Finally it’s Laura’s turn to answer a question from the ASS Gurus, although be warned, the rest of us may continue with tips on this question as it’s a goodie.

Dear ASS Gurus,

What would you say the essentials are to pack for Sewing Summit? I need as much space in my luggage as I can get for fabric and notions on the flight home.
Flying High

Well, living in Australia where it’s almost cheaper to fly to the US to buy fabric than buy it locally or pay postage, Laura has been thinking really hard about this one. So here is her answer.

Dear Flying High,
It doesn’t really matter what you take to Sewing Summit – it’s what you can dump there to give you more space to come home with that matters. So what do you do with this stuff??? Especially those jellyrolls you’ve been unable to resist peeking at and cannot get into a neat order again. Never fear, I’ve got the solution to all your problems here.

First off, pack those old clothes you’ve been meaning to donate to the Good Samaritans. You can dump these at the end of the trip or when they get dirty (or donate/sell them to your roommate as ‘vintage’) and maximise the space in your luggage.

To dress them up (because appearances are important), also pack a few fabric flower brooches (preferably ones that look homemade – you can give these away as gifts at the end of Summit) and an infinity scarf (remembering you can also use this as a weapon as I mentioned last week) to dress them up with. This will do for clothes.

You also need to pack several yards of water-soluble stabiliser (see below for measurements)

  1. First of all, measure yourself from waist to ankles. This is the width of soluble stabiliser you need.
  2. Then measure your hip circumference (remember, bigger is better so don’t freak out. Eating jelly-rolls will help you increase your jellyrolls). Add half to this measurement. This is the length required.
  3. Cut 2 pieces of soluble stabiliser width x length. Lay these out on the floor/bed of your hotel room.
  4. Unroll jelly rolls/ charm squares / other scraps of fabric. Lay these on one layer of the stabiliser. Make sure there are no gaping holes. You can overlap jellyrolls with strips going down or across. How much you can include depends on your size. This is where fatter is better. Eat lots before sewing summit to maximise your potential. (Layering more than 5 layers of fabric is getting a tad greedy though).
  5. Put the second sheet of water-soluble stabiliser on top and use a light steam iron to press the sheets together. “Borrow” your room mate’s travel sewing kit to tack lightly through all layers around the edges and through the middle. Attach one (or more if you’ve really done your eating homework) jelly roll strip across the top as a tie

Ta-dah! You have your own wrap skirt to wear on the plane home! All you’ll need to do is whack it on a 15 min wash cycle to get rid of that stabiliser, remove the tacking stitches and you have worn several jelly rolls home.


To maximise the amount of thread you can get home, you also need to pack:

  • a pair of needle nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  • some 18-20 guage jewellery wire
  • as many earring hooks as you have holes
  • a neoprene / tigertail necklaces (longer the better, without beads)

Thread the spools onto a piece of wire and twist a 3 leaf clover in the end. Turn the end over an cut the wire off.

Thread the end of the wire through the loopy bit of the earring hook and tuck the end in. Presto, Aurifil earrings. (I’d recommend using the smaller spools if you don’t want to look like a National Geographic African lady with your earlobes touching your shoulders by the time you get home.

Thread as many spools as you can fit onto your neoprene necklaces. There is no limit here – we know that you can never have too much bling – or too much Aurifil.

So now you are ready with your washaway-stabiliser sarong and your thread jewellery to bid a gleeful ‘up yours’ to the luggage-allowance rules and travel home in style.

Hope this helps. 


ASS Gurus

PS Don’t forget you can post your dirty washing home.  If labelled clearly as such, customs never seem to check…