Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Photos for you!

This might be my last post for a few weeks.
I hope you will enjoy this display of
some of my collection.
These photos were taken about 3 years ago.


Thursday, November 13, 2008


I am very pleased to tell you
that I have now got a tutorial for
my Santa Pincushion in
pdf file

(Right-click to save as...)

I hope you have fun making it!
I would love to see your finished pincushion.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Needle Boxes

Here is part of my
needle box collection.
Made from velvet, card, and
paper, and decorated
with scraps, they are most definitely
of the Victorian era.

They measure 5 x 7 x 3 cms
and when opened, the needle pages
concertina out to reveal small
needle packets secured in
place with red ribbon.
Starting with the blue velvet box,
the inside shows
a delightful "needle box print"
of a vintage lady wearing a hat.
The needle packet is by
T. Harper Redditch.
The scrap on the lid says "With
fondest love of Thee".

Inside the faded burgandy needle box
shows another vintage young lady.
The needle packets are Sheffield prize
needles. The scrap on the lid says - "To
one I love".

Inside the palest needle box and the one in the
least good condition we see a print of a child and
and her dog. It is missing its little concertina
folded pages and the needle packets are from
John English, Feckenham, Imperial Diamond Sharps
.......etc.......Great Britain 1863.

The scrap on the lid of this box says - "The
business of my life shall be - Forever to
remember thee".


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Little Look at Sewing Trade Cards

Sewing Trade Cards

Most of you would know about Victorian
Trade Cards. They advertise all manner
of goods and services and thanks to the
ladies of the Victorian era, we have many
surviving examples to behold today.
They were a popular pastime, with
Victorian ladies pasting their collections
of cards into scrapbooks.
As you search for trade cards, you
soon discover that many of them advertised
sewing goods - cotton threads
and sewing machines.
Below is a small selection in my collection and
if you would like to know more, please
see here - Victorian Trade Cards.

Above and Below (front and back)
Chadwick & Bro's 6 cord cotton.

Above and Below (front and back)
J & P Coats' Thread.

Above and Below (front and back)
Willimantic Thread

All of these cards that follow
are blank on their

(Also - there are trade cards in the side
bar of the blog which I will be altering
sometime soon).


Monday, August 25, 2008

How long is a piece of string?

The above question has been jokingly
asked by us for many years. To think
that this MIGHT have been the case
for many other "sizeable" questions
is quite mind boggling to say the
The role of the tape measure is one
of extreme importance in the
sewing field as you all know.
I am not going into the history
of units of measurements, but
I do intend to show
you some examples of
tape measures in my collection.
There are tape measures
to be found with more than
one purpose - that is, they
also include a pincushion,
thimble holder, scissor holder....
many multi-functions and which are
extremely novel.
The tape measures I have chosen
for this post are of one
purpose only - as a
tape measure.
Celluloid, bakelite, vegetable ivory,
bronze, pewter, wood, nickel, plaster
white metal, shell are materials
used for the casings of tape measures
throughout the years with plastic
being the most common material found.

Above and Below -
Tape measures in various shapes and forms. The porcelain
crinoline ladies are particularly desirable as well as
celluloid flowers and animals, and other figural shapes.
There are many varieties to be found and will
make a fabulous collection on their

Another field in collecting tape measures
is that of advertising which also makes a
very interesting collection.

Two books you might like to look for are -
Collecting Figural Tape Measures
by Elizabeth & Douglas Arbittier
Janet & John Morphy

and Collector's Digest
Advertising & Figural Tape Measures

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I will be posting soon about tape measures but in
the meantime, please enjoy my photo taken
of one of my display cabinet shelves.
(sorry, taken before dusting!)

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Vintage sewing and dolls often go hand
in hand.
Collectors of vintage sewing and dolls
have the best of both worlds.
There is a large range of sewing items
involving dolls to be found - thimble holders,
needlecases, sewing companions, kits, and
stands, tape measures and more.
But pincushions would have to be the
sewing items that most typically
suit the doll.
In most cases, it is the skirt which is the
pincushion, but it could also be the doll's
hat or perhaps the doll holding a
pillow/basket that is the pincushion.
Everyone would know of the beautiful china
half-doll pincushions of the late 1800's and
early 1900's. There are many different forms
and styles both from Germany and Japan. But
not only were there pincushions, they also
adorned tea cosies, brushes, powder puffs, cologne
bottle tops, etc.
Making pincushions involves a little creativity, skill,
and a sense of whimsy. Dolls could be of many materials
- plastic, china, porcelain, cloth, and wood.
Wooden "dolly" pegs can be transformed into
a novel pincushion. A simple painting of features,
painted hair or glue on wool hair and ribbon, or just
a little triangle fabric scarf, pipe cleaner arms, ribbon
bodice, rectangular length of fabric gathered along
one side, attached to a circle cardboard base
and filled with polyester filling and made in an
hour or two, is a fun project even for the
beginner seamstress or child.
Or substitute a plastic doll for the peg doll.
A look through vintage magazines can uncover some
novelty patterns or ideas for making
pincushions using dolls of the time.
Celluloid dolls were popular in the 20's - 30's
like the kewpie dolls, many of which can
be found today made into sewing novelties.

Below - these are the modern
soft plastic equivalent to the
celluloid kewpie. The doll on the
left I have already dressed in the
style of a flapper. The doll on the
right is destined to be a pincushion.

Above - cutest celluloid kewpie with her
crocheted umbrella standing on a
large pincushion.

Above and below - these are vintage
celluloid kewpie dolls. They have padded
billowy satin skirts to accomodate the
pins with the one above having the added
advantage to also use her rather large
hat for pins.

Above - this is a hanging bisque doll
Below - tiny plastic Scottish lass possibly

Above - typical 1950's plastic doll with heart
shaped padded skirt.
Below - a cloth Navajo pincushion doll.

Above page from The Collector's
Encyclopedia of Half-Dolls by Freida Marion
and Norma Werner.

Above - a handmade cloth doll holding a "pumpkin"
Below - a common China-men pincushion which
are still being made today.

Below - a painted cloth pincushion doll head.

These are a small sample of doll pincushions.
I would love to hear about what you have in your

Friday, June 27, 2008


Who was Virginia Snow?

The name of Virginia Snow Studios began to appear
on Collingbourne Mill's embroidery, crocheting, and
knitting instruction books around 1913. (Not sure as
to whether "Virginia Snow" was just a name or actual
person.) The name continued to be used until the
late 1930's. Some time later after many changes to
the company, it eventually became Lee Wards.
(For full details regarding this company which
commenced in 1902, please refer to the article -
Piecing Together the Past of Virginia Snow Studios....
Elgin, Illinois - by Susan Wildemuth)

Below are a selection of pages from the catalog ....

Below are three Lee Wards catalogs from Spring
and Summer 1959, Spring and Summer
1962, and Fall and Winter 1962.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


PRISCILLA produced a wealth of
fancywork books pleasing even the most
fastidious of fancyworkers/needleworkers.
There many titles some of them you will
see below.

Continuing with the Priscilla Catalog from previous
Here are some more pages for you to peruse.

(Check out the "toast case" above!!)

The catalog continues with more baby clothing,
aprons, handkerchiefs, collars, ladieswear,
household linens, towels, etc.
You will find pages on simple crochet
edgings (see below), embroidery stitches,
and lists of embroidery sundries, cottons and threads,
yarns, beads, braids, ribbons, etc., etc.