Monday, 24 February 2014

Hussif For My Sister

I finished the hussif I was making for my sister. "OK, what's a hussif" many of you ask (my sister certainly will). 'Hussif' comes from the Middle English word huswif. It was a sewing kit, varying in size and complexity from small and simple to large and elaborate, carried by most women, as well as by men who were tailors, or manservants. Later, it became a standard item in soldiers' kits as well.

My sister's favourite colours are hot pink and yellow/gold (good choice - my favourite colour is also hot pink), so those were the colours I went with. I know she likes modern things, and is fashion conscious, so rather that the lacy embroidered Victorian style, I went with a more modern, less 'busy' look, and used the 'zigzagged raw seam' construction style I use for my fabric books. 

On the front I did and uneven raw edge overhang on the lace overlay - a sort of modern version of the shabby chic, overlaid the seams with old-gold braid, then added several charms. I used letter charms to spell her name (the shortened version), then dug into my 'fashion' themed charms for a really cute pair of high heels (top left), and handbag (bottom right). On the back is a print from a panel of vintage sewing prints I have been hording.

This is the outside of the hussif, when fully opened out. I had been hording an adorable set of hot pink buttons, and decided to use them for this. On the left you can see the needlebook - another of those wonderful little vintage sewing prints, and a small pocket for bits and pieces.

On the underside of the needlebook cover is the info label. It is one of those wonderful fabric labels I custom ordered from Liz at Sew Victorian Crazy in the U.S. - a blank space surrounded by a pretty border, where I can write all the pertinent info, so in the future people will be able to know where the item was made, who made it, and how old it is.
As you can see, the back where the large vintage sewing print is, is actually a pocket, Great for putting cards of buttons, notes, etc.

Underneath the needle pages is a small pocket for a needle threader. It is open at both ends, so the wire can stick out rather than getting jammed and bent when put into the pocket.

This is the inside when fully opened out. The pin cushion doubles as a pinwheel. Underneath that is a place for safety pins. Then a loop for the tape measure. In the middle are three pockets for tools. Following that is my own little arrangement for threads. I use sewing machine bobbins. I find this is a great way to store threads in a hussif, as you can have the brands and colours you want (rather than having to go with the cheap thread and pre-selected colours on the small spools you buy in sewing kits), and it is fast and easy to wind them on a sewing machine. The cord will hold up to 6 bobbins, and the thread can be pulled off the bobbins without having to take them off the cord. The cord buttons at both ends, making it easier to access the bobbin you want for refilling or changing colours.
Last is the scissors. two common problems I have found with many scissor pockets are:
1) if you lose the scissors, you never seem to be able to find another pair that fits the pocket, and
2) after a while, the point of the scissors pokes a hole in the bottom.
I have solved both of these by leaving the bottom of the pocket open. That way if you get a different pair of scissors that are a little longer, they will still fit, and the scissors aren't going to be poking a hole in the bottom.
The scissors have a cord attached to them, which buttons on to the top outside button, so that they won't get lost while in use. There is also a ribbon tie to hold them in place when not in use, as those of us who use a hussif on a regular basis know that because of the weight of scissors they have a nasty habit of slipping out of the pocket and getting lost.

So there it is. I hope my sister like it.


  1. Wonderful! Love the bobbin holder idea.


  2. Wow! I like the design features so much! You really thought it out. The thread holder is really genius, and the safety pin holder. My grandson has asked for a sewing kit, and you've given me some good ideas to incorporate into his.

  3. You really thought this out as you made it. Great ideas and I am sure she will love it.