How to Make a Candy-Tin Sewing Kit

comments (15) December 23rd, 2008     

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CalPatch cal patch, contributor
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Youll be prepared for any sewing emergency with this handy little sewing kit.
This is my personal sewing kit; a little messy but often used.
Gather your supplies before you begin.
Youll be prepared for any sewing emergency with this handy little sewing kit.

You'll be prepared for any sewing emergency with this handy little sewing kit.

Photo: Cal Patch

I love sewing kits. Even those chintzy ones you find in hotel rooms have always held a certain appeal. I think it's a feeling of security, like I'll always be prepared for any sewing emergency. I carry a kit in my bag wherever I go, and I've always thought that they're a perfect gift idea. The one that I use is just a candy tin with a piece of felt inside, but I've always wished I'd taken the time to put a padded pincushion in the lid to make it a little more useful. Now I've figured out the steps so you can make some, too!

This is my personal sewing kit; a little messy but often used.

You'll need:

  • A tin from mints or candy (such as Altoids)
  • Cardboard
  • Scrap of fabric
  • Handful of poly-fill or cotton
  • Felt
  • Glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Pen
  • Notions to stock the kit: pins, needles, thread, folding scissors

Gather your supplies before you begin.

Here's how I did it:

1. Trace the shape of the tin onto the cardboard. This will be the base of the pincushion. Cut it out, and check that it fits into the lid of the tin, allowing a tiny bit of room (about 1/16 inch) as it will be wrapped in fabric. Trim it down if necessary.

Trace the tin onto a piece of cardboard.

2. Use this cardboard as the pattern piece to cut out the felt that will line the bottom of the tin.

Using the cardboard piece, cut the same shape out of felt.

Also use it as a guide to cut the fabric cover for the pincushion; cut it about an inch bigger all around than the cardboard.

Cut the fabric for the pincushion cover about an inch bigger than the cardboard on all sides.

3. To make the pincushion, hot-glue the fabric cover, face up, to one of the long sides of the cardboard, overlapping about an inch as shown in the photo.

Overlap the fabric about an inch onto the cardboard, and glue.

Flip the piece over and wrap the two short sides and glue.

Flip the piece over so the fabric cover is face down...

...then fold the two short sides over the cardboard and glue them down.

Pull the fabric snugly over the rounded corners and secure with glue.

Pull on the corners and glue them securely.

Now you have a pocket in which you can stuff a small amount of poly-fill (not too much or you won't be able to close the tin).

Use the open side to put in some stuffing.

Fold over the remaining side, glue, and secure the last two corners.

Here's the completed pincushion from the back.

4. Glue the pincushion into the lid of the tin and the felt into the bottom.

Line the bottom of the tin with the felt, and place the pincushion in the lid. Glue both in place.

Now for the fun part...

5. Kit it out! Stock the kit with a small pair of scissors (I like the folding ones, and I've never had a problem with them at airport security), mini spools of thread (bobbins work perfectly), pins, needles (I like to prethread a few for instant access), and whatever else you or your recipient might like to have on hand: safety pins, buttons, embroidery floss, snaps, thimble, tape your inner Girl Scout!

Here's the kit with some basic sewing supplies added.

I sort of like the recycled candy tin look, but you could even paint or emboss the lid if you really want to make this a special gift. It makes an ideal gift for even your nonsewing friends and family, and they'll thank you the next time a button falls off or a seam comes undone!

You can leave the outside of the tin as is, or refinish it as you like.


posted in: , sewing kit

Comments (15)

JaceeMarie writes: SO cute!!! i'm going to make one for competition season for dance, its the one thing i need!!!
Posted: 6:53 pm on January 24th
GinghamSkies writes: Thanks for this! It was just what I was looking for - came in handy for a Christmas gift. My finished tin can be seen here:
Posted: 10:09 pm on January 5th
CdGautreaux writes: Such a great idea! I have a bunch of these tins someplace...
Posted: 2:02 pm on July 24th
motherann writes: I have been making those for years. I have used tea tins and cigar tins. I use the felt that has the adhesive already on it. This makes the project much easier. All my sewing and craft friends ask me to make them one. It is so fun to see their face when I hand one to them.:)
Posted: 12:43 pm on July 24th
samsstuff writes: Cute idea & a great way to re-use those candy tins! Thanks for posting this cute tutorial.
Posted: 9:22 pm on July 23rd
Luv2Sew42 writes: This idea is great, perfect to carry in a purse, tote bag, or a suitcase.!
Posted: 8:19 pm on July 23rd
gozion writes: very cute, very cute, i plan to make some. right now i am making little felt books that are sewing kits, differnt kinds of needles, little pockets to put a tiny pair of those "bird-handled scissors, even though they're not the greatest, they work & are such a swell touch. so there. my sewing kit making for gifts. even my first praactice one coming out so well, the friend who its for loves it!! it still not done, taking me a long time as i am making it gorgeous & lots of hand sewing. the tin. maybe i find a tin & try that...anyways. i really like it.....
Posted: 7:49 pm on July 23rd
nhquiltah writes: here's an idea for the outside of the tin:
lightly sand the outside, wipe clean
brush a coat of All Purpose Sealer onto the outsie
brush on acrylic paint for the bottom, top & sides, apply as many as you like; let dry between coats
Apply matte varnish (I like the spray kind)

I printed out a small paper piece block from my EQ program and made a cover/top for the outside using the same construction method as above for the inside pincushion (instead of an pincushion inside I used a magnet to hold the needles).
Posted: 5:10 pm on July 23rd
rparks writes: Instead of doing a little stuffed pincushion, you could glue a magnet to the inside of the lid. I save advertising ones to use for this sort of thing. Follow the same steps as for the pincushion, but instead of using cardboard, use the magnet.
Posted: 5:00 pm on July 23rd
kltarbox writes: This is a great idea. For the man in your life (or sportswoman) a survival kit can also be fashioned out of the same tin. Instead of sewing notions include a few band-aids, an alcohol wipe, some waterproof matches, fishing line, a hook, a razor, a button compass and any other survival items that fit. I have used these survival tins while hunting with my husband. Everyone in our group gets one at the start of our outings. These are also good to keep in the car or purse.
Posted: 4:58 pm on July 23rd
IdahoFaith writes: I agree with 1BlindPotter, I have collected not only the Russell Stover and Whitman tins, but several other shapes of times. Now I know what I can do with them. Thank you for sharing this idea.
Posted: 4:58 pm on July 23rd
atticartist writes: Great idea, I am gonna make some to give as gifts during the year ahead! I think this would be awesome for college kids or anyone! Thanks for the idea.
Posted: 10:08 am on January 12th
1BlindPotter writes: I have collected Russell Stover and Whitman tins for years, and now I know something to use them for!
Posted: 9:28 am on January 3rd
lucybug33 writes: great idea!
I always have co workers needing a stitch up somewhere!
Posted: 8:58 pm on December 31st
walkinthewoodsllc writes: What a cute idea! And super functional too!
Posted: 7:20 am on December 27th
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