Needle Book and Sewing Bag



The older I get the more fascinated I am with the efforts and accomplishments of my ancestors. Faced with difficulty and few of the finer things of life, the women managed to create beauty in small ways. I suspect that their small, personal, beautiful, unique efforts . . . especially in the field of needle-craft, brought them satisfaction in a world where there was little variety in available materials.

Every sewing woman, and they were all sewing women, guarded her precious needles in a “needle book”. They were smallish, fabric books with equally small pages designed to hold needles.  They were easy to carry in an apron pocket since a woman was always sewing.

I made two books for myself.

The book above and just below is an embroidery floss book.

I chose old-fashioned-looking fabric.

I sewed small plastic bags at the center to hold the thread by color.

I added a stitch around the edges.

This doily was crocheted by my grandmother.My mother had it until her own death.

I tacked it to the book by hand in the very center

using small stitches which are hidden.

I added an assortment of buttons.

When I am finished with its contents I can roll it up

and tie it with an attached ribbon.

This is an example of a needle book. It is about 4″ by 6″.

I added the bling button and elastic to close the book.

I scalloped the edges of white felt and sewed a border.

These two books, along with other sewing things

fit inside of a sewing bag I also made from unexpected materials.

Perhaps someone is wearing this bag right now. Well, not wearing this bag

but wearing a pull-over cold-weather shirt made from the fabric.

I thrifted such a shirt and cut it apart. It was a deep and bumpy pink

and had plenty of fabric.

Then, I chose some fabric for a lining which I sewed in by hand.

( This is the bag turned inside-out. )

I made a little pouch to hold full-size scissors

and sewed it in before I finished the lining.

I wanted some small scissors to fit inside, too.

I tied them on with lace and let them slip down to the bottom of the scissor-pouch.

“Life has loveliness to sell,

All beautiful and splendid things,

Blue waves whitened on a cliff

Soaring fire that sways and sings,

And children’s faces looking up

Holding wonder like a cup.”

(Verse One of BARTER, by Sara Teasdale)

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