I just filled an order for 125 "housewife" sewing kits for the Monticello gift shop (yes, that Monticello) based on Martha Jefferson's daughter's pocket sewing kit. The idea of a housewife was to carry your sewing kit with you on travels (I expect it got the name from soldiers carrying them into the battlefields, to take the place of their loving wives in mending their socks). It is ingenious, a length of fabric with pockets into which fit your little necessities. I put tiny embroidery scissors, buttons, small spools of thread, needle threader, and needles & pins in the ones I made. I was quite a production line with many steps, and I was proud in a Henry Ford kind of way to do hand crafted items on that level of production (and make any money at all!) I made two versions, one in sober blue & white like the original, and one in kid-friendly colors. All fabrics were reproductions from the same era as the original. This project was so much fun!
|the original Housewife, from Monticello's collections|
|my version of a housewife in child-friendly colors, all reproduction fabrics from the era.|
Yesterday I was playing with some of those lovely little tins -- I had bought them to put beeswax-based salves in, another kind of hobby obsession I have, to make things that smell good -- and it occurred to me that they would be great for little pincushions with lids to carry around. So here they are. They are trimmed with my Quilting ribbon and the fabric inside is an early 19th century reproduction fabric, left over from making the housewives (thrift, of course, is a value too!).
|three travel pincusions in 2" tins.|