My chatelaine

Antique chatelaines were sewing tools on silver chains which needleworkers attached to their busom with an attractive brooch. I decided I to design my own chatelaine. Besides traveling, I often stop and start projects and needed everything handy.

To the left is my third try and close to perfect for my needs.For my first one I actually used two men's ties attached at the middle. I did attach scissors, needle cases and pincushion by chains and added small pockets at the bottom. The chains were always tangling and catching on things.

On my second try I used a man's tie for a pattern and used decorator fabric. I made pockets (or pouches) for items. In addition to needle cases, scissors and pincushion, I also had an emory bag (to sharpen pins and needles), an awl, a tiny tape measure, and sterling antique threads holders. It was too much and too heavy. So on my third try I stripped down to what I needed the most and decided to make it pretty as well as practical by doing it with crazy quilting.

On the far top right I have two needlecases. One is long and used to be a sterling case for a thermometer but is perfect for long needles I use for doll making. The other case is used for regular embroidery needles. Both are on chains and tuck into pockets so they won't get lost and won't interfere with my handwork.

Below the the needlecases is a flat pincushion in which pins are inserted from the side. I may replace it with one filled with emory powder. It holds only a limited amount of pins because it is small but certainly enough for handwork.
Below the pincushion at the bottom of the right side is a pocket that has a tab which swings out and holds needles that are threaded and in use. When using several colors the unused threaded needles can be pinned into the tab and needle and thread tucked into the pocket.
On the left side is my beloved scissor angel with its own pocket for the scissors. At the bottom of the left side is another pocket into which I tuck all theads I clip.
I've made it pretty to look at and pretty to wear by doing it with crazy quilting and adding favorite buttons and charms. I've used this many years now and it has traveled all over with me. If you decide to make one I recommend you make a list first of what you need to have and draw the size of pockets needed on your "tie" pattern.


Rose Anne B said...

WOW that is very very practical but OHHH so beautiful too!!! You are such a talented lady, my dear!

Plays with Needles said...

I DO want to be you when I grow up!

I have a question though...why do you find it's best to keep your supplies around your neck rather than in a hussif? I don't have any official stuff yet -- still carrying my supplies in clear plastic ziploc bags....don't tell anybody...but I would like to make some supplies to go in my new painted box. I see some women who have chatelaines like yours so I'm wondering what the advantage is, oh wise needle mother...?
xo Susan

Anonymous said...

Oh wise needle mother! I love that!

What a great Idea, so practical, so beautiful, so useful. Love it. I was only gone for 2 days, and look what I missed. I really must try to keep up. I would love to try my hand at one of these.(Coming up north in a few weeks to visit my son. Can't wait). Thanks for sharing. Suzie in Idaho

Ati. said...

Thát is very clever and handy. And nice to look at too !
I have a beautiful hussif which is made for me by Anne in France. It looks like an evening purse on the outside but I use it all the time :)

Magpie Sue said...

Brilliant! I always wore my folding scissors on a ribbon around my neck when I was doing needlepoint. Never got so far as to making a place for my needles or anything else though. I've been to the big quilt shows too, where women wear vests or name tags covered in the pins they collect from such events. Your chatelaine design could easily accomodate a few of those too! I don't go much of anywhere these days but I love this idea.

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