Are you a ballet dancer? Do you have a ballet student in your life? Are you looking for a little gift for a dancer that is cheap AND will impress? Maybe you should make a handy sewing kit!
Sewing kits are a must for dancers. They are easy to throw together, and most items can be found at a dollar store or around the house, so you won’t have to spend much cash on things that will be sitting alongside sweaty tights. Sewing kits are also a great way to impress ballet teachers, and could very well secure a lead role in the next production. Or perhaps get you promoted from Shrub #3 to Party Onlooker! When I see a kid with a sewing kit? Well, it really helps me look past that underwear sticking out from under a bodysuit.
Let’s begin. First, you’ll need a small tin. You could use something from the dollar store, a little candy tin, or a vintage tin you
stole from a senile relative bought on Etsy. It should be something small and sturdy – bonus points if it’s cute. Tins will generally hold up to a good tossing in a ballet bag. (Make sure the lid fits tightly.) At a mere 3 inches square (and only 1.5 inches deep), my kit takes up no room in a dance bag.
Safety pins in a variety of sizes really come in handy when things need to be held up or together. Like, for example, when a bodysuit strap explodes. And sewing needles? Well, they make sewing way easier.
To make safety pins easy to find, glue a magnet to the underside of the tin’s lid. (I used an old fridge magnet.) Attach a strip of felt by gluing only the ends to the lid, and you’ve got an easy way to secure straight pins and sewing needles. See how the sharp ends are tucked under the felt?
If there’s anything I’ve learned after teaching for 20+ years, it’s that you can never have too many pairs of scissors or too much thread in your dance bag. Pink thread is a must for female dancers, black/white/beige is great for guys and gals. Teeny-tiny scissors can be found in cheap sewing kits and at craft stores. Throw in a seam ripper and needle threader if you can.
Buttons, snaps, hooks and eyes are a fast-fix for nearly any wardrobe malfunction, and are often overlooked in sewing kits. Show up for recital with these in your bag and your teacher will finally forgive you for that stunt you pulled on stage last year.
You don’t have to use a super-cool tiger measuring tape – a little fabric one will serve just fine. Pointe shoe ribbons/elastics and elastics for ballet slippers can be found at your local dance store or online. I like to bundle these things together with hair elastics, as you can never have too many hair elastics at a dance studio. If you/your dancer doesn’t wear pointe shoes, leave out the pointe ribbon/elastic. For male dancers, emergency elastic should match the colour of his ballet slippers – white, black and tan are the most common colours.
Once you’ve collected your supplies, jam ’em into the tin and you’re good to go! Throw that little tin into a dance bag, and you’re prepared for any shoe/wardrobe emergency that might come your way. Except for toilet emergencies. A number of my students have dropped their bodysuits into toilets over the years. A sewing kit can’t help you here.