A huswife (or housewife) is a small kit for sewing supplies, made & used by women in the 18th & 19th centuries. Civil War soldiers were given these kits to store mending supplies as they went to war. (source: Remembering Adelia, by Kathleen Tracy)
I just finished making several of these to give to friends, using Kathleen Tracy's pattern from her quilt book Remembering Adelia. It was fun to play in my Civil War repro stash! Below are the huswifes, showing the front and the back (I made them in pairs). I made one pair in 1930 repro fabrics because a few of the women prefer those over Civil War fabrics.
I made them slightly different from Kathleen Tracy's pattern: I blanket-stitched down the wool needle holder, and I used a loop & button as a closure instead of ribbon.
I really enjoyed this project! I learned that I could felt my own wool, and I learned how to do a blanket stitch. And....I finished them in time for Christmas!