Planning and packing for any getaway can be stressful and leave you asking yourself, “what do I bring?” But when you make the decision to book a sewing retreat (exciting!), there are some extra things you may want to consider adding to your suitcase. And if you get a surge of inspiration and the urge to sew, we’ve got some super useful travel projects to sew!
First and foremost, don’t wait to pack until the night before you leave — start planning and packing a week or so before your trip to give yourself time to make decisions so you use your suitcase space efficiency and, most importantly, so you don ‘t forget anything. Packing in a rush can cause an unorganized and over or under-packed bag, so sit back, relax, and plan your clothing and supplies. It’s a great way to start the excitement of the retreat early!
Stock Your Sewing Kit
Start by checking the retreat information page for details on the workshops and classes you are taking to see what is included. If you have any questions, always make sure to contact the event organizer for additional information.
At many retreats, most sewing supplies are provided, but it is always good to pack the essentials, especially if you favor your own tools. I always pack a small sewing kit equipped with hand-sewing needles, snips, thread pins, a seam ripper, and more. Having a sewing kit on hand is also helpful if you tear your clothing and need to do a little repair or if there are hand-sewing steps for one of your classes that you can tackle peacefully in the comfort of your plush hotel bed.
I always add band-aids to my sewing kit! After a little prick of the pin, scratch of the scissors, or paper cut from the pattern, you’ll be so glad you brought bandages along; why risk bleeding on your fabric? But do remember my favorite trick, your own saliva takes out your own blood on textiles.
Other supplies to add to your sewing kit:
- Lint roller: After a day of sewing, threads can really build up on your clothes! If your day is ending with a nice dinner out, you want to be nice and fresh, and thread free!
- Extra pins: If you are an avid pinner, bringing your own little stash of pins is always a good idea.
- Seam gauge: Take the guesswork out of pressing seam allowances and hems by having an exact measurement tool by your side.
- Tweezers: Spend less time threading your needles and more time sewing! This tool is also handy for point turning, managing bulky seams, and grooming eyebrows. 😉
- Marking pen: Your marking tool of choice can be a personal thing. Some like chalk, others like a tracking wheel, a pencil, or a pen — so why not bring your favorite?
- Measuring tape: Knowing your measurements is imparative to choosing the right pattern size. You can take your measurments in the comfort of your own hotel room and come to class ready to choose a your size with confidence.
- Extra Scissors: Bringing a pair of all-purpose scissors is always a good idea. If I had a nickel for every time I needed scissors in a hotel room, I could afford many retreats. From cutting out paper patterns to removing tags on new souvenirs you want to use, and even opening those pesky in-room coffee packages — scissors are always a sharp idea.
Note: If you are not checking a bag, make sure to check with TSA for objects you cannot bring on the plane for carry-on baggage.
Traveling with Technology
Technology is always by our side, especially during travel, but what if your battery dies or you lose your phone mid-trip? And it’s always a challenge to find that buried email with a confirmation book code! I always travel with a folder that contains printed copies of all my travel details, including printed boarding passes, shuttle/car booking information, hotel addresses, and anything else I could possibly need to refer to quickly.
Try to put away your phone unless you’re using it to communicate. Take every opportunity to meet new people and have explore new places. But of course, you’ll need to use it to take photos of all of the fun, and add new contacts (Yay! New sewing friends!). Make sure you don’t forget your phone charger!
When packing for a retreat, I always include some non-screen entertainment, too. For me, it’s a small sketchbook and drawing tools. Meeting new people in a new location is always a wonderful way to draw inspiration for new styles and sewing projects, and you’ll want to jot down the details or make a quick sketch!
Patterns to Sew and Bring
It may have been a while since you traveled, considering the past couple of years, and some of your travel gear may be need an upgrade. Here are some projects for you to sew and pack for your retreat!
I never travel without slippers. The thought of my bare feet on the hotel carpet gives me the chills, but I like to have slippers handy at the side of my bed. You may think of slippers as something you have to purchase, but you can totally sew them at home, just try our Petal to the Metal Slippers pattern.
If you are a snoozer on the plane, a travel pillow can be your best friend. I love this Head Rest pattern for its soothing qualities, too. You can microwave or freeze it in your hotel room; since it’s filled with rice it can be heated or cooled to soothe your sewing neck.
Sewing and socializing can make you hungry, and airport snacks are expensive (don’t get me started on the hotel mini-bar!). Why not stitch up a little Lunch Tote to carry along extra food if you get peckish during your classes.
If you are traveling abroad, you’ll need your passport, and I always like to know where it is in my travel bag. The Well Fashioned Folio keeps all the essentials together. It has a zipper pocket for your headphones and a pen, a place for a tablet, and most importantly pockets for your travel documents.
When I travel I never bring my entire wallet — I highly doubt I’ll need the punch card from my local coffee shop or my Costco card — so I always transfer my ID and the credit cards I’ll need into a smaller wallet, like this Cork Travel Wallet.
I know it may seem weird to pack an empty bag, but having a tote at a retreat is great for lugging all your materials, supplies, and more, to and from classes and from the event to your hotel room. I love the large size of the Emerson Tote, and there’s even an outer pocket for additional storage.
Whether or not you are headed to Sewcation or any other crafting event, I hope these tips will help you enjoy preparing and packing for a retreat.