Making an 18th Century Hussif (Sewing Kit)

Dances with Wools

A Housewife, or Hussif, is nothing more than an 18th century sewing kit. Women used them at home, and soldiers used them when serving in the military. A few years back, I made one for myself, and use it mostly at re-enactments and museum programs. It’s a very handy thing to carry, and a very easy thing to make. All you need is some appropriate cloth, and simple directions. Here’s how I make mine.

Materials

Several 1/2 yard lengths of period appropriate cloth, in various patterns. I like checks. Alternatively, you can use a single color, if you prefer.

2 yards of seam binding or bias tape, or you can make your own.

Matching thread and sewing needles.

Plastic cover from a 15 ounce margarine container.

Instructions:

Cut the following:

A. Plain color lining piece – I generally use muslin. Cut to 4″ x 11″.

B. Backing piece: fabric of…

View original post 385 more words

Textiles in Fiction: The Gown, by Jennifer Robson

Dances with Wools

The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This novel piqued my interest following the  two recent royal weddings in England, which must have required prodigious feats of planning and organizing. Queen Elizabeth II’s own wedding took place seven decades ago, when she was still a princess and her country was grappling with the myriad deprivations caused by WWII. Discovering that the story was told from the points of view of the embroiderers of the wedding dress clinched the deal, and I raced through this fascinating book, enthralled by the details of the experiences of the ordinary women who created this most important gown. The narrative unfolds in two far apart years and places, London during 1947 and Toronto in 2016.

Norman Hartnell functioned as couturier to the royal family during the 40’s and 50’s, and he and his army of seamstresses and embroiderers would create Elizabeth’s top secret wedding dress, with…

View original post 235 more words