I wish there was a before, I really thought I had taken a photo some time ago but it can't be found (maybe I didn't!). Anyway the after turned out well and hope you'll enjoy this look at my sewing box.


It's a cantilever sewing box that belonged to my Nan (paternal grandmother). Sadly she passed away last year and it's taken me a while to get to a point where I felt I could sort through some of her things. Over the past few years I went to stay overnight at her house quite often. Though there came a point where she could no longer see well enough to stitch, she enjoyed looking at my projects and I always took 'work' (as she called it) with me. We had picked out thread from this box together on occasion and as an avid crafter she knew I would appreciate it. I thought about just leaving all her things in there but then I wouldn't touch it and I really think she would be happier knowing I am going to make use of the box in the same way that she did.


My Nan told me she'd had the box for years. A quick google shows up similar boxes that are listed as being from the 1960s. From those images I can see that the stain on the handle, arms and legs has faded. I know she used the box a lot and you can tell it was moved around from the feel of the handle. I do wonder if I should re-stain it, I'm tempted to leave it as it is because do love the worn look. Would staining it protect it more over time though? If anyone has experience working with wood or knows how best to look after this box, I would really appreciate your advice.


One of the arms on the side was not working, the screw was still there though so that was a quick fix. Some of the screws were loose and needed tightening slightly, unfortunately as I went to screw one of them, the head of the screw literally popped off as soon as the screwdriver touched it! The thread of the screw was still fixed in place so I couldn't replace the screw without some sort of tool or the skill to remove it (not happening). I decided just to glue the head back on. Probably that's a terrible thing to do but I didn't want the screw head missing, it looked odd and gluing works for me! It's stayed put since, thankfully.


The box was filled with embroidery floss, floss on card organisers from projects past, just the card organisers with notes from projects past, a few pieces of aida, a couple of patterns, magazine clippings, quite a few aperture cards and a couple of random bits. My Nan had tins and jars that she filled with all kinds of things; small hooks, plastic things and broken bits. I really don't know what she saved that stuff for - maybe she was going to create something with it or more likely 'just in case' (that is rarely ever the case though is it!). 

So I cleared it all out. There was kitchen paper towel lining each compartment, I suspect she did that not too long ago, as I know she sorted out areas of the house not wanting us to have to trawl through too much stuff after she passed away. She lived to be 101 and I think she said that when she was about 92, she wasn't in a hurry and she really was 'with it' until she was around 98 years old. Anyway, I put the embroidery thread into a bag to sort out some other time and I have kept the aperture cards, the aida and the patterns.


I decided to move into this box on a whim as I was sorting out all my cross stitch and sewing projects for this year. I have a few cross stitch patterns to work on and have organised them all into project pouches. As I was assessing what threads I needed it occurred to me I should really be using this box so I could easily see everything I had. The majority of my embroidery floss is now kept in an embroidery bag I made, most of which I have wound onto card thread bobbins. It's not that well categorised, other than by colour groupings and is a real mix of brands but it works well to keep the thread bobbins contained and neat. Since I am now using Aurifloss, it makes sense to have the spools live in the box.

I measured the different tiers and cut paper to fit in each compartment. It's actually nice decorative paper on the reverse side but I love a simple grid and a neutral background works well for the lining.


My needle case fits in too (I'm teaching a Stitchy Pie needle case online class later this month if you'd like to make one) and some scissors and needle minders have now also found a home in the top tier. These are the sections I will use most often, it's nice because you can lift the lids off the top sections without opening the whole box up.




I have my lovely personalised thread organiser, which is still holding the threads from the Kindness & Fortitude cross stitch project I did in 2019. I also have a compartment of perle cottons, there are more stored in a drawstring bag but lots of the colours I never use so those ones can stay in the bag until I need them.



I'm so happy with this box and that I can finally use it, now it's home to my threads and things.


It's too big to sit on my sewing desk (because that's covered in stuff already) so the sewing box has pride of place on top of the piano. The piano is right next to the sewing desk, we have a packed dining room! My sewing box has happy memories, it will bring me joy as I use it and hopefully it will have many more years of use.