Sewing Notions

(click on pictures for enlargements)

In early America, clothing was expensive in two ways – either in cash or in the time and labor needed to make an article of clothing. Many people lived on farms and did not have money to buy clothes so instead they grew flax, turned that into thread, wove the threads into cloth, then sewed the cloth into clothing. Whew! A shirt or chemise made this way had much greater value than comparable clothing today! Therefore, when a tear occurred or a button was lost, the owner was sure to make a repair before more damage was done. For the early American housewife, a sewing basket or box full of “notions” (small items and tools used in sewing), scraps of cloth for patches, and spare buttons was every bit as important as a “possibles bag” was for a man out hunting. The sewing notions we offer are the kind most useful for keeping living history clothing in good repair.



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SN-038   Pin Cushion     These distinctive pin cushions will add a very early American touch to your sewing basket.    Made of cow horn and decorated with scrimshaw in patterns from the 18th century the unique beauty of this pin cushion will surely bring joy to your every sewing project!    Every bit a work of art, each individual pin cushion bears Orville Mumma's maker's mark, a serial number, and the year it was made inscribed on the bottom.   Pictured above are the four we currently have available.    They are shown in the following Serial-Number order: #48 ($35), #80 ($50), #91 ($55) and #97 ($55)

Serial Number
SN-039  Waxed Linen Thread - Heavy Duty    This heavy duty waxed linen thread is ideal for sewing leather projects together. The thread can also be stripped apart for finer sewing projects like making or repairing shirts or breeches that might be torn while out on the trail. At this price, you will find many projects to put this heavy duty thread to use.   25 yards per spool.   $2.00



SN-040  Linen Thread    2-ply, unwaxed. 20 yards per card.    $2.00

SN-001  Loop Straight Pins   These 1½ inch long brass-plated steel straight pins are useful for securing an apron to a lady’s outer garments and for closing a bed gown in a proper manner. Pins were often hard to find in early America and when they were available, they were generally expensive. For this reason, some ladies used locust thorns as a substitute. Some ladies kept chickens and sold eggs to gain “pin money.” Our pins are packaged in sets of five.   $3.00 per set of 5 pins



SN-003  Bone Thread Winder    Bone thread winder with 6 yards of linen thread. Good item to carry in a haversack for making repairs on the spot. When the thread is used up, you will discover that the bone has been carved into a decorative Celtic knot that can be worn as an ornament or replenished with more thread.    $2.00

SN-004  Sinew 20-yard Bobbin   Artificial sinew wound on a handy 20-yard bobbin that can easily be carried in a haversack or sewing kit for making repairs on the trail or in camp. This flat sinew can be easily divided for making thinner threads for more delicate sewing.   $2.00

SN-005  Sinew ½-Pound Spool   Artificial sinew used for sewing projects of all kinds. Strong enough for sewing leather, cloth, even heavy tent canvass, the flat sinew can be divided into finer threads for more delicate sewing jobs. This is one of the handiest products for many different sewing and crafting projects.   $8.00

SN-006   Hemp Twine - Light    Spool of hemp twine for ligh-duty projects.    $5.00

SN-007   Hungarian Hemp Twine - Medium    Spool of hemp twine for medium-duty projects.    $7.00


SN-009   Needle Assortment   This assortment of needles is useful for many projects – but not for sewing buttons or repairing a torn shirt! These are heavy-duty needles most often used for sewing leather or heavy canvass. Six needles in different shapes for different applications.   $5.00

SN-018  Pewter Button       ½" = $1.00; 1" = $1.25



SN-029  Pewter 5-Point Star Button   A good decorative, generic pewter button from our colonial period. Limited supply.    $1.00

SN-022   Scissors   Scissors are among Man’s earliest inventions. Whoever thought of linking two knives together to make a precise cutting tool that even a child could safely master? We do know that scissors are shown in ancient drawings from the earliest civilizations but no one can actually pin down the conception of this basic tool. Our scissors are made in the Orient and follow a design that has been in use for hundreds of years. These scissors come sharp so be careful! With proper care, the edge will last for years before needing re-sharpening. These are a good economical answer to a necessary part of a sewing basket or kit.    4" (Large) = $4.00; 3" (Small) = $3.00; Nippers = $2.00



SN-025  Bone Stab Awl   Here is another tool that has its place in prehistoric antiquity. Tools of bone, stone and wood have been included in the kit of tool-using man since the dawn of hunters and gatherers. Some tools are just hard to put aside, and so it is with the stab awl. This tool is well-suited for opening holes in woven fabric and in lightweight leather. It is just as practical today as it has been for thousands of years. Our bone stab awl comes in natural white and will develop its own unique patina over time as you use it and the natural oils from your hands works its way into the pores of the bone. You can also hasten this process by soaking the tool in tea, laying it overnight in used coffee grounds or wiping its surface with any number of wood stains.    $3.00

SN-026    Bone Bodkin    Almost identical to the Bone Stab Awl, the Bodkin is used to thread twill tape through a lady’s petticoat, to help thread ribbon or tape in a lady’s corset or bodice, and other projects where a blunt needle-like tool is needed. The Bodkin does not have a sharp point as this is not needed for lacing. It does have an enlarged hole at its base for making the insertion of bulky tape or ribbon an easier task.    $3.00



SN-030    Antler Sewing Kit   This is an excellent reproduction of a small sewing kit from the late 18th century as would be carried by a traveler. The workmanship in this unique piece is simply unmatched. The deer antler has been carefully turned on a lathe, then drilled out to form the container. The top and bottom pieces have been hand-threaded with large, coarse threads to make opening and closing easy. This is certainly a museum-quality piece. Comes with a hand-turned bone spool holding a small amount of linen thread and two needles. This will make an excellent addition to a period correct sewing kit. Made by Orville Mumma.    $65.00

SN-031    Bone Spool and Linen Thread    (pictured in Sewing Kit at left)    This hand-turned bone spool is perfect for someone in need of just a small amount of thread for making those emergency repairs – for fastening a loose button, repairing a tear in a shirt, petticoat or breeches – and not wanting a larger kit. Spool length about 1-¼ inch.    $5.00

SN-033    Bee's Wax    All natural 100 percent bee’s wax for sewing and other projects. Sold in 1-ounce bars and Heart shape for sewing kits.    One ounce bars $2.00; Heart $1.00


All Prices Subject To Change Without Notice