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 50 Tri Chem Liquid Embroidery Fabric Paint Variety of Colors in Box

$75.00
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Folk Art Wooden Hand Painted Sewing Box Vintage Mid Century Machine Spool Holder

$124.00
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Vintage 50 Tri Chem Liquid Embroidery Fabric Paint Variety of Colors in Box

$59.00
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VINTAGE BANDED WOOD COUNTRY BARREL SLAT WATER BUCKET POT SEWING BOX

$81.61
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Lovely Vintage Retro Decorative Wooden 2 Two Tier Cantilever Sewing Storage Box

$54.76
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Vintage Mid Century Wood Accordian Style Sewing Box Cabinet

$58.95 (1 Bid)
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Vtg Antique Oak Puzzle Box Singer Treadle Sewing Machine Attachment Bobbin Parts

$76.00 (10 Bids)
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Vtg Wood Sewing Cabinet Stand Chest Box Caddy Country Mission Shaker Style Nice

$79.99
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Vintage Sewing duck pin cushion spool stand button box

$80.75
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Vtg Knit Crochet Yarn Sewing Tall Oval Cardboard Box w Lid Gustave Wiegand Litho

$54.99
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Vintage EMPISAL boxed set 23 sewing machine stitch cams black top hat shape

$72.35
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Vintage Wooden Sewing Box On Legs

$78.24
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VINTAGE GERMAN SIDEL NAUMANN SEWING TOOLS TIN BOX

$275.00
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vintage 1950s 60s orange brown sewing box with dansette legs

$62.59
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Vintage Wood Accordion Fold Out Sewing Craft Basket Folding Storage Box Cabinet

$85.50
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HANDSOME ANTIQUE RED OAK SEWING BOX VINTAGE SEWING

$85.00
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VINTAGE RED LEATHER SEWING KIT COMPLETE UNUSED BRABANTS NEWEY BOX

$95.00
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VINTAGE WOOD HAMMERED COPPER SEWING JEWELRY DOCUMENT DRESSER TOP VALUABLE BOX

$79.99
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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.