How Do I Choose the Best Antique Sewing Box?

S. McNesby

The best antique sewing box for you will fit your needs, budget, and the amount of space you have in your home. If you are looking for an antique sewing box to use for sewing gear, the box should be in good repair, be large enough to fit some current sewing tools, and offer plenty of storage spots and openings. If the antique sewing box will be used as a decoration, then looks may be the most important factor; choose form over function if you want to use the box as a pretty decorative accent.

Woman standing behind a stack of books
Woman standing behind a stack of books

There are many different antique sewing box styles. From simple caskets with a removable lid to complex puzzle box designs, vintage sewing boxes vary widely, and one model type may be more appealing to you than others. An antique sewing box can also vary in size, from a small tabletop miniature to an actual piece of furniture complete with legs and a work surface. Deciding where you want to store or display an antique sewing box can help you choose the model that is best for your home.

If the antique sewing box will be used on a regular basis, all parts should be in good working order or in repairable condition. If possible, the original pincushions and emery boards should be intact; these can be restored if needed. All sections of the box should open and close smoothly, and the interior should be in overall good condition. The box should be large enough to hold contemporary equipment, like scissors, a rotary cutter, and fabric pencils.

When the box is being purchased to add to a collection, or for display purposes, the most important factor is the exterior condition and appearance of the box. Determine if it fits in well with the rest of your collection or in the room that it will be placed in. Selecting an antique sewing box in a material or color palette that blends well with the rest of your home will allow you to display it in different rooms.

The last factor to consider when choosing a vintage sewing box is price. Cost can vary. Generally, private sellers and online auctions allow you to scoop up a bargain, but you will need to be more flexible on looks and quality. A high-end antique dealer can help you find the perfect box for your needs, but will likely be more expensive than most other sources.

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