When we think about prepping, preparedness and living a more self sufficient life, we usually start out with food storage, long term, short term and everything in between. Then we may move on to filling out our medical supplies, get home bags, gardening supplies with lots of heirloom seeds and even padding an ever growing library with books on appropriate topics that may help us in the event that we ever need to rely on what we have so carefully put back.
We worry about being able to feed our families, keep them warm, keep them healthy and keep them clothed. I know many people in this community who have made sure that they don’t ever get rid of good clothes, decent shoes etc, when they are cleaning out their closets.
In my house, we put those clothes and shoes in bins in our attic so that we will have them to fall back on in the event that we cannot easily purchase clothing. What happens if goods stop flowing? What happens when local stores close and we are no longer able to procure goods via the internet? We will have to rely on skills and knowledge to make sure we can clothe our families. That begins with sewing!
A basic sewing kit is as important to have in your possession as the food in your pantry. How will you mend and repair the clothes that you have if you can’t even sew on a button? Basic sewing skills are necessary to our preps as well as the tools and supplies to carry out those skills. Sewing can be a frightening prospect for those of you who may not have thought about having to do it, but I am here to tell you that it is not hard and it may actually turn into something that you love.
Not to mention the fact that it could actually become a way for you to support yourself in hard times, by helping others mend and repair their clothing. You don’t have to be a seamstress or a tailor but you do need to know how to sew on a button and even mend a hole in a pair of pants. Everything else simply grows from there.
Before you learn to sew on that button, you will need to build yourself a simple sewing kit. Your kit should be in the container of your choice and can be as simple as a plastic shoe box, an old holiday tin or even a cheap toolbox! You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a fancy sewing box, you just need something simple to start.
What you will need to put into the box is important! You should have the following in order to have the basic tools needed to mend and repair your clothes:
1. Scissors: Have two pair, one that is reserved just for fabric, thread and ribbon and one that is used only for paper. My husband says you can never have too many pair of scissors, and I agree with him!
2. Sewing Needles: Get a few packs that include a variety of sizes. Needles come in varying sizes for hand sewing, darning, embroidery etc. You might want to pick up a package of needles that are used for crafting and upholstery. They have large eyes and some are curved. The latter can be very helpful if you ever need to do any type of suturing on the fly. These types of needles are also helpful for sewing thicker fabrics as well as hide and leather.
3. Pins and pin cushion/tray: I prefer the quilters type of pins that have either white or colorful bead heads because they are easy to identify and they are also a bit longer than traditional straight pins with flat heads and are easier to pick up and deal with. A pincushion can be either purchased or made but I prefer the magnetic type of pin tray because when I am sewing I can simply toss the pins on that and I know they are not going anywhere. I can also sweep my work area when I am done, with the magnetic tray and pick up any stray pins that I may have missed.
4. Measuring Tape and Hem Gauge: Measuring tapes can be picked up very inexpensively and sometimes can be picked up for free as promotional giveaways from fabric stores and even local insurance agencies. Yardsticks can also be picked up the same way! I like to always have more than one measuring tape floating around and always carry one in my purse. A hem gauge is a six inch metal ruler that has a sliding button in the center of it. This can help you maintain an even hem and make sure you have the same amount of fabric turned up all the way around on your project.
5. Seam Ripper: Let’s face it, no matter how good we get, we are always going to make mistakes. The seam ripper is our friend. It also helps to remove and open up seams for repair or to take apart garments in order to use the fabric for other purposes.
6. Thread and buttons: These two things are certainly important! Start out by getting a supply of basic colors. I like to make sure I always have white, black, brown, red, navy blue and tan as well as a mono-filament or clear thread for all other colors. I also suggest that you get a variety of embroidery floss in varying colors. This is a bit heavier than traditional sewing thread and can be used to successfully sew on buttons and have them stay put. Buttons can be purchased in large containers at the fabric or craft store and have a variety of colors, sizes and styles that should serve you well for a long time. You can also pick up boxes and bags full of buttons at garage or yard sales, when people are downsizing.
7. Sewing Books: Finally I suggest that you scour your local used book store, thrift shop and yard sales for books on sewing. I have some books that I have had since I was a child, they were my mothers, the one that serves me the best is “The Singer Sewing Book” The one I have is circa 1966, but this book has been reprinted several times over the years. It can be a good resource for you to refer back to when you get confused or feel helpless when it comes to sewing.
I hope that helps you to be able to build yourself a simple sewing kit. Once you start with the basics, the rest fall into place. I promise not to leave you clueless when it comes to other basic sewing skills. I’ll be back soon to show you how to sew on a button, mend a seam and even darn a hole in a sweater! Once you know how to do these simple things, the world of sewing is your oyster! Like I said before, you just never know, it may become something you really love, but you are never going to know until you try. Doing something that you love turns a task into a craft!
Noreen Lambert has been a paralegal by profession for the last ten years. She is wife to Rick and mom to 15 year old Molly and 13 year old Micah, the loves of her life. She has built a successful YouTube channel inviting thousands of subscribers into her kitchen each and every day sharing things from how to roast the perfect turkey to baking, home canning, food storage, sewing, crafting and gardening.
You can find her recipes on Noreen’s Kitchen website: http://www.noreenskitchen.com and you can hear The Homestead Honey Hour blogtalk radio show which Noreen co hosts with three other amazing women each Thursday night 8:00p.m.central time on Prepper Broadcasting radio http://www.prepperbroadcasting.com