom lense that was the basic model for your black one – it was part of ‘the stolen purse disaster’ from several years back and remains one of the biggest losses from that sad trial. I am however seriously inspired to make a leather thimble like yours. I have several hard ones, but I’ve never learned to like them enough to use them consistently. They do fit, but I find them more irritating than helpful. And yes, I do get sore fingers🙁
    Thank you so much for sharing your bag contents. I hope you get to see lots of wonderful things on your trip – and yes, I hope you can share some of them like this!

  2. As someone who knits and crochets I have a very similar yet very different bag. I have stitch markers, project yarn, softer eyes (if the project calls for it), buttons, and a different type of stitch counter to add to most of the things you show here.

  3. I have my needles in this little "booklet" that has feltfabric instead of paper as pages. The needles dont giggle around and stay in order. The booklet is like a quarter of an A5 sheat of paper (is that an A7?) and has a pretty little hard cover. It looks like a tiny adress book until you open it up.

  4. I had to fly on Easyjet and asked beforehand via social media if I could bring my embroidery work with me on board. I couldn’t, because they said they would confiscate my needles and scissors! So I didn’t take the risk to bring my then project with me… Good to know you didn’t have any problems and they scrutinized your Harry Potter book (you’ve probably Confunded TSA about your sewing bag) 😅

  5. Oooh! That thread counter is very shiny – I must have one! Completely irrelevant to any actual need, but the one thing I lust after. As for needles, I think a lot about needles, wondering what's the go with those that know. I assumed glass head needles were preferable, as I'd first been watching quilting videos where a lot of the sewers prefer them – then I went on a haute couture youtube video flutter (those are additive – for the same reason yours are, I imagine; watching careful and skilled crafts-peope work their way through problems and create beauty will always be a beautiful process to watch) and they use good old plain needles – no glass headed needles in their studios. I often wonder is that because of tradition or a practical reason? Thank you for another interesting video.

  6. For when I'm just doing the smallest sewing kit possible I keep my pins and needles in the cap of my seam ripper and jam that into the center of whatever spool of thread I'm currently using

  7. Is your pouch bigger on the inside? If so, please do a tutorial on making one!
    I'm slowly working on an Edwardian walking skirt very similar to yours but ankle length! So far I've made a 1:10 model/mockup of it to test if my pattern drafting is on the right track (because that's how we roll in architecture school). Next step is to get my Architectural Context essay out of the way and then draft the full size pattern!

  8. Where can I find pattern for a white shirt … I have seen you wear a few with lace and you were wearing a pin at the neck. I have couple of very nice pins from my great Aunt and would very much like to wear them.

  9. Wanted this video so badly, thank you! I have a fat mini Emery board to use as a pin cushion and a needle threader as I am off a certain age… Loved your treasures 😍

  10. Nice bag of essentials!!
    The thimble I use is like this-–metal, open-ended to protect longer fingernails, comes in different sizes, and is also adjustable—

  11. Have you ever thought about doing a beginner tips & tutorial video? I'm sure lots of people, including myself who are just getting in sewing would love it.

  12. Not strictly related to this video… Bernadette, where do you get your shoes? I am searching nice, comfortable shoes, and am having a small amount of luck.

  13. I softened beewax into a tiny saffron container. ( any small container will do) Place thread over beewax, place thumb ontop of the thread, then draw thread through. The lid on the container keeps the wax clean. Id hate to draw white thread through soiled wax.😁
    I handsew mohair and also use the #10 needle.
    For a thimble I use acrylic stickies that I place on my finger.

  14. As someone who works close to customs, I have to tell you they were looking for your HP book as it’s a big brick of organic material; I.e. They thought it might have been drugs haha

  15. i have a Bad Batz Maru tin which I travel with. I totally agree wit the #10s. Best needles to use and it makes no difference if the are bent. I keep mine in a book I made years ago because I cant seem to find my old wooden vial that I used to use. Hiariously I have never used a thimble and have been handsewing since I was 8. I've never needed one and I defy anyone to tell me my stitches are not small and neat.

