If you are going on a quilting retreat or simply want to take some embroidery or needlepoint along with you to pass the time, you may be concerned about carrying your sewing kit with you on the plane. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is concerned about any object that has the potential of being used as a weapon, so some of your favorite sewing items may be forbidden in carry-on luggage.

Research the rules ahead of time and use common sense to prevent delays in security screening or having your favorite scissors confiscated. ‌Remember that if your favorite tool is forbidden in your carry-on, you can always pack it in your checked luggage‌.

Tips for the Flying Quilter:

  • Cut enough patches of fabric at home to last you through the wait in the airport and the plane ride.
  • Cut lengths of yarn or embroidery thread for cross stitch projects on the plane.
  • Scissors may or may not be allowed, depending on the TSA agent you encounter, so don't risk losing your favorite pair of antique sewing shears.
  • Make a pre-cut package of all the pieces you need and store them in zip-top bags to keep them together.

Pack your rotary cutter and seam ripper in your checked bags along with the cutting mat and ruler, if you plan to do quilting on your trip.

Avoid any circular thread cutters with hidden blades. TSA rules prohibit any round razor blades or cutters that have a blade that is concealed inside a handle. This means that even a sewing machine can be packed carry-on, as long as hidden blades are removed.

Purchase rounded scissors to pack in your carry-on‌. While longer shears are problematic, short snips (under 4 inches from the pivot point) that are obviously meant to cut threads generally pose no problem with security.


Nail clippers are great make-shift thread cutters and are allowed in carry-on baggage,

  • Push straight pins and sewing needles into a pincushion before packing them with your other sewing supplies.
  • Pins and needles are not prohibited on planes‌, but they will survive the trip more safely in a pincushion than loose in a box.
  • Safety pins‌ are a great choice for planes.
  • Knitting needles and crochet hooks are also TSA-approved for carry-on bags, but should be packed and sheathed along with other permitted sharp objects to prevent accidental injury to airport security and baggage handlers.