Among my many haberdashery collectibles, I am particularly fond of all the little tape measures, pin cushions, needle holders and boxes of treasures. By re-editing these wooden sewing items, I am trying in my own way to add the same sort of diversity that was found in this universe in days gone by. Haberdasheries of course sold all the basics, but they could also be found in souvenir shops and even in jeweller’s shops for the more luxurious items. The haberdashery catalogue from Le Bon Marché at the beginning of the 20th century were filled with pages of tape measures, thimble holders and pin cushions of all types and for all budgets.
Obviously, our wooden tape measures do not automatically retract with the push of a button! You have to rewind them with the little handle on the top. Modernity is not the idea of these re-editions, but to find the charm of vintage sewing items. These tape measures were inspired by those found in bygone days in souvenir shops. They were often made of boxwood and decorated with the names of spa towns, tourist attractions and famous monuments.
There are countless needle holders and pin cushions among collectible sewing items. As with the tape measures, many could be found in souvenir shops, decorated with transfers. The presence of such items in souvenir shops is proof of the importance of these objects in everyday life. A popular souvenir gift from Dieppe was ivory needle holders in a vast array of forms: umbrellas, fish, keys, figurines. The pin cushions came in the form of baskets, books and barrels, among others.
These miniature wooden spools are the same shape as those used in days gone by for gloving thread. As indicated in the name, this fine strong thread was used for sewing and repairing gloves. In my collection of vintage haberdashery, I have boxes full of these small bobbins, generally in boxes of 12, sometimes unicolour, sometimes in beautiful assortments. There were many thread brands: Thiriez, Au Louis d’Or, À la Main, Au Sanglier… We offer these spools with a wide array of different labels, to reflect the diversity that existed in the good old days.
You will find here medium sized wooden spools, perfect for winding ribbons and laces. We have also re-edited the spectacular waxing bobbins, used in factories for waxing threads. The thread is wound on the spools which are placed on large spikes. The machines unwind the thread which passes through a bath of starch and beeswax, then over horse hair brushes and is rewound on these bobbins. These glazing machines are still functioning in the Fil Au Chinois factory.
As with our tape measures, pin cushions and needle holders, these wooden thread winders were very common and often found in souvenir shops. These reeditions are decorated with transfers, which were very popular at the time.
See also all our collection of Sajou cardboard thread cards.
Our first reeditions of wooden storage boxes were inspired by those delivered to haberdashery stores when they ordered thimbles by the gross, a gross being twelve dozen.
Then came boxes for thread cards, similar to the carton ones used in the past. They were followed by miniature boxes, used for buttons, pins and needles, hooks and eyes…
Le Bon Marché in Paris had an exceptional haberdashery department and sold many articles in beautiful wooden boxes.