What Shall I Call Thee?

We often call the rolled and folded sewing cases a “Housewife” or “Huswif”. Here is a perspective that considers the phrase to be old-fashioned. (Yes, the name is still used through the era. There just may be a connotation we are not yet understanding.)

There is an old-fashioned kind of pincushion, which looks rather clumsy, but it is extremely convenient for a journey. The cushion is nearly an inch thick; no pasteboard is put on the outside, in order that there may be more room for pins; the inside is a piece of cardboard, covered with silk; a round hole is cut in it, and a piece of cardboard, just big enough for a thimble, let in. Little bars, stitched across on each side of the thimble-hole, form places for scissors and bodkin. All this should be arranged before the stuffing is put in, and the bit of silk for the outside fitted; it is very inconvenient doing it afterwards. The pincushion forms but half of the establishment. Flannel leaves are put in for needles, and the outside is of covered silk, with a little pocket for thread. This pocket consists of a plain piece of silk, nearly the size of the pasteboard, fastened to the outside by means of little gores at each end.

What used to be made in old times, and called housewives, are similar to the travelling pincushion. These had a piece of silk, the same width as the cushion, and a little more than a quarter of a yard long, neatly stitched into compartments to answer the purpose of thread papers. This was rolled round the cushion, and fastened by a small loop and button. Housewives were very useful things, but they are out of fashion now.(The Girl’s Own Book)

This is in both the 1858 edition (here) and the 1833 edition (here).


Published in: on March 11, 2016 at 6:00 am  Comments (2)  

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Interesting! What is the date of this edition?

  2. Both the 1833 and 1858. (added above)

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