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Have you ever lost a button right before you leave the house?  You could grab a safety pin, or stop to sew it back on.  YET so many people here and abroad just don’t have the resources – no thread, no needles, no extra buttons.   That’s why I love including mini sewing kits in all of my Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes (yes even to the boys! They need to learn how to fix their clothes as well.) AND include them in blessing bags, hygiene kits for shelters, homeless and veterans groups. It’s a necessity you don’t even realize you need it – UNTIL YOU DO!

You can make a mini sewing kit from pill bottles


mini sewing kits from a plastic easter egg

What container should you use?  I’ve used everything from a zippered pencil case, a Ziploc baggie, a plastic container, and even plastic Easter Eggs like the one pictured! (Check my other uses for Easter Eggs!)

One year I was able to get a donation of clean empty pill bottles.  My friend’s mom carefully removed all the labels (with hot water and some scrubbing).   I wanted them to look special, so I added a label I made at an online print shop on each one that says:  “SEWING KIT packed with love just for you!” You could print your own labels or add a fun round sticker to the top!

What should you include in your MINI SEWING KITS?

Most of the supplies I’ve suggested come from Amazon. It’s just easier to get bulk items delivered to my door!  But definitely check JoAnns or Michaels and use a coupon to get a good discount.


FIRST – do not include OLD thread – such as that cookie tin from your grandmother or aunt.  Thread deteriorates in time.  It may look fine, but breaks VERY easily!  Save yourself the grief and just buy new.

The size you need will depend on the size of your container.  With a larger container, you can use a full-sized spool, but mostly you will need small assorted spools of thread such as these OR THESE.  BUT if you want something even smaller I’ve included these bobbins already wound with thread:

This is a 144 case of white threaded bobbins.  I love these because they fit really well into any small container, even the tiniest!

THEN – One year I received a donation of giant spools of thread.  Hmmm – What to do? Well the first year I grabbed some paint chips and cut out spool-shaped cards (with a tiny notch at one end to catch the start of the thread).  I hand wound the thread myself. (See in the pic below) They were cheerful and fit really well into my mini sewing kits.  However, I found it was very time-consuming to hand wind the cards.

The next year I used empty bobbins and tried out a small bobbin winder I got on sale from Michaels. If you want to wind your own, you can pick up these empty bobbins, also from Amazon.  But as soon as I finish using up this thread – I’m only getting those pre-wound bobbins!


Most times when you purchase a shirt or coat, there is a little bag with extra buttons attached.  I’ve always saved them and recently was surprised just how many I had.  Plus, just before you toss your old clothes, cut off the buttons!  These are all perfect to include in your mini sewing kits.  You could also ask on Facebook or in your church bulletin for buttons – I find that people have tins full of buttons that they’ve saved for years and would love to donate!

If you would like to add some fun fancy buttons, this pack was my favorite in addition to any plain buttons.


In the past, I have purchased inexpensive dollar-store safety pins. (not Dollar Tree, I haven’t checked them out yet) I found the metal was thin and bent easily.  I would suggest purchasing better quality name-brand ones.


Just like the safety pins, I would suggest getting better-quality needles.


I like getting a large pack and dividing them.  Here is a large pack of PINS.  Rather than throwing these in loosely, I’ve cut a small rectangle from felt and stuck the pins in there to keep them together.


I don’t always include this item as it isn’t an absolute necessity.  However, for several years I was able to get donations of the heavy paper ruler tapes Ikea displays in their furniture section.  It is amazing what you can get donated just by asking a manager!  We folded them and secured with a paper clip so they would fit well into our mini sewing kits.

donated Ikea measuring tapes for our mini sewing kits


This will depend on the size of your container if you can include these.  Amazon has these small folding scissors HERE.

Or you could include a seam ripper instead.


These items are difficult to include in mini sewing kits – but if you have something slightly larger, they are wonderful if you are packing a “sewing” theme OCC shoebox, or if you know different charities asking for these specific items:

  • ribbons
  • laces
  • trims of all kinds
  • elastic
  • 1/2 yards of fabric
  • pre-printed fabric kits that come by the yard (some make vests, or stuffed animals, etc…)

I had great fun making up these mini sewing kits.   I have included them in male and female donations – everyone needs an emergency kit.

If you want to include mini sewing kits, but don’t have the time to make your own, I also have purchased several packs of these from Amazon – (they come in a pack of 100) and include 2 buttons, 1 needle, 1 threader, 1 pin and threads in 6 colors.  I’ve also tucked them into all of my pencil cases.  (These might be great to include in backpack programs and homeless hygiene kits as well.)

You might want to view all the deals I post at JOY with Purpose!

And then check out all my Craft Tutorials as well!

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thread and notions for mini sewing kits

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10 Comments on Mini Sewing Kits You Can Make

  1. Great information and sources. I love the little bobbins of thread. We have some great, larger sewing kits we got for $1 a few years back (like 50 of them) and will run out this year so need to start planning how we want to make our own. Thanks.

    • I remember those Cheryl. They were WONDERFUL and you even added to them, plus fabric. I haven’t seen great deals like that since, but will keep looking.

  2. I am just reading this! I had the idea for IKEA measuring tapes too, but was flat out turned down. and I purchase all of our shoebox utensils there. I was sad because so many are just thrown away. Corporate said that local stores make their own decisions. But I tried.
    Great ideas here! Thanks!

    • Hi LuAnn! That is exactly what I found from every single store. It is the manager who makes the decisions AND managers move around. This favorable manager helped us with SOOOO much, but then they moved him to Australia! and we don’t even get a return call now. One year we had the Disney store manager donate cases of stuffed animals and even came to our packing parties and brought his son! Well he moved to another store and that door closed. And I have many other stories! My suggestion is to try each year – there almost always is a new manager coming in.

  3. What a wonderful idea! I love it! I have selected this post to be my Editor’s Pick for next week’s Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop on Ducks ‘n a Row. Party starts at 7pm ET Tuesday … hope to see you there!

  4. I love this idea! I organize the operation christmas child stuff every year and am always looking for new suggestions for things for people to put in the box. I’ll have to remember this for next year!

  5. Where do you find scissors at a reasonable price? Like $2 or so. All I can find are $10 and up. Seems like they really need scissors if you include fabric.

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