Sewing Retreat Packing List

Good morning everyone!

This week I turned in my registration form for an upcoming craft retreat. This will be my third time at this retreat, and I have gotten a lot accomplished both times I’ve been there.

One of the ways to make sure you get things done at retreat (or any quilt related outing), is to make sure you have everything you need packed along with you.

I know that late winter is a popular time for retreats, so I thought it would be a good day to go over a packing list.

Here are the main “Tools” I take along with me:

-Sewing machine

-Extension Table

-Assorted presser feet (1/4″, walking foot, free motion, standard”

-Thread (at least two spools)

-Seam Ripper!

-Bobbin (I pre-wind several)

-Extra sewing machine needles

-Sewing machine maintenance supplies (screwdriver, brush, oil, manual)


-Rotary Cutter

-Extra Rotary Blades

-Cutting Mat

-Rotary Rulers (6×24, 6″ square, specialty rulers if needed)


-Straight Pins

-Safety Pins

-Binding Clips

-Starch Spray

-Fabric pencil

The “tools” list gets more refined when I decide what project(s) I’ll be taking with me. For example, If I know I won’t be doing any free motion quilting, I leave my free motion foot at home.

When I decide on my projects, I do as much pre-cutting as I can, so that I can limit the number of rulers I will need to transport back and forth.

If possible, I do all of my cutting before the retreat, so I can leave my rotary cutter, mat and rulers at home.

If my primary project is to sew blocks, I will kit up the blocks before I go.

I also make sure I have a leader/ender project ready to go.

Along with my primary project, and the leader-ender, I’ve been bringing a “contingency” project. Something to work on if I get way more done than I thought I would. My contingency project usually involves foundation paper piecing. I have worked on string blocks, crumb blocks and even some Wild and Goosey blocks. So, I make sure I have foundation papers cut and ready to go. This project can stay in the car unless it is needed. The reason I use a foundation paper piecing project (try saying that three times fast) handy is because they USUALLY don’t require any precutting, and they force me to slow down a bit and enjoy the process. I usually have a box of crumbs and strings in the house, so that just gets added to the packing list.

Some things I DO NOT take with me are:

-Batting (if I plan on quilting something it gets basted before I go)

-My entire fabric stash. I take what I need for a couple projects. No sense in getting side tracked by other ideas.

-Candy (blasphemous, I know). The retreat I have been going to provides great meals, and I don’t need all of the extra sugar.

-My laptop. I am there to quilt and to see everyone. I don’t need extra devices there to suck me in. I also (gasp!) uninstall Netflix from my phone for the weekend.

Am I missing anything? What are your “must haves” for quilt vacations?


9 thoughts on “Sewing Retreat Packing List

  1. I love retreats!

    Beside your sewing machine … make sure you take your foot pedal and cord! I have been to a few retreats where these are forgotten!
    I always take all the fabric for a project … that way, if I make a mistake, I have more to cut out to finish the project.
    A flannel-back table cloth is great to use as a design wall. If you can’t put it on a wall or the floor, a bed works … and you can always roll it up and transport it next to your machine for easy piecing.

    Have fun at your retreat!!! And be sure to tell us all about it!

    Happy retreating!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like a well rehearsed list. My only addition would be a handwork project………handpiecing or knitting for when you just need to take a break and curl up in a comfy chair with a cup of tea. I find I do need to get away from the machine for a bit at retreats to give my back a break. 🥴 Carol Andrews


  3. Linda

    A couple of things that my quilt retreat organizer always mentions are:

    *The foot pedal for the machine. (Amazing how easy it is to forget this vital part of our machine ),

    *The user manual for your machine. (One never knows when something will go wrong or simply confound us about our machine.)

    *Waking shoes, so you can give yourself a movement break.

    *A supportive pillow or something to sit on should the chairs not be just right!

    *I also include a small LED flashlight, should the power go out, and umbrella (my retreat we walk from our “working” room and our sleep accommodations).

    *I bring my own coffee mug and tea. The mug identifies that drink as “mine” and it does not tip over like paper or styrofoam cups can do.

    *I know you mentioned no lap top. I do bring along audio books to listen to as I quilt particularly in those hours, often the afternoon, when we are all intensely working and not chatting.. Yeah, this year I will have have an I-Pod and will not need any larger technology to provide listening while I piece or quilt.

    Lastly, the freedom to say, I am tired of quilting, cutting, pieces and to get up and take a nap. A refreshing snooze can sometimes make the finished product better.


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