  16. So informative! I've been going through a large bin of vintage sewing notions and this was really helpful to decide what's incredibly necessary. After I finished, I searched through the tin and found it contained some #10 sharps, much to my pleasure. It seems all I need now is a thimble, and since I have some scrap leather, I know what I'll be doing soon. ☺

  17. I have many of the items in my travel sewing bag but unfortunately in Australia (where I live) you cannot take scissors in your onboard luggage. This I have learnt the hard way by having my scissors taken. Love your videos. Thanks Lynne

  18. 6:12 "one can never have too many safety pins"
    Me, a dumb punk kid, surrounded by random safety pins because I lose one then find two: yes

  19. If fellow seamstresses are looking for projects to use up Cabbage, Australia is in need of handmade Joey Pouches! Search "rescue craft co" on Facebook for patterns and instructions. Knitters and crocheters can also make nests 🙂

  20. I'm married to my sewing measuring gauge. (and my magnetic pincushion) So handy when you need to add seam allowance, as well as editing patterns! >>https://tinyurl.com/vt88rv8

  21. I like haing at least two cutting implement in my kit for games night because people always want to borrow them and it's just more convenient.

  22. I am very sad because I am caught up on all of my favorite youtubers. So I have decited to come back and watch all of your videos while I wait.

  23. A little suggestion for storing sewing needles is an empty tic tac plastic box. They come in a small and large size so fit the different sized needles really well. It's worked well for me. (And eating the tic tacs is only optional 🙂 )

  24. So adorable that Morgan and you both posted bag content on the same day. I love the aesthetic of your content. I wanted to say thank you for the recommendation on the 18th century beauty book.

  25. Lovely to see the items you carry Bernadette. Might I suggest you browse the online merchant William Booth Draper for useful items such as the thread beeswax to which you refer, a pretty assortment of needle cases such as the open work ivory-look tube, and for yourself or those who are historical re-enactors, a pretty fabric housewife to carry a few of the smaller items in a reticule or pocket. My husband and I are living history re-enactors for the 1812-1814 period and there are some real treasures (tools) for hand sewing to be found on these type of websites.

  26. Yass, for sewing travel bags. I have a little felt book in my and it's pages hold my needles and pins. I coworkers have gotten used to sewing me take it out to sew on break. And more than once have asked me if they could borrow a needle and thread due to a unexpected tear or button that's come off. I love that yours has your initials

  27. I don't usually make full garments away from home, so my on the go sewing bag is more like a garment first aid kit honestly. A pair of small scissors, fray check, safety pins, a needle, and small spool of white thread. I have everything else at home tbh.

  28. Ooook, that settles it. My very first sewing project this year will be an embroidered initialed sewing pouch. May i tag you on Instagram if i post it?

  29. A sewing bag excellent now i have a use for the cute little pouch i bought at a con that was too cute to say no to, tho i will miss my little sewing box that kept me company in college

  30. Any chance you might be able to tell me easily at what age in the late Victorian/early Edwardian era a girl would have gone from just below the knee dresses to floor length?

  31. Fun fact, the way you aesthetically arranged the sewing kit near the end of the video is called "knolling." The word was coined by a janitor at the furniture studio, Knoll, who organized tools scattered on the workbenches as such 🙂

  32. I'm so useless with thimbles. I guess I should really try to figure out how to sew with them considering that I much prefer sewing by hand more than using loud, scary sewing machines :/

  33. I have around 4 sewing kits that I keep in various bags that I switch out, so even if I forget to switch over all of my stuff for day-to-day use, I still have sewing supplies if something needs emergency repair. I've just bought basic ones from dollar stores and replaced the cheaper scissor with good sewing snips. In addition, I keep little mini versions for my handbag and first aid kits (I have multiple at home because we live in an earthquake zone), which consist of sewing needles pre-threaded with half a meter of black thread, pierced through a strip of cardboard, with the thread wound around the cardboard. I generally pack as if I was a camel stocked up and prepared to face the end times, to make up for being such a catastrophe in the rest of my life. Or you know, just to fix a button when it falls off.

  34. Knitter here. I use an old painted Altoids tin as my little kit.
    Said kit includes:
    -Bird scissors (as seen in this video)
    -small tape measure
    -small notepad for math
    -4 yarn needles of different sizes
    -a bag of homemade stitch counters
    -small wire cutters (for my current project)

  35. Proof positive that it doesn’t take fancy tools to have beautiful project results. I can easily state that I don’t even use 98% of the stuff in the sewing kit, but since I shelled out money for these things, I seem to feel discomfort at the thought of destashing it all.

  36. Looks like my kit. Oddly, I keep chap stick in mine as well as a small pad of paper for the ever habit of needing to write notes. One never knows when a delight full new project idea may spring to mind and I am not as such to remember it later on, so having a place to keep it is helpful.

  37. I'm more of a darn&repair on the run, and create at home kind of person, so added to my needles and tiny scissors some neutral coloured buttons always seem to find their way into my purse.

