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 ANTIQUE LA REINE GARNITURE POUR SAC ART DECO SEWING VANITY SET w BOX

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Vintage Ornate wheeler wilson Sewing Trinket Wooden Box with latch FOLK ART

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NICE VINTAGE 1950S CHILDS SINGER SEWHANDY 20 SEWING MACHINE IN BOX

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Antique Vintage Singer Sewing Machine 1889 Wood Puzzle Box Greist Attachments

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VINTAGE SINGER SEWING MACHINE G1193452 WITH MANY EXTRAS 2 BOXES FULL

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Vintage Quilted Shabby Rose Sewing Box With Lucite Handle

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Vintage Wooden Sewing Box Telescoping

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VINTAGE WOODEN STORAGE BOX SHOE SHINE CLEANING FIRST AID SEWING FRENCH SHABBY

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1877 Rare Vintage Willcox Gibbs Noiseless Sewing Machine Original Box Antique

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Vintage Sewing Basket Box Stand Pink Painted Wood Shabby Chic Style Flip Top

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RARE Vintage OLD Decoupage Wood Purse Sewing Box Holly Hobbie Girl Cat

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VINTAGE WALNUT HAND MADE EXPANDABLE LIFT TOP WOOD SEWING JEWELRY DRESSER BOX

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Vintage Wooden Sewing Box including Contents

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Vintage Sewing Set with Stork Crane SOLINGEN Scissors and Thimble Germany BOX

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VINTAGE NAPCO CAT KITTEN SEWING TAPE MEASURE PIN BOX

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Vintage Playskool Wooden Sewing Box Toy 1950s Singer Jr Miss Sewing Machine

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19 Box 750+ BEKA Industrial Sewing Machine Needles Vintage Singer New Old Stock

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Rare Antique Vintage Fold Out Sewing Box Sewing Kit with Artwork Panels

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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.