Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Pretty New Sewing Kit

This project totally gets the prize for fastest completed. Ever. I somehow managed to get it from start to finish in just a few days! Granted, I did take the embroidery to a pedicure with me -- and it got a couple sidelong glances -- but I was dedicated and the work paid off. Now I have a lovely little sewing kit to carry along.

So why a sewing kit?

Since I have been getting more into hand sewing, I have put away the machine and ventured out of the sewing room. I'm much more mobile with only a needle and thread, which is great, but now I have to have something to carry by sewing bits in. 

For some months I have used a hussif, or housewife, from William Booth Draper. It was excellent, only it was really too small for some of the things I use, especially for embroidery, like a larger scissors or a pencil, etc.

Housewife from William Booth Draper
So I decided to sew my own. 

Only I couldn't just take old scrappies and piece them together. I decided to order some lovely silk taffeta and make a sewing kit with inspiration from the beautiful wallets of the 1700's.

I was especially inspired by this wallet from France:

France, 1775-1800
Silk Taffeta embroidered with silk
MFA Boston

On the back side of the original wallet there is a little love poem.

I took inspiration from this for the embroidery and colors. The inside, I designed to fit what I needed space for: a pocket for miscellaneous bits (pencils, scissors, chalk, wax, ruler, spools of thread, etc), a pincushion and a little wool for my needles.

The wallet is blue silk taffeta with linen lining over pieces of cardboard for stability. It is sewn with linen and silk threads and is accented with silk ribbon in two sizes.

I didn't copy anything from the 18th century, per se, but I also didn't use anything or any techniques that wouldn't have been available to a lady who needed a sewing kit 200 years ago. As I designed and sewed, I kept in my mind, "If I was alive then, and I needed this, what would I have done?" It was an interesting exercise in historical inspiration.

The pincushion detaches to I can move it around my workspace.

It's a little wrinkly, but after looking at the original I don't feel so bad.
It's a little wrinkly too!

The kit closes with silk ribbon ties.

I hope everyone's having a lovely week! Xx, C.


  1. So lovely! I've been planning to make something similar for a long time.

  2. Wow, just wow!! That is so lovely and impressive!! And it's inspired me to pick my embroidery back up again.

  3. Thank you thank you! I love embroidering. I'm amazed at the more I do, the faster it gets :)

  4. What a wonderful project with excellent results! Your post has inspired me!

  5. Thanks a bunch! I'm always happy to hear I inspired something! Yay :)

  6. It's really lovely! I love the embroidery. I've recently bought 'Jane Austen's Sewing Box' and it has instructions on how to make a housewife. And your post was very inspiring

  7. Very beautiful and practical. I like how you designed it to meet your needs and not following a pre-described organization. It makes it very personal which a lady would have done since it is made by her and not something mass produced. A friend made one for me for a gift and I love it. Like you I need a bigger one though, so you have inspired me to take this in hand. Cheers

  8. Oh, My God! So wonderful! I want one! Your work is not only beautiful, but you produce it so quickly. That's the wonderful get to use it practically immediately!

  9. Thank you, ladies! I am loving having it. It is very useful.

  10. I thought the housewife from Booth was going to be so much bigger! I have one myself and I love it but it definitely can't carry my big Gingher shears around. ;)

    But what it does help me with is making sure I have everything I need and nothing I don't. Usually at an event I'm doing small hand sewing--do I need my big Ginghers? No. My next item is to get some nice thread winders so I don't have to carry modern spools of thread around, which will create more room!

    1. Me too! The one from William Booth is so cute, but definitely a little teeny.

      When I measured out the pattern for this kit I made it wide enough specifically for my Gingher shears. I don't use them so much after the initial fabric cutting, but I wanted this kit to be quite roomy enough for all my main supplies.

      Actually I just went to go cut out pieces for some new stays and I just grabbed my kit and went. It has my scissors, pins, pencils... everything I need even for pattern drafting as well as hand sewing. I'm totally in love.