Free Quilt Pattern · Sewing · Totes and Purses · Tutorial

The Visual Story of a Sewing Kit

Rescue boats fill a flooded street at flood victims are evacuated as floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rise Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Okay–here’s what helps keep me busy while I’m watching hours of footage about the Hurricane Harvey disaster: hand-sewing.  So I came up with my own little sewing kit.  Start Here, with this rough sketch of a pattern: Sewing Kit_opquilt-pattern

SewingKitESE_1and these dimensions:
Cut out.  Quilt Soft & Stable lightly to backing, as you just want to hold it in place, you don’t want to distort it. NOTE: although it doesn’t show really well, I cut two of the notions pocket (thimble and thread glide); the dotted one (you can see it below) is the lining.  Remember to cut with wrong sides together, as the pattern piece is not symmetrical.


Stitch it together along the curvy top, and the right side.  Turn inside out, topstitch along the curvy edges. and make the pleats.  Top stitch along the two sides and the bottom, holding it in place to the inner lining. I like light linings, so I can see what’s going on.SewingKitESE_3

SewingKitESERefer to above photo for the rest of these sketchy detailed directions.

Sew down one long side of the scissors pocket; turn and press.  Turn in 1/4″ on the other long side; press.  Top-stitch the scissors pocket onto the lining.  Slide your scissors into place, and figure out where the ribbon needs to go: backstitch a ribbon into place.

Match up the backing with the lining and all its decor, putting wrong sides together and pin. All the edges will be raw edges.  Find the center line (where you will fold this closed) and stitch down the center to anchor the parts together.

Insert the zipper between the two zipper pocket pieces, cutting zipper down to size after sewing thread tacks on each end to keep the zipper on its track.

If you want a needle holder, cut a piece 1-3/4″ by 4″ and stitch to the zipper pocket as shown in photo above.  Then fold the zipper-pocket-assembly in half, creating a pocket.  (You can see the aqua ribbon sneaking into the pocket in the above photo.)  Place zipper pocket on right side of lining and stitch around this narrowly–just to hold it in place.

Lay a spool of thread on all the corners and trace; cut the edges into a rounded edge.  You can omit this step, and just do the corners like a quilt binding.

Bind the edges with a double-fold binding: cut a piece approximately 20″ long and 1-1/4″ wide.  Fold raw edges into the center and press.  Open out binding; first stitch WST with binding to back.  Fold to the inside, pinning or glueing to keep in in place, then topstitch.  Make two other double-fold pieces, roughly 12″ by 1-1/4″ and zig-zag.  These are your ties.  Stitch them to either side of the outer edge (refer to photo way below).


Add other trim: two buttons for the “String & Button” closure (yes, that is its official name).  I found some interesting thick string and sewed that through the little pocket at its tallest point and then knotted it behind the pocket.  I used Fray-Chek on all raw edges of string and ribbon and ties.  To close, you wrap it around the button (shown, above).



I use the Superior Threads Bobbin Donut in doing my hand stitching.  I tried and tried to think of a way to get it attached, and finally resorted to sewing a ribbon to the center. SewingKitESE_10

I also tried it out on their new Super Bobs box, which is what is replacing the Donut.  They still have a few donuts for sale on their website if you hate to see it go.  Truth: I probably won’t shove the donut or the box into the sewing kit…but I might.

I realize that I assume you have some sewing knowledge when I posted this, but another Truth: it’s also for my reference if I ever want to make another one.  The very cool fabric on the outside is from Timeless Treasures Fabrics a few whiles back.  It’s called Lux, if you want to go looking.

Why did I make this?  I have lots of pouches and bags and I love them all, as most came from friends.  I also have a couple of sewing cases, too, but I found myself toting around my stuff in a zipper baggie, as nothing quite suited me.  So I know this is what works for me, but maybe you can find something in here that will work for you.


It matters little how much equipment we use; it matters much that we be masters of all we do use. ~Sam Abell

I have to say that my attention has been preoccupied with the victims of the Houston flooding.  My son and his family moved there a week ago (I know!), and I try to keep tabs on them as much as he is able to.  I’m not the only one focused that way, with loved ones being flooded.  We’ve contributed to the Google Hurricane Harvey Response (they’ll contribute matching funds), and there are many other charities where you can donate.  Please consider helping in this way, as this is catastrophic.

