Preparing to Sew in a New Country

10 Aug

I thought I’d do a little post about how I’ve managed the move to the U.K. in terms of my sewing space and materials. Moving countries in itself is a bit of a nightmare in terms of packing, and even more so when you’re limited to 20kg (~44lb) weight so what I packed was determined by:

  1. The weight and size of the item
  2. How costly it might be to buy
  3. Would I need it straight away or could I wait until I needed it for a project
  4. What projects I already had planned

In the end I was so pressed for time* that I packed mostly by gut feel but it worked. Here’s what made the cut and why:

I used a small ziplock bag to house all the bits and pieces together.

The Basics:

Pins, measuring tape, hand sewing needles, chalk wheel, fabric scissors. These were the essentials, chosen for necessity.

Small Items:

Bias binding, twill tape, self covered buttons. Chosen because they’re useful and small enough not to add to the weight.

Project Specific:

Black, white and navy thread because they’re the colours I use most. Turquoise, cobalt, magenta thread for specific fabric I had packed.

Cost Saving:

I’d heard horror stories about the cost of notions in the U.K. so I packed some zips as insurance although when I arrived I realised they were mostly black, dress-length, invisible ones – useful just not a lot of options.

(Sewaholic: Pendrell blouse, Colette: Sorbetto tank, Macaron dress, Burdastyle: Jenny pencil skirt, Butterick: 4985 shirt)

The Patterns:

Choosing the patterns to pack was probably the hardest  – especially as I had bought a bunch of new ones just before I decided to move. I tried to stick to pattens that I had either already adjusted like the ones above or new patterns that had simple shapes like below. I figured these would be the most adaptable and wearable choices.

(Simplcity: 2562 Wide Leg Pants, 2512 Cynthia Rowley Skirt, McCall’s: 6318 Dresses, Vogue: 1025 Anne Klein Dress, 1247 Rachel Comey Blouse & Skirt, 1241 Kay Unger Cocktail dress)

The Fabric:

I tried to only pack fabric I had plans (and therefore patterns) for. In addition to 2m of denim and a piece of floral cotton for boxer shorts here’s what I packed:

Synthetic sheeny satiny type fabric in Cobalt Blue (<– sorry I’m useless with fabric types) for a cocktail dress.

Gorgeous Raspberry Silk/Cotton blend for a sorbetto.

Black cotton voile for a sleeveless Pendrell (view c).

Turquoise swiss dot cotton for a blouse (View B).

The Big Purchase:

The one thing I really couldn’t pack was my machine and being on a ramen noodle type budget I had to stay basic. Work gave me a little money as a leaving gift and I spent it on a new machine. So without further ado,


She’s an Elna 2100 bought for £120 from She’s not perfect but she tries hard and covers all the basic functions, plus she’s got a very colourful outlook with all that pink and purple.

So there it is everything I bought with me!

*(I actually would have missed my flight if the unbelievably AMAZING hire car lady hadn’t actually driven me to the airport)

7 Responses to “Preparing to Sew in a New Country”

  1. little betty August 11, 2011 at 12:11 am #

    Congrats on the new machine and I’m amazed at your neat packing. You’ll be up and running again in no time.

  2. mujerboricua August 11, 2011 at 9:55 am #

    I can’t imagine moving my sewing stuff back to the States when the time goes! Well done for packing the most important stuff.

  3. Catherine Daze August 11, 2011 at 7:51 pm #

    gosh, I can’t imagine whittling the pattern collection down like that. Now I’m thinking about the pattern equivalent of Desert Island Discs.

    The new machine must be fun though. I’ve been very happy with my Elna.

    • lazystitcher August 11, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

      Haha… if I’d had more budget I would have posted them over but I’m trying to keep compact. My problem now is making sure I don’t buy too many when it comes time to leave again!

  4. Brumby August 11, 2011 at 8:17 pm #

    Look forward to seeing the new projects Ellie produces! Can I also just put it out there for sweet karma points to the car hire lady – bless her, and bless you cos you must have had a few in the bank….

    • lazystitcher August 11, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

      I know – it was the most surreal moment. I’d had an absolute mare in the final 24 hours. It involved moving boxes to a storage unit up 2 flights of stairs one box at a time because the freight lift was broken, finally clearing out of the flat at 2am the night before I flew, driving from Onehunga to my Aunts in Waiwera, getting a couple of hours sleep then that moment where I knew I wasn’t going to make it on time. With all the bullshit (‘scuse the french) that is going on in London at the moment it reminds you that there are amazingly good people out there. (ps. If you need a rental car in Auckland, they were Bargain Rental Cars on Onehunga Mall and it was only $33 for 24 hours). 🙂


  1. Sewing in a New Country – British Buys « Lazy Stitching - August 13, 2011

    […] addition to what was packed in my suitcase, I thought I’d share what I’ve bought since […]

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