1870s Victorian Friendship Etui handmade needle box

Circa 1870s handmade “etui”, a sewing box that folds out and holds needles and other accessories. This delightful example uses colorful plaid papers along with scenes of children and gold metallic “Dresden scrap” trim along the edges.

Closed, it’s a little box 3″ high by 2″ wide; fully opened it’s about 7″. The innermost panels are numbered for needle packets– sizes 6, 7, 8 and 9– and two of the original packets are still there. The box top is covered with padded blue silk and features a Dresden embossed floral “scrap” with the word “friendship” on it. In the center of the box is a wooden spool with gilded accents.


The condition is generally very good for its age and fragility. There is slight wear at the corners and very light soil. The silk fabric is in good shape and the papers are very colorful. There is wear on top of the thread spool where there may have been a decorative finial, or it may be from a thimble resting atop the spool. A delightful example of Victorian charm!