Fancy Work Friday- Where it Began

Paralleling my Millinery Monday posts, I am going to try to share a regular series of Fancy Work Friday posts this year. I will confess I do not have as solid of a plan for this series of posts. But, I figure I should start in the beginning 🤔 sort of…..

My fascination with fancy work began with the release of my book Fanciful Utility: Victorian Sewing Cases & Needle Books in 2012. FanU, as I and a few others affectionately call it, is packed full of projects for making an assortment Victorian era sewing cases, work pockets, huswifes, and needle books using. The goal of FanU was to share the beauty of handmade, 19th-century sewing accessories while making the period techniques for recreating them accessible.

One of a trio of original sewing cases I purchased in Nunda, NY. This case, and its companions, sparked my interest in handmade sewing cases. Its construction is included in Fanciful Utility. Sadly, I had to sell this case prior to publication.

In opening the door that was FanU, I entered the realm of making small items that were both functional and fanciful, utilitarian and whimsical, the vast majority of which could be made from bits and pieces, odds and ends. I was captivated.

I draw from both extant surviving examples and written literature. The abundance of illustrations and directions for ladies’ fancy work, workpockets, pin cushions, pin keeps, needle-books, etc. in the pages of magazines and books are a veritable rabbit hole, labyrinth, and candy store combined. Once entered….. well….. here we are over a decade later, and I continue to find bits of fancy work I absolutely must make.

I find my focus shifts from year to year, venturing from sewing cases to pin cushions to pen wipes to book novelties to doll novelties to animalia…. Interests steered and derailed by stumbling across a mesmerizing original or the coolest “new” illustration shared by a friend.

Published in: on January 20, 2023 at 1:05 am  Comments (1)  

One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I love your blogs! I was just thinking yesterday I should make a huswife… maybe later this spring

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