Introduction: Emergency Repair Kit - Fits in Your Pocket or Glove Box

Picture of Emergency Repair Kit - Fits in Your Pocket or Glove Box

One of the things I have hated about being in the business world, has been going to meetings, and any traveling that sometimes has to be done.

"Out there", or even just "at work" we don't have access to a sewing machine (or spouse) to do minor repairs to clothing when such is necessary (buttons that pop off, shirt pockets where the seam starts to unravel, etc.).

Well, the way I remedied this was to create a small pocket sized sewing emergency kit (I keep it in the glove compartment, and can retrieve it and pocket it whenever I need it).

Oh sure, you COULD go out and buy one, but what is the fun of that :-) Besides, some of them can be a bit pricey...

Step 1: Gather the Materials

Picture of Gather the Materials

Obviously, one needs the "change purse" in which to hold all the goodies of the sewing kit. Either one of the two kinds I have shown in the introduction, have worked well for me.

Next we will need a variety of items for the kit such as:

a sewing needle, preferably one with a decent sized threading eye
a pen "end cap" (not the writing end, the OTHER end)
some Elmers or all purpose glue (nothing that hardens too rigidly) {items 2 &3 will be explained later on}
Some lengths of thread (some white, some black, some brown, some blue, some yellow)
A small piece (about one by two inches or 2.5 by 5 cm) of card stock cardboard
a few unadorned buttons (one can hold them together with some "cellophane tape")
a "paper" ruler (or cloth measuring tape)
a few small "safetly" pins
and if you can get one cheaply, a small folding pair of scissors, barring that, sometimes a knife will suffice, IF you have it very sharp.

I do NOT recommend getting or using a thimble. They are dangerous, even the metal ones can eventually wear through, or weaken and you could end up pushing the BLUNT end of the needle through your finger or hand. If you need a thimble, you are probably going through much too much material anyway. But, if you must have one, one can use such items as the end caps to (say) number 1 or 2 sized knitting needles, or the tip of an antenna (radio or TV single or rabbit ears) if it screws off. Just make sure it is pretty strong.

Step 2: Making the Bits That Need Constructed

Picture of Making the Bits That Need Constructed

First, the thread holder. Take the cardboard card and cut notches in it about 1/2 apart or so. Do this along the two long edges. This will be where you will wrap a length of thread around. A little "nick" in the card will help hold the loose end and keep it from unraveling. If you can not make enough notches for the thread you have you can make the card a bit longer (just not longer then the "purse"), or move the notches a bit closer together.

The needle. You won't be making a needle, but you do want to keep that point out of harms way until you are ready for it. The Pen cap, as pictured will work for this. Filling the cap with some white glue (like Elmer's or similar) and allowing it to dry will give a stiff medium in which to stick the point. It will also be readily removable also.

As mentioned elsewhere, you can keep the buttons from jostling around and getting lost with a length of cellophane type tape. Lay the buttons, bottom down, on the sticky side of the tape.

If you can not find a needle with a sufficiently large enough eye to manually thread it (this takes a bit of practice), one can use a needle threader as pictured. It is a piece of aluminum with a loop of very fine spring steel wire that you push through the eye, and then the thread gets placed into the loop and you pull that loop back out of the eye and it pulls the thread in through that eye with it.

Other then folding the paper tape measure into a small flat package, your kit is ready to assemble and organize in the small purse (and, those that feel embarrassed by carrying a purse; no one need know you have the purse, if you use it discretely). The safety pins can be run through the cardboard also in order to keep them from flopping about.

Comments

jimbru (author)2011-03-12

And why wouldn't you use a thimble? You will NOT wear out a metal one or weaken it to push a needle through it!
Possibly a plastic one after years of use, but never a metal one and in this case you are talking about an emergency kit that will seldom or never be used.

Just trying to push a needle through the fabric to sew a new button on to a pair of trousers or jeans would hurt most peoples finger tips unless you were a construction worker with very tough skin.

Better to have this than your other suggestions, tip of an antenna etc....

Goodhart (author)jimbru2011-03-12

You don't need to weaken them to push a needle through them (experience speaking) it it does hurt to puncture one's thumb with the blunt end of a needle :-)

If the fabric it thin, a thimble is ok, but if you are attempting heavy jeans, I still caution against it.

The end of an antenna, unscrewed, gives you a cupped area to keep the needle from slipping, same with the end of knitting needles unscrewed. There is more thickness there.

porcupinemamma (author)2009-01-05

I wonder if you could fit some two way tape inside for a temporary hem repair?

Goodhart (author)porcupinemamma2009-01-05

That is an Excellent idea :-) Thank you.

porcupinemamma (author)2009-01-05

Needle threaders are wonderful! I never knew what they were for until my eyesight declined

Goodhart (author)porcupinemamma2009-01-05

I understand completely :-) I found out how useful needles were with much bigger eyes in them, too ;-)

killerjackalope (author)2008-03-19

This is pretty good but a bit niche, see I carry an assortment of safety pins in bits of my clothes, thiese are reappropriated over different garments as damage occurs...

Goodhart (author)killerjackalope2008-03-19

Ah, but one day, you will need to sew a button on a shirt, right before a meeting, when you are 3 states away from your home......then you will thank me :-)

killerjackalope (author)Goodhart2008-03-20

Actually you can do it with a great number of things such as a safety pin and the original string for the spare buttons, It's useful though, a nice kit.

Goodhart (author)killerjackalope2008-03-20

Well sure thing Macgyver :-) , you could probably use a wooden splinter in a pinch to do some sewing....I just prefer not to if I don't have to ;-)

killerjackalope (author)Goodhart2008-03-20

Actually splinters don't work very well but a sharpened matchstick does ok, or a bit or wire...

Goodhart (author)killerjackalope2008-03-20

Hmm, but anything in a pinch ;-) Since I don't smoke anymore....

GorillazMiko (author)2008-03-17

Another nice Instructable Goodhart! Just one question, how come the pictures are so small?

Goodhart (author)GorillazMiko2008-03-17

Thanks. I didn't really put as much into this as I should have though. *sigh*

Goodhart (author)GorillazMiko2008-03-17

I didn't have batteries for my camera, so I had to use the CAM snapshot feature. I probably forgot to resize them. The needle I couldn't get a visible picture of at all, and I seem to have lost my folder scissors, so those two I had to borrow. They are exactly like the ones I had however (yes that needle is just as dull looking a point as mine, but it has a really nice big eye so I can thread it fairly well; getting old is not for sissies LOL ).

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Bio: I am, most definitely older than 00010101 and to put it simply, still curious about nearly everything :-) I then tend to read and/or experiment ... More »
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