My aunt is a seamstress and occasionally travels by plane. Though I have flown before myself, I have never had to bring a sewing kit on a plane with me, let alone a sewing machine.
If you are a seamstress yourself, you may be wondering if this is even allowed. Is it even possible to bring the entire thing onboard a plane? Are sewing needles allowed in carry-on luggage? Nobody wants their tools of the trade taken away.
Well, feel free to breathe out with relief, because the short answer is — yes, they are allowed. But of course, as it is the case with any piece of luggage, there are certain rules to follow.
After having talked to my aunt and having done some research, I came up with answers to the above-mentioned questions.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allows you to bring sewing and knitting needles onboard a plane. You can place both types in your carry-on luggage, as well as your checked luggage.
However, you should pack your needles with care. One way is to push the straight pins and needles into a pincushion before you pack them. While this is not an explicit TSA rule, you should do this to make sure they survive the trip. It’s a given you want your sewing kit to remain in one piece.
To comply with the TSA rules, you must conceal all the blades you have in your checked luggage. This applies not only to rotary cutters and craft knives but also to the small seam rippers. Despite their size, they are still needlepoint tools that contain blades.
However, you can still bring your scissors in your carry-on luggage. You have to be cautious, though. The scissors you bring have to be smaller than 4 inches. Preferably, you want to take a blunt-nosed pair.
As an alternative to sewing supplies, you can bring nail clippers or a dental floss container to cut your threads. Go with this alternative if you want to play it safe. Rules sometimes change, and airlines have the final say.
Now that I have this covered, let us consider what you are allowed to do with your tools during the flight.
In order to cross stitch on a plane, you need two of your tools. Obviously, these are the needles and the scissors. As you know by now, you can bring both tools in your carry-on luggage.
Still, there are some rules you have to follow:
1. The needles you bring must be embroidery needles with rounded ends.
2. Make sure you enclose them in a hard shell. The best way to go about this is to have them in a clear shell. This way, the airport staff will see them.
3. Do not bring too many needles, as you will clearly not need them all.
As far as scissors are concerned, try finding a pair that fits the following parameters. It is best that they are rounded off on a 1/1 curve and are less than 1 inch from the pivot point. And if you are not entirely sure about this, remember that a nail clipper should do the trick.
Last but not least, place the tools in a transparent bag to make them easy to inspect. As long as you follow these rules, you will be allowed to cross stitch on a plane.
As previously mentioned, many of the supplies you will need are allowed in TSA sewing kits. The list goes as follows:
Again, you have to pack any tool that has a blade (circular thread cutters or other) in your checked baggage.
Of course, you can. Just make sure to follow the rules related to sewing needles on a plane. Above all else, make sure all other equipment complies with the TSA regulations above.
Pack one or two needles along with you in a flight carry-on bag. Additionally, you may want to pack a needle book or an extra package of needles in your checked suitcase.
Remember that your embroidery project should be comfortable to carry as well. Either that or you can opt for a smaller hoop you can easily hold in one hand. Such a hoop will not take up much space. As a result, you will be able to pack it into the small airline seat.
Finally, let us talk about the biggest tool you might need — the sewing machine. As is the case with other tools, you can take it with you on the plane.
The TSA says you can bring it as part of your checked luggage. Read this article to find out more about properly packing the machine before checking it as your luggage.
However, you should also be available to take it with you as carry-on luggage. But before you opt for the latter, contact the airline. This is to make sure the item will fit in the overhead bin or underneath your seat.
Sewing machines are not all that cheap, so you might want to take measures to protect yours.
Hopefully now, all your doubts have been cleared. I hope this article helps you prepare your sewing supplies and tools for your upcoming trips.
If you are interested to know more about TSA’s regulations, check out their What Can I Bring page. If it still leaves you wondering, call the security office at that particular airport.
Now that you know what you can and cannot bring, I wish you a safe and happy flight!
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