Victorian Sewing Case

The Victorian Sewing Case is the epitome of Victorian ingenuity of mixing organization, beauty and practicality.

Victorian ladies prized organizations as much as beauty. They were taught as young girls that an organized home was a happy home. They also were taught that it was their duty to bring joy and beauty to their home. Sewing, whether for clothing or fancywork, was considered an important part of every female's education; therefore, every woman (and even young girls) possessed such an item. And what true Victorian woman would be satisfied with just a plain case? Not many (if any)!

Sewing cases gave ladies the opportunity to make an item used daily into a piece of artwork. These cases were decorated in a number of ways - embroidered, painted, appliquéd - almost any art form could be used to make this item more attractive. They could be small or large, made of ribbon, strips of fabric, or from anything an imaginative mind could think up.

The following items were usually included in such a case:

  • A needle book - pieces of flannel attached together to hold needles and pins
  • An emery bag
  • At least one spool of thread

Below are illustrations and instructions for a small but very useful sewing case. It is practical as well as beautiful.


Sewing Case.

Victorian Sewing Case ClosedA most complete sewing case is here illustrated.

A strip of satin-edged grosgrain ribbon forms the foundation of the case, and at each corner is fastened the plaited end of a ribbon. At one end pinked leaves of flannel are fastened to form the needle-book, and near the opposite end is fastened the emery bag which is covered with silk and tied in below its deeply fringed top with ribbon. The spool is attached by a ribbon drawn through it and tied about the center of the foundation, the ribbon being bowed on the outside and tacked.

The foundation is decorated with a painting in a flower design, but, if preferred, the design may be embroidered or a flowered ribbon may be used.

To close the case corresponding ribbons are bowed together at the ends.

Victorian Sewing Case Open


These little Victorian necessities were no longer items women kept hidden away. They became pieces of art that were often laid out near the sewing basket or sewing corner for all to see and admire.

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