What's Allowed in a TSA Sewing Kit?

Are sewing supplies allowed in an airplane's passenger area?

Sewing Supplies Allowed in Carry On Luggage
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Many of the quilting supplies you might want to take along on a commercial airline flight are allowed in TSA sewing kits. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Web site lists only a few sewing supplies that are prohibited in carry-on luggage.

Some sewing supplies are allowed but limited to certain types and sizes. Let's take a look at what you can and cannot take with you in TSA sewing kit.


Metal scissors with pointed tips are allowed in carry-on luggage if the blades are shorter than 4 inches long.

Since rules sometimes change, and the ultimate decision of what either allowed or is confiscated is left up to each security post or airline, play it safe and take nail clippers or a dental floss container to clip your threads and yarns. If you must take scissors, it might be best to stick with a blunt-nosed pair.

Any type of cutter with a sharp blade should be stowed safely in your checked baggage such as rotary cutters and all types of craft knives, even teeny seam rippers that have cutting blades.

The TSA doesn't mention restrictions against sewing needles.

Knitting Needles, Needlepoint Tools, and Circular Thread Cutters

Knitting needles are allowed in carry-on baggage (go figure since knitting needles could be deadly in the wrong hands), but circular thread cutters often used for needlework are not. If a cutter includes a blade, put it in your checked baggage.

Sewing Machines as Carry-On Luggage

Sewing machines are allowed as one of your carry-on parcels, but the TSA's wording makes it clear that acceptance is up to security personnel. I suggest you check ahead to make sure the machine will fit in either the overhead bin or under the seat of the specific airline you'll be flying.

I know many quilters who regularly fly with their sewing machines, and I recently flew with a Singer Featherweight with no problems at all. In fact, the TSA crew thought the machine was 'cute' and everyone took a look.

A staff member did take the machine to a separate table and removed it from its case for a close inspection. Be sure to repack an inspected machine to make sure it remains protected during potential bumps during the flight.

I removed the sewing machine's spool holder and put it in my checked suitcase (along with the needle). That step probably wasn't necessary, but I wanted to be sure that a sharp item on the machine wouldn't create an issue, and securing both in a well-padded area in my checked bag helped protect the entire machine from bumps in flight.

Check the TSA's Web site before you travel to review a current list of prohibited carry-on item. If you aren't sure about an item, call the security office at the airports where you must go through screening and ask about specific items. Jot down the name of the person you talked with, and mention the name and date of the talk if screening personnel have another opinion about the item you wish to take as a carry-on.