Posts Tagged ‘sewing’


February 19, 2016

We have featured ‘lost and found’ thimbles before on this blog but today’s collection were never lost so didn’t have to be found. They were essential items at Market Lavington School.

Thimbles from Market Lavington School

Thimbles from Market Lavington School

This collection is of very standard, ordinary thimbles. There is nothing fancy about them. They date from the first half of the 20th century. They are made of base metal and were designed to be functional rather than decorative. Mind you, many people would find them quite decorative items.

They date back to a time when the male and female genders were treated differently. Sewing was for girls although, oddly enough, being a tailor was a male job. Back in time – it could have been up to the 1970s, girls would have been expected to become proficient at hand sewing. They would have spent time at school practising the craft and learning how to do repair jobs as well as how to make new items.

Pushing a needle through tough material was hard and could be painful and that’s where the thimble came in. They were worn on the end of a suitable finger and could be used to push the needle through. The bobbled surface was intended to make sure the needle did not slip causing injury to the pusher.

We can see from this collection that thimbles came in a variety of sizes to suit any finger. None of these are as tiny as the one featured recently which was found ‘under the floorboards’ at 21 Church Street.

These thimbles are bound to bring back memories for many girls.



A skirt marker

December 28, 2014

The items that arrive at a museum are varied and wonderful. This one (there is a part missing) has recently been given. It was, no doubt, deemed very useful in its day. Indeed, we believe similar items can still be purchased.

A Singer skirt marker at Market Lavington Museum

A Singer skirt marker at Market Lavington Museum

It is, as we can see a skirt marker produced by the Singer manufacturing Company. The device enabled dressmakers to get a straight hem line at the height they required on any dress or skirt they might make.

Inside the box there is a heavy metal base.

The base

The base

The base has a slot in it. The ruler (the missing part) fitted into this. The other part, the marker could slide up or down the ruler to the height required by the dressmaker. And here is that marker.

The marker

The marker

The red pot contains chalk dust and on the right side of it is the slot the ruler goes through. The white piece on top of the pot is the sprayer which can produce a horizontal line of chalk dust when the squeezy bulb is pressed.

So the dressmaker puts on her unhemmed skirt, stands next to the device and turns around gently squeezing the bulb. A line of chalk dust will be deposited on the skirt to mark where the hem line is wanted.

We think this dates from the mid-20th century and was used by a High Street resident of Market Lavington.

Does anyone have the ruler that goes with this?

A Hussif

July 4, 2012

A hussif is a serviceman’s emergency sewing kit. It is suggested that the word is a corruption of ‘housewife’.

At Market Lavington Museum we have a hussif which belonged to Squadron Leader Waters, He had it in Iraq when he was based there in 1939. This airman lived on High Street in Market Lavington. He died in 2010.

The hussif is not much more than a roll of cloth with a couple of pockets,  containing essentials for doing running repairs to clothing.

Hussif dating from 1939 which belonged to Squadron Leader Robert Waters of Market Lavington

No piece of a military man’s equipment is complete without his number.

Was this Robert Waters’ air force number?

Robert waters hussif still has some contents.

There are still a couple of needles in the hussif