What’s Inside My Travel Sewing Bag

What's Inside my Travel Sewing Bag | Shannon Fraser Designs

You know that series “what’s in her purse”? I love that series! There’s something super fun about getting to peek inside at the contents!

I used to love going through my grandmother's cosmetic bag. She had such fancy containers with pretty colours inside. I was riveted. Which probably explains why I love zip pouches and seeing what everyone keeps in theirs!

You’re probably thinking “um, Shannon, this isn’t about quilting!”, but I assure you it is!

Here me out.

Now, I know having a dedicated sewing studio is all the rage, but I think it’s safe to say that at one point or another in your quilty journey you’re going to take your project on the road.

Sewing bag with notions scattered | What's inside my travel sewing bag | Shannon Fraser Designs 

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This could be to attend a sew-in day with your guild. Or to attend a class. You could even be popping over to your quilting buddies house for a sew-date. Or maybe you're road tripping and bringing a quilt along for the ride, or, if you’re like me, you need a means of having all your tools at hand while stitching away on the sofa 😉

All of these activities require some essentials, which is why having a well stocked sewing bag is key to making these journeys efficient and enjoyable.

Sewing bag sitting on top of my scrappy Irish Vortex quilt | What's inside my travel sewing bag? | Shannon Fraser Designs 

Without further ado, here’s what’s currently kicking around in my travel sewing bag:


At any given time, the contents of my sewing bag change. What’s in there all depends on the project(s) I’m working on, but here’s some staples that are a MUST in my travel quilting kit:

Needles – I typically keep a bunch of options on hand, including these *quilting ones (which don’t get used that often), these *straw needles (which get used ALL the time) and these *embroidery ones for all my big stitch hand quilting.

 Sewing needle selection | What's inside my travel sewing bag | Shannon Fraser Designs

Thread conditioner – I used to swear by Thread Heaven until they discontinued it. Now my go-to is this one – and the grapefruit smell doesn’t hurt either 😉

Scissors – I’ve tried lots of different snips and *these are still my fave. They’re not the smallest pair on the market, but I love the spring, which means there is zero pressure on my hand - which my pain ridden hands are very thankful for.

Friskar scissors | What's inside my travel sewing bag | Shannon Fraser Designs

Thimble – I normally have 2, but that’s just because I used to use *this orange one until I got *this leather one and now, I just keep them stored in here. You obviously don’t need 2 thimbles, unless you want options! I’ve also got these *thimble pads, which I honestly don’t use very often, but they have saved my fingers in a pinch (cause even with 2 thimbles, sometimes they go missing…). 

Thread – I always keep a *spool of white thread on hand. This is my go-to for when I’m English Paper Piecing (EPP), but it’s also come in handy for binding as well. I figure white is just a safe bet to have in the kit. I also keep my EPP blocks in these bags to keep them organized within my sewing kit. That way, I can make progress whenever the urge strikes!  

Ziplock bags full of my Mischief EPP blocks | What's inside my travel sewing bag | Shannon Fraser Designs

Needle threader – I don’t actually use this - yet. Even though I started wearing glasses, I still find I’m able to thread a needle just fine. So, while I’m sure *this little tool will come in handy soon enough, she’s just kinda hanging out in my kit until then. 

Glue – since I’ve been working on my Mischief quilt, I always have my *Sewline pen and refills on me, they make EPP a breeze. Plus, I’ve been doing some needle turn appliqué on my Bohemian Garden quilt, so now I just leave my *regular glue stick in there too. I pull her out when I’m tackling any foundation paper piecing though (never FPPed? Here's my Ultimate Tutorial).

Glue and thimble options | What's inside my travel sewing bag | Shannon Fraser Designs

Pin cushions – obviously you don’t need 2 in your kit, but I do find myself using both! The small one is great if I’m working on my EPP, while the larger one drapes nicely over the arm of a sofa, which makes it perfect for when I’m binding or hand quilting. Here’s a tutorial on how to make your own

Sewing notions scattered | What's inside my travel sewing bag | Shannon Fraser Designs


This area changes based on whatever project I’m currently working on. This time around I had: 

Pearl cotton thread – in various colours as I’ve been working on my #100daysofsfDminis. But the Ecru is always in my kit. Pearl cotton thread can be a challenge to find, here’s a handy list of retailers to check out

Pearl cotton spools + #100daysofsfDminis Quilt | What's inside my travel sewing bag | Shannon Fraser Designs


*Hera marker - this one isn’t always in my quilting bag, but since I typically love to work on hand quilting while I’m travelling, she’s normally tucked away in there 😊 

Hera Marker + thread + thread conditioners | What's inside my travel sewing bag | Shannon Fraser Designs

Peach thread – as I’m working on binding the fall version of my Irish Vortex quilt – you can find the pattern here

Binder clips – if you caught my Quilt Binding Tutorial, then you know I’m all about holding my binding in place with *binder clips. I just toss them into my sewing bag until I get home and can transfer them into their storage jars.

Handmade zip pouch open with sewing notions peeking through | What's inside my travel sewing bag | Shannon Fraser Designs




This section will be very personal for each of us, but here are some additional essentials that aren’t specifically sewing related, yet are items I rely on whenever I am sewing: 

Hair elastic – if you’ve caught any of my selfies or IG stories, then you know my hair is in a top knot 99.9% of the time. As such, *hair elastics are my life! I can’t live without them! And I have them stored all over the place – my sewing kit included! 

Hair elastic + eye glass fiber cloth | What's inside my travel sewing bag | Shannon Fraser Designs

Lip balm – I’m not a big make-up person, but I can’t get through a day without my lip balm. Here’s *my current fave.  

*Earbuds – I listen to a lot of podcasts (here are some of  my fave) while I’m hand sewing. I’m just getting into audio books, but can see them being addictive!

Audible Sign Up

Eyeglass cloth – ever since I started wearing glasses, I’ve come to realize the importance of having a cleaning cloth handy. Since I never touch my glasses, I’m at a loss as to how they get so dirty! But dirty they do get, and smudgy glasses are just annoying. I have these *microfiber cloths that work wonders and you don’t need any spray! 

Sewing notions scattered | What's inside my travel sewing bag | Shannon Fraser Designs

If you’re on the hunt for even more notions and tools, here’s a roundup of some of my fave.  

So, there you have it! Everything I’m currently carrying around in my travel sewing bag. Now it’s your turn! Share your must haves in the comments below 😊 



PS for more sewing bag fun check out the What's in Your Sewing Bag series.


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