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Needlecase and scissors

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embroidered silk, velvet and flannel, with glass mirror, silver-plated brass with steel blades

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 56, The Djanogly Gallery, case 6 []

Object Type
This needle case has been made by assembling fragments of rich dress fabrics which would have been kept for this purpose. Women of all classes of society would have made such needlecases; only the materials used would have varied. Both practical and decorative needlework played an important part in women's lives, in the management of households and in the making, mending and decoration of clothes. Steel needles were essential equipment, and were carefully stored in such decorated needle cases.

Materials & Making
The needle case has been constructed as a folder with leaves and pockets inside. The outside is covered in a silk and linen fabric closely striped with metal strip. One side has a pear shape in semi-relief, with green velvet appliqué leaves. The other side has a pocket containing scissors. On the inside is a mirror, bound with gilt braid; two leaves of red felted wool, scalloped and edged with twisted gilt thread, attached to the case by being sewn onto a piece of pink ribbon; and two pockets covered in a fragment of rich dress silk brocaded with strips of silver thread. Other fabrics which appear in the linings are plain-woven green and pink silks, and unpatterned silver tissue.

Physical description

Needlecase and scissors.



Materials and Techniques

Embroidered silk, velvet and flannel, with glass mirror, silver-plated brass with steel blades

Descriptive line

Needlecase of silk and metal thread, made in England, with silver-plated brass and steel scissors, probably made in the Netherlands, second half 17th century

Labels and date

British Galleries:
A skilled needlewoman might have made this little case for herself, or as a gift. She used scraps of silk dress fabrics and pieces of red wool. The case contains pockets for scissors, a small mirror, and other sewing tools. It also still contains two needles, pinned inside. [27/03/2003]


Silk (textile); Thread; Flannel; Glass; Brass; Steel


Velvet; Embroidered; Plated; Brocaded


Household objects; British Galleries; Embroidery; Needlework accessories; Textiles


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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