How Do I Choose the Best Wooden Sewing Box?

Dan Cavallari

Modern sewing boxes are usually made from plastic, fabric, wicker, or other lightweight materials, but antiques and more traditional sewing box styles were often made of wood for durability and convenience. When choosing a wooden sewing box for yourself, be sure to consider where you will be doing your sewing as well as what kind of sewing you will be doing. A wooden sewing box can be fairly heavy, which means it is likely that you will keep the unit in one place, though if you intend to move the box regularly, try to choose one that is fairly lightweight and features a sturdy, comfortable handle.

Some sewing boxes have special drawers for spools of thread.
Some sewing boxes have special drawers for spools of thread.

The allure of the wooden sewing box is the construction: many feature drawers specially designed for thread spools or needles, or even swatches of fabric. By first determining what kind of sewing you will be doing, as well as how often you will be sewing, you will be able to determine which features are indispensable for you and which would simply be convenient. Try to choose a sewing box that is an appropriate size for your needs; if the wooden sewing box will be placed on a desk or table and left there, measure that space to figure out how large of a box will be appropriate. If the unit will be moved, try to choose a compact wooden sewing box with plenty of storage options but that is lightweight and easy to move.

Sometimes the wooden sewing box will have other convenient features such as spool dowels mounted on top of the box or fabric lining in the drawers to help protect items. The interior of one or more drawers may feature a pin cushion to help organize the various sewing needles that will be stored in the box. The design of the box itself may be considered a convenient feature in itself: drawers make for handy storage of smaller items, while a hinged top makes storage of bulkier items such as pin cushions or larger spools of thread much easier. Consider what you will be storing to find out which box will be best for you.

Try to choose a model that features attractive and durable wood at a good price. Less expensive wooden sewing box models are likely to be made out of pine, which is reasonably attractive but has a tendency to dry out and warp or crack. Hardwoods will be more expensive, but also more durable and more beautiful.

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Discussion Comments


@ceilingcat - I'm more of a basket person myself. I would like a nice box for each of my hobbies with everything organized by category, but I never really get there. I just end up with a big pile of stuff in the bottom of the nice box, and most of the organizer area empty or filled with things that I don't even know what they are.

Still, I do aspire to be somewhat organized one day. Maybe I'll have a go at rearranging my boxes one of these weekends. Or maybe not.


@manykitties2 - Maybe your friend likes her stuff spread out like that? I'm not saying your gift isn't thoughtful, but it seems like you are really saying "here's this box because I don't like how you keep your room, which is in your house, which I am visiting". Put that way, it sounds kind of judgmental.

I still think the sewing box is a good gift idea, but make sure you don't sound disapproving when you give it to her, or you might not have to worry what her sewing room looks like, because you won't be invited to her house anymore.


@manykitties - I think this is a great idea for a gift. The only caution I would offer is that it is sometimes hard to buy for someone who has a specific interest, because you might not know what the needs of someone with that interest are.

For example, I have been into computers for a long time. My mother, who is in her 70s, really was not familiar with computers at all until a few years ago. She would see things at the store that said "computer" on the package and just get it for me. Because, you see, I was into "computers". It took me several years to convince her that the world of computers, like any other subculture, is divided into many different segments that don't necessarily interact with each other.

The same thing could apply if you just went out and bought a generic sewing box. You might try going to a craft store, or even better, a sewing or tailor shop, and ask them for a recommendation or at least a store to visit. I wouldn't mention tidying up at all, just give her the box.

If she likes it, you'll both gain something. She will think you are a nice friend and you will not have to look at her big mess.


Storing supplies is seriously an age-old problem for any crafter. I knit, and I've utilized various storage solutions over the years. Space bags for storing yarn has probably been my most successful solution.

However, it doesn't look as nice as a wooden sewing box does. A good friend of mine sews, and she has a wooden sewing box that's a family heirloom. It belonged to her great-grandmother. The box is beautiful and very well crafted. They just don't make stuff like that anymore!


@ceilingcat - It sounds like your basket works well for you. But you're right, someone who is more into sewing would need a lot more storage space.

My mother has always been really into sewing. She has several wooden sewing boxes and baskets that she keeps her supplies in. First of all, she sews garments and quilts and even curtains sometimes. Those projects take up a lot of fabric! Second of all, she has quite the collection of thread. When you sew, it's important to match the thread to the color of the fabric!

Also, she's been sewing for quite awhile. It's easy to accumulate a lot of stuff over time!


I sew, but not that much. So, I have a wooden sewing basket instead of a wooden sewing box. My mom got it for me when I was younger, and it's lasted quite a few years now.

It's a medium sized basket lined with silk fabric. The top of the basket is enclosed by two doors. The doors each have pincushions on them on the inside. I keep fabric in the basket part and pins and needles on the built in pincushion.

This set up works well for me because, like I said, I'm not that into sewing. I think someone who was a more active seamstress would probably need a full size wooden sewing box.


@manykitties2 - You sound like a pretty generous friend to me. Most wooden sewing boxes aren't cheap and I know that I would be thrilled to get one as a gift.

I think if your friend is normally well organized that she won't have a problem with you giving her something that will help out in her sewing room. I have a huge deluxe wooden sewing box and it has so many compartments that it really helps me put everything in its place.

Also, if you are looking for quality, try finding a wooden sewing box at a craft fair or farmer's market. There is usually a woodworker around and they can usually add a personal touch to what they make if you ask.


If you have a friend that sews do you think that a wooden sewing box would be a nice gift?

My friend is an avid sewer and she is always making lovely clothes for herself and her family. I've seen her sewing room though,and it is a bit disorganized at the moment, with stuff just haphazardly piled everywhere. It's really surprising too as the rest of her home is really neat.

I wonder if getting her a wooden sewing box would be OK? I don't want to offend her by telling her she needs to tidy up, but I wonder if the idea of a nice sewing box just hasn't occurred to her yet.

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