What is a housewife, you might ask - not the cooking, cleaning, apron-wearing homemaker in this case -
"While not exactly a work-box or work-basket, the housewife or sewing kit should also be included as a part of an article on sewing necessities. There were many instances where the larger work-boxes were not practical; while traveling, a lady might need sewing implements for a clothing repair or a soldier would need a small sewing kit. Patterns for these small sewing kits were included in most lady’s magazines and the Christian Commission distributed a pattern for a soldier’s housewife...[Housewives could be made from] leather, stamped paper, silk, ribbon, satin, velvet, white dimity, Holland, or any other material, even common print" (Mescher 12).Excerpt from: "The Case of the Lost Thimble: Work-boxes, Work-baskets, Housewives and Traveling Sewing Boxes" by Virginia Mescher. Fascinating and well-researched paper - totally recommended!
My new sewing kit is copied from the one the dressmaker made for the shop at the museum. Completely hand-sewn, the housewife is made from scraps of reproduction fabric and linen. (All of the prints were used in previous projects from shortgowns to the Sophia wrapper project!) It features two pockets and a pincushion at the end stuffed with wool.
|All rolled up.|
Tutorial to make your own fast, easy & fun "flower" or "pumpkin" shaped pincushions here: http://whipup.net/2006/03/01/stickin-it-to-the-pincushion/.
Helpful Links Referenced:
- "The Case of the Lost Thimble: Work-boxes, Work-baskets, Housewives and Traveling Sewing Boxes" by Virginia Mescher: http://www.raggedsoldier.com/workbox_page.pdf
- Fast & fun pincushion tutorial: http://whipup.net/2006/03/01/stickin-it-to-the-pincushion/