Victorian “Balloon Bag” Ornament

Here is a fun Fanciful Utility project that can be done for 19th century use of for a modern, holiday use.

This delightful little creation has been called by a few different names, a Balloon Bag, a Button Keep and a Thimble Holder to name a few. I’ve seen them in various sizes from about 3″ tall to just over 4″ tall. Each one made with silk covering pasteboard or a slightly more flexible version.

The following set of directions from A Girl’s Own Book, 1833, suggests the bag contain a ball of thread. As the piece closes nicely, it does well for holding buttons and thimbles, as the above names suggest. As a sewing accessory, I see it holding beads and trims as well.

A Girls Own Book 1833Directions for another version from Peterson’s Magazine, 1869:


If you make this piece up as an ornament, all you need to do is add a hanging loop from one end. I highly suggest doing this before attaching the sides to each other. When making this green case, I snapped a rather strong needle into three pieces trying to work through the top tip. You could hang the piece as is or fill it with a gift. I picture these filled with candies, jewelry, smaller ornaments, or gift certificates. (You’ll need to make a larger version for gift cards.) Make 12 of them and celebrate the 12 days of Christmas. You could number them to use for Advent as well.

Here is the piece you have been waiting for… the template and directions. This pdf file is used with the directions in Fanciful Utility. If you need to order a copy, please visit ESC Publishing.

Click for the PDF Template

Click for the PDF Template

Here are originals to give you some ideas:


If you missed the previous templates, there is a Sea-Shell Template and a Tri-Lobed Needle-book available to accompany Fanciful Utility as well.

Published in: on November 2, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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