My Hussif or Housewife


This is my hussif. A hussif or housewife or hussy is a small sewing kit which was used on travels to keep necessary sewing tools handy.

hussif outside

I’ve used unbleached cotton canvas. As sewing thread, I’ve removed threads from the canvas.

Here are 1840 instructions for making a housewife.

flower embroidery

I’ve embroidered it with cotton embroidery floss, made a thread button loop, and a Dorset thread button.

sewing roll

I’ve made it as small as possible – it measures 16 x 7 or 25cm – but still big enough for the sewing tools I’d want to take with me.

hussif inside

It carries a crochet hook, tape measure, thimble, sewing needles, and a small embroidery scissor secured by a fabric loop and press stud, with additional room for a bigger scissor and sewing thread spools. There’s a wadded cushion for pins, and a pocket with a press stud.


It’s inspired by this antique 1870-90 hussif (Marsh, 2008).

hussif detail

The hussif is very useful: I’ve used it when I’d wanted to sew in the garden, and on travels.



  • Marsh, G. (2008) 19th Century Embroidery Techniques, Lewes, Guild Of Master Craftsman Publications

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