What’s in Your Sewing Bag Michelle Bartholomew?

What's in Your Sewing Bag Michelle Bartholomew? Series by Shannon Fraser Designs #sewingkit

Keeping a well stocked sewing kit is a surefire way of making your quilting more enjoyable.

Why is that?

Well, for a couple of reasons.

First, there’s nothing that kills my sewjo more quickly than having to hunt for a needed notion. A project will quickly come to a screeching halt if I have to spend time looking for a tool or, worse, have to head to the store and pick something up. Sound familiar?! Keeping all your essentials in stock means you never run out. Keeping them organized in your sewing bag, means you never have to hunt for them, you know exactly where they are. Which ultimately means you have more time for sewing!

Second, knowing what notions work the best for your quilting style and sewing projects is key to ensuring you don’t get bogged down with a bunch of useless notions that don’t do what you need them to do. I love that today’s What’s in Your Sewing Bag guest touches on this point!

You know that feeling when you first meet someone, and you instantly jive with them? That’s exactly how I felt when I fist met Michelle Bartholomew. She’s just the sweetest! We connected on Instagram and have been encouraging one another in our creative quilty pursuits ever since.

Way back in 2017, early in my quilt journey, Michelle invited me as a guest for her Quilter’s Spotlight newsletter series. I felt so honoured to be included and couldn’t miss the opportunity to return the favour 😉

One of the best parts about having talented quilt friends is getting to follow along on their creative journey. A project that I’ve loved following along is Michelle’s Clara Milestone Medallion quilt. She started this when her daughter was born and I’ve so loved seeing the progression. I haven’t tackled a Medallion quilt, never mind a Milestone one, but seeing hers has definitely put the quilt design on my radar.

If you love colour and sewing projects stitched up with intent, then you’re going to love today’s What’s in Your Sewing Bag guest!

Michelle from Michelle Bartholomew standing in front of her rainbow colored Flying Geese quilt | What's in Your Sewing Bag Michelle Bartholomew?

*This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission.


Introduction – tell us a little about yourself! How did you get started on your quilting journey?

Hello! My name is Michelle and I’m a designer, photographer, and quilter. I’m also a mom to two girls (6 and 2), so I’m often finding myself with time to sew only while I’m on the go with them! I’ve been quilting for about 8 years. It all started when I turned 30. I decided to make a list of 30 things I wanted to do the year I turned 30. One of the things I wrote on the list was “make a quilt”. I had never really even sewn before but had always admired the art and usefulness of quilts and wanted to give it a try. I made a simple top with rectangles that I had admired on Pinterest. When it came time to quilt it, I was so intimidated by quilting with my machine, I decided to hand quilt the whole thing! Fortunately, I enjoyed that process or that might have been my first and only quilt!

What a cool start to your quilting journey, Michelle! I often hear of people making these ‘bucket lists’ but I don’t always hear about the follow through 😉 That’s super nifty that you not only stuck with your goal, but also dove into hand quilting your very first quilt. Talk about taking a deep dive into the quilty world – I love it!

Goody Goody sewing kit in a floral print with orange binding | What's in Your Sewing Bag Michelle Bartholomew? Series by Shannon Fraser Designs #sewingbag


What kind of sewing bag do you have? (e.g. did you make it? Buy it?)

Maybe this is cheating, but I have 2 sewing bags that always travel together. One holds supplies, like needles and thread, and the other holds tools for cutting on the go. I made them both. For the first, I used the Goody Goody binding kit tutorial from Lella Boutique. I made a few modifications that are perfect for the way I work, but it’s pretty close to the original pattern. The other is self drafted with plans to refine and make it a little more functional now that I’ve used it awhile.

Ha! We twin, my friend! I tend to carry two sewing bags with me too! One for all my notions and the other for all my thread (so that it doesn’t get tangled with all my notions). I hadn’t heard of the Goody Goody binding kit, but it does look super practical. Plus, yours is just a cutie!

Handmade sewing pouch for essential sewing notions | What's in your Sewing Bag Michelle Bartholomew? Series by Shannon Fraser Designs #sewingnotions


What are your all-star essentials? Your tried-and-true must haves that you can never run out of?