And One More Thing: Get your own Emergency Supply Kit.  Have water, basic necessities, food that’s portable.  None of us can expect that rescue will be a part of our community’s offerings, in case of disaster (and you know what your own disaster can be).  We have to expect that we’ll need to help ourselves first.

Samaritans help push a boat with evacuees to high ground during a rain storm caused by Tropical Storm Harvey along Tidwell Road in east Houston, Texas, U.S. August 28, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY – RTX3DRSF



14 thoughts on “The Visual Story of a Sewing Kit

  1. I didn’t realize your son had already left for the Houston area. That is a tough beginning on his new life. It is amazing to see the photos coming from there, but once again we see the real generosity of the American people. I am so proud to see so many pull together as one people through this. It’s disappointing that it takes a disaster to bring us together.

    Your sewing kit is fantastic. I really like your fabric choices and all of the special little storage areas are perfect.

  2. I am going to assume that your son and his family are safe and as out of harm’s way as possible. I really like that Google is matching donations.

    Sometimes making is just the solution to work off intensity. I hope it helped bring you a bit of space and clarity as you sewed.

  3. Love this little bag. Thinking I might customize it for myself! The magnitude of damage in Houston is just overwhelming, but I feel gratified by the outpouring of support. Did you see the long line of boats on the highway going to help? It was just incredible. So hard when we have loved ones so far away. Just a little addendum to your emergency prep – I keep an extra bag of dog food and an extra harness and collar. After Houston, also thinking of a pet backpack. I just couldn’t bear to leave Quinn behind.

  4. Your creativity never ceases to amaze me. This is such a cute little sewing kit! I love your tie in to the flooding. Prayers for your son.

  5. Inspirational, Elizabeth. The Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared,” comes to mind, but I think that we can never be fully prepared for disasters of this magnitude (or any size, for that matter).

  6. Prayers for your son and his family and all the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Such a sweet sewing case. Thanks for the tutorial!

  7. Sending prayers for your son and his family as well as all the others. They asked me today if I wanted to dedicate my contribution to anyone . . . if only I had known about your family’s situation at the time. Your sewing kit is adorable but I don’t know how you had the focus to write the tutorial. Well done.

  8. What has happened in Houston is truly incomprehensible to me! All those affected are in my prayers, especially your son and his family! I love your cute little sewing kit and want to rush off and make one too! Thank you for sharing your expertise with us.

    1. What a darling sewing kit! I love it!
      I am so sorry about your son, daughter-in-law and their family just having moved to Houston. I wondered if they had left yet.
      We are all connected to each other and I keep thinking, that could be me in a diaster as easily as them. Good idea to prepare now, like you said. And I will continue to pray for the people of Houston and try to make a donation, too. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Until I read this, I was unaware that you have a son who recently moved to Houston. Are he and his family unharmed? I have a friend whose daughter and family had three feet of floodwaters in their Houston home, lost two cars in the garage, and are living in the second floor of their home without electricity. So many people in need! I’m glad you could find a way to channel your concerns with this sewing kit. It’s very generous of you to share it the tutorial with everyone! Now our eyes are turned eastward to watch a developing storm in the Atlantic, with forecasters giving it a 90 percent chance of turning into a significant storm that could hit the US. It’s always a good time to have an emergency kit at the ready!

  10. First off, I pray you are in touch with your son and family so you know they are out of harm’s way. We have friends there and one of the family members had first floor flooding but the water has receded for them; the others were lucky to have no flooding. These natural disasters are so disturbing.
    I ask everyone to remember Montana in their prayers as well; the fires are out of control and they could certainly use some of that rain that fell over Houston! Prayers for the safety of all in harm’s way.
    Your sewing kit is adorable and I’m sure many will make it. I have one I got several years ago (maybe 15?) at the Houston Quilt Festival from the Moda booth. It is still my go-to sewing kit.
    I laughed when you said you carried around things in a ziploc baggie. I do too, and there’s really no excuse. I have many, many pouches in many sizes! I guess I like the see-throughness of the zipper baggies.

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