Every home should have a sewing kit and every person over the age of eight should have some idea about the fundementals of making sure you don’t run around with holes in your socks. I can tell you what I keep in my kit but, as in the case with car tools, supplies aren’t useful if you don’t know what to do with them.

I keep a large supply of sewing needles in a variety of sizes. Needles are inexpensive and make a great barter item. I have about 100 spools of thread. I just ordered a huge spool that should last about forever. I have 12 pair of scissors and a sharpening tool. I love good scissors. They are not cheap but a sharp pair will pay for itself in lack of aggravation. Nobody is allowed to touch my best scissors. You need a couple of tape measures, a yard stick and a ruler. Buttons are important. I never toss any item of clothing with taking off the buttons, removing metal zippers (don’t bother saving plastic zippers) and even elastic from waist bands if it is in good shape. I save any piece of sturdy fabric like denim and heavy twill that is large enough for patching. Hook and eye closures, zippers, snaps and velcro are good additions. I use fusable interfacing so I have a store of that. I have a lot of patterns for things like pajama pants and slippers. These are basic patterns that can be used to make lots of other things. As always, add a book on the fundamentals of sewing if you are a novice. 

Practice, practice, practice. You can start with replacing buttons and darning sock. I should mention that I use dental floss when putting on buttons. That stuff is far tougher than thread and a button will stay on forever. I keep a basket next to the sofa filled with clothes that need a seam repaired or hem tacked up. In the evening I can pull out something, repair it and have it back in a drawer in a matter of 10-15 minutes.

We are not always going to have the stupid luxury of tossing out something because it isn’t perfect. As your skills get better, you may want to tackle more complicated projects. This is you opportunity to join a joining circle and get someone to teach you. Our sustainablity group got started making reusable bags two years ago. Now we have a sewing center at my church complete with serge machines and moutains of fabric. We also have a knitting center at our sustainability library. If you want to make a sweater, you can stop in and look over the patterns and books, borrow whatever needles you need and join us on Sundays for and afternoon of knitting and companionship. Master knitters help out the newbies.

The biggest mistake I ever made was to give my sister my grandmother’s treadle machine to my sister. Who knew tha day would come when I would pine for a treadle? Oh well. It is on the list for an ebay or craig’s list buy.

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