Retreat Packing List

These are just suggestions. Depending on your goals for retreat you may pack differently. This list can help you not forget the most important things and is a great place to start.

Remember to label things that might get mixed up with others. Some masking tape with your name on it for rulers and other things can make sure your ruler goes home with you. Go ahead and put your name on things using a Sharpie or permanent marker. Things to label are rules, scissors, extension cords, irons, etc.

Retreat packing list

Sewing machine stuff

  • Sewing machine, recently cleaned and oiled ( bring your manual
    if needed)
  • Foot pedal
  • Power cord
  • Machine feet you might need: ¼” foot, all-purpose foot, walking foot, free motion foot, zipper foot, couching foot, applique foot, etc.
  • Extra machine needles, specialty needles if needed
  • Lots of bobbins, pre-wound at home if possible
  • Screwdriver
  • Lint brush
  • Machine oil
  • Fabric scraps for testing tension or other issues
  • Machine extension table
  • Portable machine table
  • Special cushion or chair (some quilters prefer to bring their favorite chair, it’s okay if you want to and can)
  • Backup sewing machine especially if yours tends to be temperamental

Projects & tools

  • Fabric for your projects, organized into separate bags (pre-cut at home if possible to save space and sewing time)
  • Small, fun projects for when your energy starts flagging, like zip pouches or tote bags
  • Scraps or a bit of extra background fabric for each project in case of cutting or sewing mistakes
  • Instructions or pattern for each project
  • Thread for each project
  • Notions for each project (zippers, buttons, interfacing, batting, etc.)
  • Handwork project in case you get tired of machine sewing or it malfunctions
  • List Your own projects, kits, and any special supplies needed for each
    • __________________________________________________________________
    • __________________________________________________________________
    • __________________________________________________________________
    • __________________________________________________________________
    • __________________________________________________________________
    • __________________________________________________________________
    • __________________________________________________________________


  • Rotary cutter + extra blades
  • Empty rotary blade box for used blades and used/broken pins and needles
  • Small Cutting Mat
  • Large scissors
  • Small thread snips
  • Paper scissors
  • Rulers, an assortment that you use often
  • Specialty rulers or templates needed, like triangles or X Blocks
  • Seam ripper
  • Tweezers
  • Pincushion and pins
  • Needles and thimble, if doing handwork
  • Needle Threader
  • Fabric marking pens like chalk pencils, frixon pen etc
  • Measuring tape
  • Masking or painter’s tape
  • Scotch tape
  • Fabric Basting glue and/or washable glue stick, if needed
  • Basting spray or safety pins, batting, quilt backing (if basting)
  • Portable ironing board or mat
  • Little iron
  • Ironing spray or starch, like Best Press, packed in double zip-top bags in case of leaks
  • Design wall (batting, tablecloth, etc.)
  • Extra Light
  • Magnifier

Other stuff

  • Fusible Web
  • Thread catcher and scraps catcher (small fabric buckets work great)
  • Tool Caddy
  • Paper,  Sketchbook or notebook
  • Pens or pencils
  • Sharpie
  • Post-it notes
  • Ziplock bags
  • Freezer Paper
  • Batting
  • Extension cord and power bar

Clothing and Personal Comfort

Think about layering, retreat centers can be cold or hot and with so many people together it is impossible to please everyone. You may be hot or cold. Plan for both.

  • Pajamas
  • Tops
  • Pants
  • Sweater or sweatshirt
  • Comfortable Shoes
  • Slippers
  • Underwear
  • Bras
  • Socks
  • Pillow (Some people sleep better with their own pillows)
  • Music and headphones (great if you need a break from other talking or to focus, your phone might cover this item)
  • Glasses


  • Prescriptions, painkillers
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Band-aids
  • Nail file
  • Tissues
  • Hand lotion
  • Lip balm
  • Feminine/masculine hygiene products
  • Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Body Soap
  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste and Toothbrush
  • Face products such as toner and moisturizer
  • Phone Charger
  • Hot pack
  • Stain Remover Pen
  • Camera and Battery (your phone might cover this item)
  • Flashlight (in case power goes out)

Might Need

Find out if the retreat center provides bedding, towels, blow dryer, extension cords, large cutting mat, iron, or ironing board.

If you’ll be walking between buildings, don’t forget umbrella, flashlight, and boots/outdoor shoes.

Snacks and/or Food

Some retreats include a meal plan. Sometimes meals are done by the retreat participants. Make sure you know if you will be cooking a meal and what to bring. Even if the retreat center is catering, it is always nice to have some snacks. Bring something healthy (fruit, veggies, nuts, and cheese) and bring something fun. Take bottled water if you wish. Chocolate is always welcomed by other quilters.

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