I always have my *Sewline glue pen handy (and *refills! I get a little nervous when I’m down to only 1 refill in my bag). I’m not picky on needles but I have been enjoying my *Clover Gold Eye needles a lot lately and have a good amount of them in my needlebook. I also really love my *foldable Fiskars scissors that are great for plane travel. They are adorable, cut well, and I love that they fit perfectly in the tiny pocket of my sewing kit. A few other things I find myself reaching for often are my *Hera marker, *chalk roller wheel, and *thin glass head pins (all from Clover). Lastly, a magnetic needle minder always comes in handy. Before I attached one of those to my kit, I was always misplacing my needles in the middle of a project.

LOL – what is it about keeping our staples in ample supply to avoid that “oh, no, I’m running out” feeling! I’m that way with batting and thread, always need ample options on hand! I equate it to having a well stocked pantry – ha! Also – you have me really curious about the Fiskars foldable scissors – they sounds perfect for travel.

Michelle's two sewing kits featuring her go-to quilting notions and tools | What's in your Sewing Bag Michelle Bartholomew? Guest series by Shannon Fraser Designs #quiltingisthebest #notions


What is your favourite item in your kit? Why?

I just discovered the convenience of carrying a small case of wound bobbins in my kit. It’s perfect for having several different colors of thread handy without the bulk of full spools! It’s nice to always have a close color match handy when I’m on the go!

That’s genius, Michelle! I hadn’t thought of that, but bobbins would be way easier to travel with and keeps the bulk to a minimum. Smart!

Great tip from Michelle to carry pre-wound bobbins for your thread needs while on the go | What's in Your Sewing Bag Michelle Bartholomew? Blog series by Shannon Fraser Designs #quiltingnotions


What’s one thing we’d be surprised to find in your bag?

A lack of clutter?!? haha! My workspace is always in a state of disarray, but for some reason I find joy in keeping my on-the-go bag sleek and simple with only the things I need.

That’s sound glorious! Streamlined notions in your sewing bag sounds like a breath of fresh air! And must mean that finding items in your kit is a no brainer 😉


When do you find yourself using your kit the most? (Travelling, on the sofa, attending sew-ins?)

Currently, I use my kit most in bed. I try to sew a bit each night while my husband is reading. It’s a good way to make a little sewing progress every day. I’m always surprised how little bits of time add up in getting a project done! I can’t wait to take it to sew-ins with my guild once those are able to start up again.

Can you believe I’ve never stitched in bed! But your routine is giving me ideas! That sounds like such a glorious way to wind down before bed. And you’re so right about little bits of sewing time adding up. I tend to sneak those moments in in the morning before my day gets started and the craziness sets in!

Fiskars foldable scissors perfect for travel and storing in your sewing kit | What's in your Sewing Bag Michelle Bartholomew? | Series by Shannon Fraser Designs #notions #sewing #quilting


What’s your favourite travel memory with your sewing bag?

Last month, I took my sewing bag camping with me for the first time. It was so fun to be outdoors enjoying sewing in the sunshine. My daughters sat by me and watched me for a while. I’m hoping that one day, they’ll have their own little sewing bags and will want to join me!

Stitching outdoors is the BEST! I haven’t done it while camping, but I do enjoy stitching outside up at lake. It takes an already soothing activity to a heightened Zen level. Total bliss! How fun to look forward to the day your girls join you in the quilty fun 😊


Tell people where we can find you?

I’d love for you to come check out my work and say hi over on Instagram (@michellebartholomew). My website where you can find my quilting patterns is michellebartholomew.com

Anything else you’d like to share?

Thanks so much for including me! This is always my favorite read. I love seeing what everyone has in their bags!

It’s been such a pleasure reading through your responses, Michelle! Thank you so much for participating and sharing your love for stitching. Your adorable handmade sewing bag and kit are making me want to whip up another set for myself, which to me is proof of the joy we inspire in one another by sharing our quilty projects. Plus, it’s always fun to sneak a peek inside a fellow makers’ bag to see what notions help you in your creative process 😉 MUAH – thank you for sharing!

Michelle's handmade Goody Goody kit featuring her EPP essentials | What's in your Sewing Bag Michelle Bartholomew? Guest series by Shannon Fraser Designs #englishpaperpiecing #sewingkit


For more What’s in Your Sewing Bag fun, check out these guests:

Happy stitching!




PS don’t forget to sign up for the weekly newsletter so you don’t miss out on any future WIYSB guests!

This post uses affiliate links. For more info, visit the FAQ page.

Leave a comment

Name .
Message .

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published