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.

Old Danish Modern Sewing Box Storage Table Wood Basket RARE Vintage Mid Century

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VINTAGE WOOD 5 COMPARTMENTS PORTABLE SEWING TOOL BOX MADE IN NORWAY

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VINTAGE POLAND SMALL WOODEN DOVETAIL ACCORDION FOLD OUT SEWING BOX CHEST BASKET

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Vtg Art Deco Wood Wooden Standing Sewing Box Chest Cabinet Supplies Novelties

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LOT Vintage and Antique SEWING items and shadow box project 55 items

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Vintage Shabby chic sewing box 50s Nhkasten Nh Utensilien Box Nhkorb 50er

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Vintage French 50s SEWING box wood floral decor wood romantic

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PRYM Nhkorb Nhkrbchen Nhkasten Nhbox Nhkstchen Vintage beige Nhen 612285

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Vintage Antique Standing Sewing Cabinet Knitting Box All Solid Wood with supplie

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VINTAGE Sewing Box

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Opal Teak Nhkasten Nhwagen mid century 50er 50s 60er 60s vintage sewing box

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Casige 1940s Childrens Toy Sewing Machine Vintage Original Box

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Toy Sewing Machine Stitching Russian Children Box Child Old Vintage Soviet

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OVER 9 LBS BOX VINTAGE SEWING BUTTONS LOT ESTATE FIND

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Antique Vintage Victorian Wooden Sewing Pin Box Restoration Jewelry box Project

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VINTAGE JUNIOR MODEL NP 1 TOY SEWING MACHINE WITH BOX BY GATEWAY 1940s

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Vintage Scovill Dritz Bodkin No 783 New Craft Original BOX lot 12 Dozen Sewing

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Vintage WOOD ACCORDION SEWING BOX Storage accordion modern mid century Romania

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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.