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Part One: Do you sew on the go?

Lately it seems like I’m packing and unpacking almost every week. It used to be just the monthly quilt retreat, but this year it’s been that, plus at least 2 sew-ins each month.

At Sewing Expo in March, I bought a new roller bag for my sewing machine. Until now, I’ve been using a rolling scrap-booking tote for everything except my machine.  I was thrilled to discover that both fit in the trunk of my car.  So since I’m working on my new and improved packing strategy, I thought I’d share my approach over the next couple days. Let’s start with a few questions for consideration:

  • How long is the event (an evening, day, weekend?)
  • How far will I travel?
  • What will be my access to supplies or tools if I do forget something or more likely, decide I need something I didn’t plan for? (Darn, didn’t think I’d need my seam ripper for the entire 4 days of the retreat. Guess I’ll have to  go to the LQS and buy a new one!)


  • How much time will I actually have to sew?
  • Will I want to do a lot of cutting or ironing? Hand sewing?
  • Will I work on the same project the entire time? Yes, a long weekend retreat is the perfect time for an heirloom wedding quilt marathon, but EVERY retreat? No, thanks.  If it’s longer than a day, some combination of  “easy/intermediate/difficult” projects works best for me.
  • Will all my projects be planned ahead, or will I bring extra supplies for improv projects (zippered pouches, fabric baskets, etc.)?
  • Will there be a group activity? A show & tell, swap, group project or challenge?

Tools and Supplies

  • How much “stuff” do I want to pack and carry?  I do consider how many trips I want to make to load and unload.  Especially at the end of a Friday night sew-in when it’s dark and rainy, my car is parked two blocks away and I’m tired from a long week.
  • Do I need duplicates of common tools or can I bring what I use everyday?


  • How long is the event? Packing personal items for a day is simple enough (snacks, water bottle) but more complicated for a weekend or longer.
  • Am I sharing a room? Do I need to bring bedding?
  • Food?
  • iPod and/or laptop? Battery chargers or flashlights?

Tomorrow I’ll cover my approach to project planning and preparation, and then Wednesday finish with tools.  I’ll even share my checklist, but if you spot anything I’ve missed be sure to let me know!

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