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What is a Sewing Box?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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A sewing box or sewing organizer is a container which is designed to hold sewing equipment and accessories. Sewing boxes may take the form of literal boxes in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they can also come in the form of large canvas bags or sacks. Unlike a sewing kit, which holds some basic equipment which people can use for quick sewing repairs and other tasks, a sewing box can become quite large, and the contents may be rather esoteric, especially for crafters who are involved in unusual fabric arts.

Typically, a sewing box is designed with a number of divisions to make it easier to organize the contents. Many boxes have trays which lift out or fold out, allowing sewers to keep things like buttons, spare needles, bobbins, seam rippers, safety pins, thimbles, threaders, bodkins, and so forth in small compartments. A sewing box can also have drawers for sewing equipment, and some have pincushions mounted on the lid or the handle for convenience.

Boxes for sewing can be designed to accommodate various accessories needed to work with sewing machines, such as special feet, needles, bobbins, and so forth, along with tools for hand sewing. Some sewing machines historically were built into sewing tables which included a built in sewing box, and many manufacturers of sewing machines also sold sewing boxes to accessorize their products. Antique sewing boxes continue to be used by crafters today, in addition to being collectors items.

Some companies sell sewing boxes which are fully equipped with basic equipment. This type of sewing box can be a good gift for someone who is just getting started with sewing. The cost of such boxes can vary, depending on the quality of the tools and the number provided in the box. In other cases, the box is sold empty, with sewers stocking the box with the equipment they prefer.

Some things to consider when picking a sewing box, whether for oneself or for someone else, include how flexible the interior of the box is. Having options such as adjustable partitions and trays can be extremely useful, because it allows people to configure the box to meet their needs. People may also want to think about whether they want drawers or trays, and whether the trays should fold, lift, or swivel out to provide access. Sewers may also want to consider how easy it is to move the box; if it's going to be left in a sewing room, features like handles and latches may not be needed, but if the box will be carried, it's important to make sure that it can be secured and lifted easily. Construction materials and style may also be a concern.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a HomeQuestionsAnswered researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By Ana1234 — On Jun 19, 2014

@Iluviaporos - A nice sewing box isn't really a necessity until you have a certain amount of sewing odds and ends and then you really do need to organize yourself some way.

I remember I used to love my mother's sewing box because there was a couple of compartments full of buttons and I was fascinated by them for some reason.

I don't really sew myself at all, but I do knit sometimes and I keep all of that stuff in a little felt basket near my chair in the living room. That way I can just fish out whatever I'm working on and knit while I'm talking or watching TV.

By lluviaporos — On Jun 18, 2014

@croydon - I like the ones that fold out with lots of little spaces and drawers for different bits and pieces. I guess they aren't all that different from certain kinds of jewelry boxes.

I don't actually have one myself though. I need to get one sometime, but at the moment I basically keep all my sewing gear in a drawer, because I just don't sew very often. I don't really know how to sew anything complicated, so I stick to putting buttons back on if they fall off.

By croydon — On Jun 17, 2014

I have very fond memories of my grandmother's sewing box. She had one of those old fashioned ones that had padding all around the outside so that you could stick pins in it while you were working. I think it might have been a handmade box as well, but I'm not sure. It was lovely though and she used it all the time.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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