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  • Museum of the Confederacy housewife

Original Civil War Soldier's "Housewife" Sewing Kit, as in museums (SOLD)

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Product Description

This is another great piece being offered, it is a Civil War soldier’s “Housewife” roll-up sewing kit. It measures 4 3/4 inches long x 2 inches when rolled up. Unrolled it is about 11 ½ inches. It is made with a brown leather exterior with pincushion ends which hold straight pins.

Inside is a brown cloth lining with a gathered pocket. There are two period buttons and a complete package of needles, dated “1863”; one of the buttons is a gutta-percha button with an “1851” patent date. A distorted thimble was also inside the pocket, along with a tied lock of hair. A worn brown ribbon ties the piece together when not in use.

Most Civil War soldiers owned just one set of clothing, which was quick to wear out during long marches and bitter fighting. As you can imagine, mending clothes was a must for soldiers. Therefore, most Civil War soldiers carried a “housewife”, or sewing kit. They contained the items necessary to darn socks, replace buttons, or fix a whole in a jacket.

Some were made for soldiers by wives, mothers, daughters, and friends. Other commercial examples were sold by the camp sutlers. They are always on display in Civil War museums, such as Gettysburg and the Museum of the Confederacy (see pictures). Also, in my book “The Civil War Soldier – His Personal Items”, I show examples and go into more detail about these essential sewing kits.

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$6.50 (Fixed shipping cost)