Vintage Sewing Boxes

Vintage sewing boxes offer individuals a most interesting glimpse into the history of sewing. Before the production of mass clothing, practically every woman knew about sewing and altering clothes for their household. Required to master these skills from an early age, these boxes allowed a convenient way to store sewing accessories.

Made of fabric or leather, the earliest vintage sewing boxes looked simplistic. However, by the eighteenth century, they gained popularity in Europe, with local artisans such as metalworkers, craftsmen, and jewelers requested to design them for the aristocratic ladies of the court. This led to more beautiful and intricate designs. Boxes were made of rare woods or leather on the outside and inlaid with ivory, mother of pearl and gemstones. The interior linings consisted of silk or velvet. The boxes came in a variety of sizes, with the larger ones containing several sections or layers.

Vintage AS Strommen Bruk Hamar Danish Modern Accordian Sewing Box FULL

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Antique Wood Sewing Cabinet Knitting Box Basket w Tray Old Vtg Furniture

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Vintage Wood Accordion Sewing Craft Box Basket Tray Folding Fold Out Cantilever

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vintage SALT BOX FLOUR SEWING BOX SOLID WOOD FOOTED RARE ESTATE FARM

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140616 Vintage Japanese lacquered wooden Saihoubako sewing box chest workbox

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Auth HERMES Kelly 28 Vintage Box Calf Gold HW Outside sewing Handbag F S used

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Vintage Antique Sewing Companion Bobbin Stand Box Sewers Wooden Mahogany Wood

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VINTAGE 1 8 X ART DECO MID CENTURY MODERN SEWING BOX BOTE OUVRAGE BAUHAUS

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Sewing Box Large Vintage Wooden Accordion Fold Out Mint Condition

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VINTAGE WOOD EXPANDABLE FOLD OUT DOVETAIL SEWING BOX STAND

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Sanrio Little Twin Stars Sewing Box Sewing Kit in Plastic Case Vintage 1976 NEW

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Vintage Ivory Basket Weave Wil hold Wilson Sewing Box Full Thread Trays Cream

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Vintage Wood ACCORDION SEWING Box 3 Tier Storage Poland Antique Basket

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Vintage Lutterloh Sewing System New In Box 280 Garment Patterns

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Vintage Little Miss Sewing Machine Aircraft Metal Products 50s Box Instructions

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Vintage Antique Wood 6 Drawers Sewing Case Chest Tansu Japanese circa 1900 ETC

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Vintage Singer Automatic Zigzagger 301 In Box Sewing Machine Attachment 160986

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Vintage Singer Sewing Machine with Wooden Box Cover AB310293

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By the nineteenth century, industrialization and the rise of the middle class created a need for a less expensive and more practical basket. It needed to survive adverse conditions and be durable and waterproof. Steel and notions made of steel were wrapped tightly to prevent rusting and stored inside. To prevent exposure to light, delicate thread was wrapped in brown paper; soft leather protected the sewing silks.

Typical vintage sewing boxes were made just large enough to hold women's sewing supplies along with room for some of her handiwork. They held a needle book which housed a variety of needle sizes along with an assortment of various types of thread, ranging from cotton, linen, and silk. The seamstress also kept buttons, scissors, shears, a pin cushion, and a measuring tape in her boxes. Considered intimate the boxes were kept locked, often with a love token inside such as a cherished love letter, a favorite book of poetry, or a picture of her beloved.

In China, the baskets were small and made of cane, willow, grass, rushes, bamboo, or honeysuckle with a lid. These became popular in the United States also, and exported in mass numbers till about 1930. The craftsman adorned them with colorful glass bangles, beads, coin and silk; and placed images of dragons and flowers on the front.

By the early twentieth century, baskets were the most used container in the United States. They came lined with spaces for pin cushions, scissors sheath, and thimble holder sewn into the lining. In the 1930s, wicker baskets became popular complete with cord handles and decorated with pictures of poodles and sewing tools.

Vintage sewing baskets comprise an important part of the history of sewing. They supplied women with convenient storage for their sewing supplies for centuries and evolved from leather containers into wooden and wicker ones. Their practicality and beauty make them a beloved and treasured container even today.