Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Travel Sewing Project Ideas

I recently posted a question to the guild about suggestions for a travel project. I'm headed for a long trip for 7 weeks without a sewing machine, my stash, or access to a lot of tools but I wanted to keep my hands busy.

Basic criteria for the project:
- Portable
- Requiring very few tools
- No fussy cutting or need to mine a stash for the perfect fabric
- Not monotonous (for example: I did not want a project that uses only 1 EPP shape)
- Multiple steps toward a completed item (by the end of a trip, I would like a mini or a finished product)

And as usual, the guild members came back with such wonderful suggestions, I thought it'd be helpful to share them all!

Rose Star Block

source: summerfete

Bernadette suggested the Rose Star Block. A beautiful EPP project with enough variation to keep me interested.

Tutorial here. Templates and inspiration here.

I also figured out that you can order online variations of the main hexagon piece from PaperPieces if like me, you are not a fan of printing and cutting your own templates at home. I would stick with the 1" hexagon (perfect for precut 2.5" charm squares) and purchase the additional two shapes: 1" kites and 1" hexagons thirds.


Pattern Bundle: Tree of Life, Tree of Love and Tree of Joy embroidery patterns PDF
source: polkaandbloom

Hayden suggested working on learning new embroidery stitches. She had previously shared a link to some great patterns and also suggested making a sampler to practice stitches and keep an actual project going to apply new stitches. The DMC website is a great resource for different starter stitches or if a physical books is preferable, DMC has them in various craft stores.

I also found several Etsy shops offering beginner guides and patterns.
Polka & Bloom

A great visual resource for embroidery stitches.

Kiriki Press makes entire kits for softies that incorporate embroidery.
Starter Kit - DIY Embroidery Kit
Source: Kiriki Press

Source: Kiriki Press

Source: The Purl Bee

Susan, Karen, Barbara, and Emily all suggested sashiko (Japanese embroidery employing a simple running stitch throughout). Simple tools and highly portable, especially with preprinted blocks, makes this super appealing! I also found some links on modern sashiko techniques using dot fabric.

Susan's site, Easy Piecing carries a wonderful variety of pre-printed blocks (I have to admit that I already own several but have not tried!).

Purl Soho and The City Quilter (thanks Karen!) also carry sashiko supplies in the city.

Sashiko Southwest (thanks Barbara!) offers apparel patterns that incorporate sashiko and host of other supplies and patterns.

Sarah Fielke's Whirligig

Margaret suggested Sarah Fielke's Whirligig, which can be found in her book Quilting from Little Things. Margaret (who knows where I'm headed) thought this would be the perfect palette for inspiration (she's right!). I am also very tempted by this project because it offers enough variety and challenge, but will also yield a small quilt when complete. 

Flossie Teacakes Ring-a-Roses

Deborah suggested another wonderful small yet challenging EPP project, Flossie Teacakes Ring-A-Roses pattern

I love that it is a PDF printable and I can print all the template pieces at home on cardstock and get started immediately. 

All these wonderful suggestions are going to make it awfully hard to decide, but I better get moving! (I forgot to mention that I am leaving in less than a week and haven't packed a single item, yet I'm agonizing about my travel project). 

I thought I'd share in case anyone else is looking for a fun travel project! Additionally, if you are looking for a good case to store your travel project, I highly recommend the Sterilite Divided Case that can be found at your local target (in stores only I'm afraid) that makes the perfect little lap desk and storage unit in one! I will also be toting along my favorite (and very attractive looking) headlamp (thanks for the reminder Rachael!).

Feel free to post more suggestions for travel sewing projects in the comments!


  1. Thanks to everyone for the great suggestions -- It's always nice to have a hand project!! Enjoy your trip Nellie.

  2. Oh and thanks to Nellie for posting all the suggestions!!!


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