Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Very Old And Extremely Shabby Victorian Sewing Box !

Yes well I couldn't help myself the day I wandered into an antique store and spotted this very 'shabby chic' sewing box on the floor.......

It was tucked into a little corner of the store near the sewing section 

It was shabby and very old and spoke volumes of a very hard life.
It had rusty old hinges, tears at the side and it had faded terribly.

The once fine silk fabric had not weathered well at all. In fact I highly suspect that this once very pretty silk sewing box had once upon a time lived through a flood.
The water mark was still very obvious at the bottom of the box.

This sewing box was not like any other that I had ever seen in my antiquing travels. It had quite obviously belonged to somebody very well to do and it had once been a top shelf item at a very posh sewing store.
The woven silk was high quality and the pretty box' interior also lined with green silk and studded with many silk covered buttons.

Despite it's harsh life there is something so opulent and fine about it.
It cost but a few dollars and I just had to have it.
Not everything in life comes absolutely perfect. Some things start off pristine but after many years they begin to show age and wear. This pretty sewing box is a great example of the journey of life.

If I close my eyes and sit quietly I can imagine a 'lady of the house' sitting in her front parlour threading a tiny needle and sewing herself a new bed jacket. Perhaps she used this box as her crochet box and she kept her silk threads in it ? 
Maybe she was crocheting a pretty new collar ?
The what if's and when's seek out the contents of my romantic mind and intrigue me.
That's the thing that I love the most about antiques.....the history !

If this shabby old box could speak I am sure that it would speak volumes.  Every piece of rust on the hinges tells a story. Every time a dainty hand lifted the lid on the box somebody's mind would be enveloped in creation. 
Possibilities of making something wonderful would have made the owner of this box smile as she opened it's lid.
Maybe this pretty box once lived in a castle deep in the lush green hills of England. Maybe it sat on top of a beautiful sewing machine with sweeping views of the lush green valley below.

Maybe it belonged to a lady in waiting. She may have received it for Christmas one year from her 'lady' whom she served.  I can imagine that she would have been so excited to receive it !

Maybe I have just been watching too many episodes of 'Downton Abbey' and I need to take a break.......lol

Please take a look at this sweet little Miss who has weathered many storms and let your mind wonder your own set of maybe's, when's and why's.
Scroll down and smile :-)

The top view of my sewing box. It's faded green silk still resonates distant beauty.

Wear and tear only intrigues me all the more.

It is once again filled with with fine cottons and Lacy treats to create with.

It is living along side of some of my other sewing boxes from my collection.  I only have a few but I have one favourite.....

and here it is pictured below.
It is an old peach coloured sewing box that once belonged to my Grandmother. I used to play in this box when I was just a wee child.
It smells just like my Grandmother. Face powder, perfume and a faint smell of mothballs. I can almost feel her sitting next to me as I write this.
It is just a sewing box, but it means the world to me.
It represents somebody who meant a great deal to me.
 It represents love.

This sewing box pictured below has housed some of my lace for many years. It used to hold all of my buttons until the base began to fall apart and they kept on escaping.......

Back to my shabby box.......
Does it really matter that she looks so old and shabby ?
I am hesitant to give her a bath in case the silk tears some more.
If anybody has an idea of how to tidy her up a bit please be sure to let me know.
I think she definitely deserves to look her absolute best once again.

Have any of you dear friends inherited a beautiful sewing box ? 
Perhaps you have collected a few of your own over the years. I would love to have you share your own stories with me.


  1. O my, she is definitely a beauty for sure...I have never seen anything like it I have a fetish for sewing boxes two I own four but nothing that old...I can imagine that it came from the 18th century that's what it looks like... and belong to a fine Victoria Lady...dreamy...very very nice...thank you for sharing it..Have a great week with love Janice

    1. Hi Janice,
      I haven't seen anything like her before either.
      I have plans to do a little research online to see if I can find a date. I'm thinking late 1880's but I may be wrong, it could be much earlier. I will be sure to let you know if I find anything xo

  2. Melanie, I'm squealing!! Can you hear me??? Oh this is such a treasure! I'm so glad it was you who saw it's worth...and picked it up and gave it whole new life!! She's a beauty and deserves every bit of attention you've shown to it. What a sweet bit of history! The stories...what if it was carried into to CAVES during the war????
    Maybe it was cave water that soaked into the bottom and the laces it held are even now in your collection...and MINE!! Wink! Love it. So glad you shared it.
    And one other thing you mentioned that really stood out to me. The smell of your grandmother's sewing box. Her powder and perfume and the mothballs. I get tears in my eyes when I smell mothballs because my grandmother's house smelled just like them! I LOVE that smell!! Her perfume is also a tear-jerker to me. I remember so well her hands and wrinkled face, her dresses and her hair, her earrings and her shoes....such precious memories of a precious lady.

    1. Squealing !!! lol
      I nearly crash tackled it to the floor when I saw it ! lol
      Goodness help anybody else who wanted to take a look at her.
      It had me at a single glance Doni. I have never ever seen a sewing box of that age before and I knew that it was something special ! I really would like to give her a bath to clean the stains up a little. Any suggestions ?

  3. Hi Melanie! I love the tufts and puffs in your sewing box! It looks very cozy and safe!
    The pin tin is very fun, too!
    Thank you for sharing!

    1. I am a tufts and puffs kind of girl Miss Pom Pom xo

  4. I love your stories of who onced may have owned this timeworn yet beautiful sewing box and see why you had to have it. One question, where do you find room for all your treasures.

    1. hahaha good question ! I find that I get bored looking at the same thing all the time so I tend to pack things away and rotate them to keep things looking fresh. I have a whole pile of things that are waiting to get listed in my Etsy store when I 5 minutes to spare to do so. I hope to sell some of them. x

  5. She is indeed very pretty andis a beautiful addition to your collection! I have that very same tin of pins!

    1. A friend gave the pins to me recently from his last trip to Europe. Her little face is a little scratched but I love the colour of the tin itself !

  6. Ooooooohhh, so pretty! I say, just wipe with a wet cloth and spray with febreeze! It's beautiful as is!