Ashley Lotecki is a Canadian illustrator, surface pattern designer and sewing enthusiast who loves creating whimsical and quirky designs. With a background in the fashion industry, her sewing projects and costumes have been featured in various film, video, digital media and print projects, and in publications like a Star Trek crafting book. Ashley was a contestant in our first Super Online Sewing Match, and she also showed us how to Make Your Own Spool Organizer. Ashley’s portfolio of brand new illustrations and surface pattern designs will be available later this week at Surtex (May 17-19, 2015), the big trade show for licensing and sale of original artwork, represented by Cultivate Art Collective (Booth #222).

Ashley designed this Travel Sewing Kit so you can take your stitches on the road this summer! In addition to the free tutorial she’s also hosting a fabric giveaway on her Facebook page to celebrate her big portfolio debut at Surtex.

She’s giving away a fat quarter of the fabric used in her tutorial Underwater Pool Party, plus a second fat quarter of a coordinate fabric Hooks. Both designs are Ashley originals, and both are in cotton.

When I’m traveling, my sewing notions always seem to get scattered throughout my luggage. I decided my new project was going to be a sewing kit that securely held everything inside. (With the properties of Mary Poppins’ magical bag!)

I’ve put together a tutorial for a small Travel Sewing Kit, measuring 6 3/8” high x 3 3/4” wide closed, that fits a surprisingly large amount of notions. The Travel Sewing Kit securely holds: safety pins, needles, pins, thread and anything that can fit in the zippered pocket (I put a seam ripper, thread snippers, a bag of buttons and scissors in mine).

Below I have included an image of everything I fit into my Kit, but this is a minimum amount! Much more could be fit inside, and I’d love to find out what out kinds of things Sew Mama Sew readers can pack into their own version.


  • Travel Sewing Kit PDF Pattern (P05101), printed on letter size paper (8.5” x 11”)
  • Cotton (main fabric and contrast– Note: the main fabric I chose to use was one of my own original designs, Underwater Pool Party!)
  • Heavy cotton twill (lining)
  • Fusible interfacing
  • 3/4” wide Velcro, cut 5 3/8” long
  • 6” Zipper (This is a minimum suggestion, if you have a longer one you have the option to shorten to size)
  • Paperboard (thicker, heavier duty paper)


  • Scissors
  • Pinking shears
  • Something to poke out corners (I find a chopstick works great)
  • Removable fabric pencil/marker
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine
  • Sewing machine zipper foot

Note: all pieces have a 3/8” seam allowance unless otherwise stated.

1. Print the Sewing Kit PDF Pattern on letter size paper (8.5” x 11”), three pages in total.

2. Cut out paper pattern (nine pieces total) marking placement circles in a method of your choosing. I prefer tailor’s tacks, but removable fabric pencil is fine. Cut out the pattern pieces in the materials specified on each section.

3. Fuse each interfacing section to the wrong side (back side) of the coordinating main fabric piece cut out. For the OUTSIDE & LINING, use the interfacing on the main fabric only. Each interfacing will have different specifications for fusing, so follow the instructions for what you use.

4. Using pinking shears to cut along all edges of NEEDLE FLAP BOTTOM and NEEDLE FLAP TOP. This will stop them from unraveling and save you the hassle of having to do extra finishing.

5. Fold the POCKET piece in half across the long side and pin along the outside edges. Starting at one side of the folded corner, sew the edges closed with a 3/8” seam allowance. Leave a roughly 1” gap at the center of the longest side, making sure to backstitch before and after.

6. Trim the seam allowances down and clip the corners. Turn the POCKET inside out, pushing out the corners from the inside with your choice of tool, and then press with an iron.

7. On the INSIDE RIGHT section, pin the POCKET (with gap at the bottom edge), NEEDLE FLAP BOTTOM and NEEDLE FLAP TOP in their places, using the dots you marked earlier as guidelines.

8. Stitch the POCKET down as close as possible to the edges (roughly 1/16”). Only stitch along the sides and bottom, making sure to leave the top edge open.

9. Along the top of the NEEDLE FLAPs, stitch a rectangle to provide extra stability.

Start 1/4” down and across from the top left hand corner and stitch across inside the top edge. When you get 1/4″ from the opposite edge, turn and stitch downwards for two complete stitches. Then turn and create the bottom of your stitched box, using the top line of stitching as a positioning guide. When you get to 1/4″ from the edge again, turn the corner once more and complete two more stitches upwards, meeting the original starting place. Backstitch and finish your stitching.