  38. I have a couple of different things I use for sewing kits. I have one of those rectangular tooth brush & toothpaste travel containers, a fluffy tube-style pencil case (fits full-sized scissors), a "tupperware" snack box that is held closed with a piece of elastic, and of course, the inevitable zip-lock baggies in various sizes. I have also been known to use the zippered plastic bags that are used by online garment sellers to pack their wares for posting. I have even used an empty pringles tube in a pinch…One day I should sit and make a "proper" pouch, but for now, these will do… :))

  39. What are your thoughts on historical crossdressing/crossplay? Do you think one should use modern methods of changing your shape or only make use of period-accurate undergarments, or a combination? Have you ever adapted men's clothing/patterns for your own wardrobe?

  40. I'm lead costume designer in my class for a project and watching your videos inspires me a lot even though we're making a Star Wars fan movie.

  41. My family have finally left after the holidays so I now have my sewing space back after being denied it for a month. It feels so good to be sewing again!

  42. Bernadette Banner: "(talking about the thimble)…cut out to the shape of the top joint of your middle finger, because thimbles are always worn on the middle finger of the dominant hand where…"
    Me: "Wait, what? Really??"
    I swear one hour of watching your stuff has taught me more than 7 years of working in a fabric store.

  43. Until last week I hadn’t even picked up a needle and thread for years and just today I went fabric shopping and finished my first mock up of a skirt inspired by your 1895 walking skirt. Thank you for bringing sewing back into my life 🙂

  44. SO incredibly useful! I have a box of stuff that I use but this is so perfectly concise for travel! Thank you Bernadette!

  45. I knit, spin, and only recently got back into hand and machine sewing, so I have two bags (that are full, project bags inhabit my home) that I keep on hand. As of right now, I have in said bags: * deep breath * Tailor's wax, a row counter that locks, various skeins of yarn (either wound or not), spinning fibre, tapestry needles, a drop spindle, whatever project/projects I'm working on, retractable tape measure in the shape of a kitty, knitting and sewing needles, a VERY strong magnet to find pins and needles should they drop, three pairs of shears (small and I'll find them when I buy new ones, go figure), enough pins and stitch markers that always seem to disappear, compression gloves to prevent pain, stabilizing wrist braces, and aspirin for when my hands and wrists hurt.

    Nothing too overboard, to be honest. I try to travel light.

  46. I was once learning to tie assorted knots and the TSA agents allowed me to carry on enough cord to tie up the entire crew. I didn't, of course.

  47. I'm glad that you have managed to contain your sanity within the confines of your sewing bag. Mine seems to be forever lost somewhere in the cluttered mish-mash of mess that is my craft room… Thanks for sharing. Glad you're having fun across the pond.

  48. Nice video! I have a seam ripper and small lighted magnifying glass as well. Also, if you travel in India they don't allow small scissors in carry on luggage. You may run into similar issues in some African countries as well, but I don't find the restriction consistently enforced. Cheers!

  49. May be a silly question, but what brand do you recommend for tailors chalk? I couldn’t read the label of the chalk in the video. I’ve never loved the stuff you get at Joanns.

  50. I usually cart my knitting around with me, not sewing, so dpns, sock yarn and little notebook to remember what it was that I actually knit on one sock so that I can duplicate it on the second without having to count back rows. And I always have at least one fountain pen on me to write things in the notebook.

  51. I have all the same – though not the Townbridge thread (generally just cotton), But I put in a metal ruler that only goes to 6 inches, Really quite useful for small things.

  52. Im doing an old sock monkey and elephant kit found at a thrift store..hand sewing it and having a blast..watching u has inspired me to take it back up so far this week two long skirts turned into pairs of pants, and now the sock monkey and elephant

  53. Tape measure.
    Please do not roll it. Wrap it loosely around all your fingers so it is folded like when it comes out of it new packaging. Rolling it will certainly stretch it.
    It is also possible to get cloth ones that are less pron to stretching.

    My favourite tape measure is one that is very hard to source. ( My friend has one, but I wish I did 😒)
    Basically. Usually – both sides start the numbering at the same end. This one has one side start while the back is finishing, which means the opposite happens at the other end.

    This sounds useless but it is actually a major time saver. While you are working. No matter what end you pick up, you have the beginning of the tape. The most you have to do is flip it over. If any one can tell me where to get one I will certainly do a happy dance also buy us both one.

  54. I also keep a magnet with my essentials. I use it to put my scissors and needle on so that they never roll away or drop down the side of the chair.

