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No Sewing Machine!

No Sewing Machine! What Am I Going to Do Now?

By Brianna Roberts of Sew Cute and Quirky

Have you ever had to go without a sewing machine for an extended period of time? Or, have you gone on vacation or a long drive looking for something to do? We can’t take our trusted sewing machine with us everywhere so coming up with ideas to keep your “Sew Jo” going can be tricky and creative. 

Recently, I moved overseas to Germany from Florida. I had to pack up my sewing machine with my household goods. I knew that I was going to be without my sewing machine for three months and as I write, I still do not have my sewing machine.

So what does one do without their sewing machine, particularly if they are obsessed with sewing? Luckily, there are other things that we can do while not having our sewing machine. Making plans ahead of time makes this process go smoothly and easily. Preplanning is the key. Whether it is a few hours, a few days, or months, it is possible to come up with sewing related projects that are portable and don’t rely on a sewing machine.

Planning Goals:

  • Choose projects that are portable and packable.

  • Make project kits that include all of the supplies needed.

  • Pack sewing supplies that are smaller in size but can get the job done.

Portable Projects:

Hand-sewing projects are great to take along with you when a sewing machine is not available. These can be packed with a needle, thread, and minimal supplies.

  • English Paper Piecing: This hand-sewing method is perfect while on an airplane, in a car, on vacation, or when moving from place to place. Tip: Precut fabric and paper pieces so that all that is needed is a needle and thread to accompany the supplies such as thread snips, glue, and clips or magnets. A whole project can be packed as a kit and ready to go.

  • Applique: Prepare applique pieces by taking along small pieces of fabric, templates, and fusible to make applique shapes ready to be added to your next sewing project.

  • Project Prep: Bring along fabric for a project that needs to be cut and pressed. It can be placed altogether to have it ready as a premade kit. A smaller cutting mat, rotary cutter, ruler, and scissors are easy to pack. I bring along a 12” x 18” rectangular cutting mat. All of the hard work will be done and all you have to do is sew it when you get back to your sewing machine.

  • No-Sew Project: Prep a no-sew project that uses fabric glue, fusible tape, or fusible web. These types of projects are also fun to share with a child who may not be ready to sew. Many collage quilts start out with appliqueing and fusing pieces of fabric to form a design. Sewing is not needed.

  • Sashiko: Sashiko is a hand-sewing method that uses thread to make lovely designs in fabric. All that is needed is the fabric, contrasting thread, chalk, a template, and a needle. 

  • Hand Quilting: Take along a project that you would like to hand quilt. This can be done anywhere. A quilt sandwich, thread, needle, and snips pack easily and a project is ready to go.

  • Binding: Complete a binding on a quilt by hand. It is easily accomplished with a needle and thread. Just a bit of hand sewing and soon that binding will be done and a quilt is finished.  

  • Knit or Crochet: Knitting or crocheting can be another alternative to a no-sew project. Bring along your favorite yarn, pattern or book, and needles or hooks. I bring it along as a kit so that everything is readily available.

Cute crochet polar bear with red scarf

So, it's pretty easy to go without a sewing machine even when we don’t want to be without it. There are so many projects that can be prepared and ready to go.  All you have to do is pull it out and get creative. It is not fun to have a sewing machine packed away or not with you but it is surely possible. Continue to be creative while not stepping on that pedal to zoom through that next project. Take it slow and enjoy the process of a handsewn project or no sew project. Share it with friends and family. You’ll appreciate the change and may be surprised at what you create.

Meet Brianna Roberts of Sew Cute and Quirky!

headshot photo of Brianna Roberts of Sew Cute and Quirky sewing patterns

Brianna started sewing many years ago and realized she enjoyed it. She taught high school environmental science, physics, and biology full time for many years, but now designs patterns and makes bags that bring a smile to someone’s face. Brianna is a published pattern designer.  Her patterns have been published in Make Modern Magazine.

Brianna loves to design and make purses, bags, wallets, organizers, quilts, and home decor items.  She loves making items that can be functionally cute. She is inspired by travel, unique designs, vintage finds, and fun fabrics. She also enjoys making clothes for fun and getting involved in a sew-along, sewing swap, or sewing challenge.  

We want to thank Brianna for her article for Quilt Pattern Writers! It's always good to share other designer's perspectives and support their businesses. If you would like to share a blog post with us, please drop us an email or complete the Blog Post form.

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