10. Remove the placement circle markings from the NEEDLE FLAPs and POCKET.

11. Pin the long edges of SAFETY PIN HOLDER over at 3/8”. Iron the folded edges and remove the pins. Fold along center (sandwiching the originally folded edges inside) matching the newly pressed edges and iron. Pin it closed and stitch along the open side 1/8″ from the edge.

12. On the INSIDE LEFT POUCH, pin the finished SAFETY PIN HOLDER using the placement dots as a guide. Do a basting stitch just under the top and above the bottom edges of the pinned HOLDER to adhere it to the POUCH. Remove the placement markings.

13. Starting at the top of the SAFETY PIN HOLDER, measure down 3 9/16” and mark a vertical line across, using a removable fabric pencil. Measure up 1” from the initial line and mark, and then an additional 1” and mark. Repeat the same increments going the opposite direction from the initial line. If you find the pins you placed in Step 12 make measuring and marking more difficult, you can remove them while you draw in the lines and then replace.

14. Stitch along each line you’ve drawn, starting a few stitches before the HOLDER and ending a few stitches after. Be consistent with amount as you complete each line. Press with an iron if needed.

15. Pin INSIDE RIGHT POUCH to right side of INSIDE LEFT POUCH. Sew together with a basting stitch leaving a 3/8” seam allowance. Press seam allowance open.

16. Next, position the zipper on top of the basted POUCH seam and decide if you need to shorten the zipper. Don’t forget, there is a 3/8” seam allowance at the top and bottom of the fabric. If you determine you need to shorten the zipper mark the new bottom with a pin, change your thread color and bar-tack at this spot using a wide zigzag stitch. Clip the excess zipper section on the bottom but not too much. You can always trim more afterwards. (Note: You can also bar-tack across the top of the zipper a bit above where the zipper teeth end to keep everything aligned.)

17. Position the zipper underneath the basted POUCH seam, centering below, and pin in place along both sides.

18. Install the zipper foot for your sewing machine. Top stitch 1/8” from the basted seam starting at the top, turning just above the bottom edge of the pouch, and then stitching along the opposite side all the way back to the top. (Note: If you aren’t sure how to install a zipper and need more instruction, there are many excellent tutorials online!)

19. Once the zipper has been stitched in, use a seam ripper to open up basted seam running over the center of the zipper. Clean things up by removing the basting threads and carefully press with an iron (not too hot so the zipper doesn’t melt).

20. Change the zipper foot on your sewing machine back to your general use foot. Pin the INSIDE RIGHT to the right edge of the POUCH, the right sides of the fabric facing one another. Stitch with a 3/8” seam allowance. Press.

21. On the OUTSIDE (main fabric section), pin the soft side of the Velcro using the placement dots as guidelines. Stitch 1/8” around all the Velcro edges. Remove the placement dots.

22. Place the LINING (heavy cotton twill section) on a flat surface. Position the inside section (POUCH and INSIDE RIGHT combination) on top, facing up. Unzip the zipper about two inches so the pull won’t interfere with the seam allowance. Then place the OUTSIDE (main fabric section) wrong side up on top, lining up all the edges. Pin carefully all the way around, making sure to capture all the layers.

Note: the LINING is in a heavier fabric weight to provide additional structure to the body of the Kit.

23. Stitch around the edges with a 3/8” seam allowance, leaving a 3” gap along the bottom. Clip the corners and cut down the seam allowances. Using the bottom gap, turn the entire thing inside out. Poke out the out and iron the edges flat.

24. Pin the bottom gap closed. Top stitch around the entire thing, keeping close to the edges (about 1/8”).

25. Stitch over the seam connecting the POUCH and INSIDE RIGHT.

26. Pin the other side of the Velcro to the INSIDE RIGHT using the placement dots. Stitch 1/8” from the Velcro edges.

27. Stitch 3/8” to the left of the Velcro on the INSIDE RIGHT all the way from top to bottom of the fabric.

28. Press the entire thing from both sides, taking care when you are near the Velcro and zipper which have a lower heat tolerance.

29. Decide which thread types you’d like to put on your THREAD HOLDER. You can make small clips into the edges to slide the end of the thread into or just use tape so doesn’t unravel. Wrap around the desired amount each color you may need.

30. Your sewing kit is finished! You can load it up with all the sewing notions you’ll need when you travel.