  55. This is delightful as always. I'm inspired to make myself a hand stitching kit, so that I'm not having to make multiple trips between the couch and my office(I work from home). Or have to go in search of my little snips that get left in random locations.

  56. note to self, learn how to use thimble. I did not know that you could bring sewing supplies on the air plane. Yay! you may have saved me from hours of being bored on the plane! The last time I flew to visit family, TSA looked through my book bag, because I had a whole bag full of books. For my sister. They said they needed to search for it weight purposes? I told them the books where Little House on the Prairie series and they where welcomed to go through them. lol.

  57. Question from a beginner (soon to be marrying a historical reenactor): where on Earth can you find the 2-ply linen thread???

  58. I haven't flown international in a while, but the last time I flew domestic we weren't allowed to take scissors, needles or pins with us. My mum likes to knit and she had to put her knitting in her luggage, lest the needles be confiscated.

  59. While somewhat interesting…. I feel this is fading from other videos unfortunately Bernadette. You have an entertaining factor that you might need to keep up dear. Love Peace and and Happiness from your faithful follower Juanita

  60. I found the evidence for the leather thimble. I wish I could remember if I tried to send it to you or not. Great Video. Good to know about thee scissors and travel too.

  61. My mother recently forced me to try embroidery because I enjoy hand stitching so much. I'm in love, with this my want to hand stitch is no longer 'irrational and pointless' (sister in laws words). But I also recently purchased a 1959 kenmore sewing machine, its vintage and makes my heart sing. I see a lot more sewing in my future.

  62. I found my great great… great? grandma's mobile sewing kit. It is a roughly 2'x2' square of fabric with a circle in the middle. The circle is 2" fabric with elastic at the top to keep everything inside. The bottom of the circle is also thicker to make it more stable. It can unfold to have all of the supply in front of you. Plus, you can fold it in to keep everything contained. It has shears with her name etched into the side from the company located in Sheffield, just East of Manchester along with a mobile darning egg that contains tiny amounts of thread and a few needles in the middle. Maybe someday you could update your bag to be more historically accurate as well? Although for flights, the bag in the video seems to be the better option. I'll try to remember to take a picture tomorrow and add it as a comment.

  63. I love that all of (mostly) the items in your sewing bag are ones that are practical and useful. I put on your videos when I need some sewing inspiration or background company as I am merrily sewing along. Thank you so much for being inspirational. Keep on doing the things.

  64. What a wonderful and useful gift that pouch was! I didn’t know about thread counters. That’s a fantastic little gadget.

  65. In lieu of having your safety pins floating around freely in your sewing bag, may I make a suggestion? Altoids. Yes! Those "Celebrated Curiously Strong Mints"! The "Smalls" tins are perfect for storing sewing notions! I have them in my sewing box to store various types of buttons.

  66. You telling the story of going through the airport and having them ignore your scissors reminded me of the time I was flying from China to Japan and there was this lady yelling at security because they were not allowing her to take full sized scissors on the plane. She just straight up grabbed them from the security guy and tried to put them back in her bag while screaming at him. It was an adventure.

  67. I learned to sew with thimble while I did a ridiculous amount of sewing in leather. You really don't want to push a needle through leather without a thimble. So that is indeed a good way to learn the technique. I can't sew without one now except when I do cross stitch in aida weave

  68. I am wondering if I now want to make a new sewing kit… Because mines in a box (due to it needing to be robust for LARP) it may be an excuse to get more pretty things….

  69. you can sharpen scissors by cutting tin with them. obviously be careful if it's any kind of thick (like a can, for example) but foil works as well.

  70. I always enjoy reading the comments on your videos. Such a lovely, homely feeling for me. You’ve amassed a wonderful following Bernadette.

  71. Rather than a sewing bag, I have a wee box someone once gave me with something in – it nicely fits all the essentials (though apparently no space for any last scraps of sanity!) and has wee Scottish things all over it. Unfortunately it's a more awkward shape to fit into larger bags, but it's very cute anyway!

  72. I love this. My mom, or anyone for that matter, never taught me how to sew(self taught to get by in a pinch) so although this is 101 to alot of people, I learned alot. And being an old school punk, I can attest to the fact that you can't ever have too many safety pins.

  73. After I heard, “you can never have too many safety pins,” I absentmindedly commented to myself, “true story!”

  74. Could you do a video, or even just a comment, explaining how thimbles male finished garments look better? I never want to use them because they’re just so clunky!

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