a roll top sewing box

roll topped sewing box

In my recent blog about the singer 401 sewing machine, I mentioned the lovely lady from whom I’d bought it.

Well, we’ve been texting each other since I collected the machine; she keeps finding more sewing things as she digs deeper into the loft space. Samantha has very kindly offered me some of these pieces to buy.

I have looked at photos of a sewing table (which is sadly not of me) and photos of a wooden sewing box complete with contents that really piqued my interest.

the tambour top in it’s track

The sewing box is a roll or tambour topped varnished solid oak box dating back to the 50s or 60s and is in great condition.  I collected it one Thursday evening and I am completely delighted with it.

The condition is great with only small signs of use for it’s age. It was a bit dusty from standing in a loft for goodness knows how long but it has been well used and has cleaned up lovely. The roll top moves quite smoothly and will improve further with a bit of bees wax. The top also rolls all the way under the box to reveal the contents.

wooden bobbins in one of the sliding trays

Immediately inside the lid are 2 sliding trays that are divided into handy compartments that house a number of old threads, well used taylor’s chalk, scissors, buttons and a few other bits too.

The box itself is shaped at the bottom to match that at the top so that the tambour can roll under. This leaves a clear space which is quite generous.

the sliding trays with the main box space beneath

It is quite lovely!

I have a bag that I bought from Kath Kidston a few years ago and I use it for travelling with my sewing. It contains quite a bit of what I use daily as well as some work in progress but this little beauty is just perfect for sitting next to you while you are sewing, something I have been making without.  It can hold just about everything you would need for a days sewing and is especially useful for me as I don’t really have a dedicated sewing space. It can literally move with me but will live close to where I set up my sewing machine at the table.

the trays slid along with the roll top partly closed

I’m sure that this application is exactly what it was designed for but unlike most sewing boxes that are moveable, this one is open, capacious, sits at a very useful height and is much more practical than many I have seen.

Like the sewing machine, there is a little back story to this lovely thing and although I don’t know how Samantha’s Nan came to have this lovely box, whether it was a gift or something she bought for herself, I do know from what Samantha has told me that her mum remembers playing in it.  There is evidence of exactly this be it the wooden bobbin that has been drawn on, the piece of paper with hat pins in it that has been doodled on or the scraps of lace that look like they might have been on the way to becoming something.

fully open

There is also a small cameo necklace and a swimming badge that may or may not have belonged to Samantha’s mum, kept safely in a little white box.  Not strictly sewing bits but they were obviously important to someone at some time to be so carefully concealed. I am assured that they are no longer required.

And this time when I went to pick up my purchase, I finally got to meet Samantha and a pleasure it was too.

20 thoughts on “a roll top sewing box

    • Thank you. If you could see the ikea bags and plastic boxes and goodness knows what else I have crammed my threads and things into over the years, your lovely ‘tool kit thingy’ is wonderful in comparison. I am, however, very pleased to be putting them into this lovely old box.

    • Hi Susan

      Ooh you lucky thing. I absolutely love mine.

      I think they sell for about £60-70 so not hugely valuable. Nicer to have than not and lovely to look at.

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