Thursday, April 25, 2024

Victorian Hatpin Box

 A dear family friend, Christie, entrusted me with her great-aunt's silver hatpin box. The lace covers the hat pin cushion. I'm not sure if the lace is tatted or crocheted, but it's very delicate. 

Also, it was carefully pieced together, so it's possible that it was a collar or something that was re-purposed as a covering. You can see a faint, curved line on the lower right part:

Underneath the lace is the silk covered pin cushion:

Here's the bottom of the pin cushion. It was handsewn:

The pin cushion sits on a base of silver:

This box inserts into the silver part:

Here's what it looks like from the bottom:

The bottom of the box fits snugly, but is not attached:

Here's the silver with the box insert removed:

Here's the bottom of the silver box:

The saffron silk was a  later addition, covering the original silk, which was a light blue, which you can see on the hidden parts:

The Restoration

I cleaned the lace in Quilter's soap, which is recommended on antique fabrics. It came recommended by historical textile experts as safe. It also had good reviews on Amazon. If it had been a larger piece of lace, I would have tacked it onto a piece of muslin. Since it's small, I laid it in a shallow dish and let it soak (no bending or twisting or agitating!)  The water was a satisfying greige, and I laid the lace out on a towel to dry. However, the lace hasn't lost its vintage vibe:

I forgot to take a photo of the pin cushion without the lace! But you can see it in the video at the end of this blogpost.

Here's the new box insert. I re-used the wooden frame of the box and removed the red fabric. I replaced the bottom with acid-free book board. It fits snugly like the original, but can pop out and be replaced if needed:

Here's the inside bottom with the box insert removed: 

The original bottom was cardstock and badly damaged. I replaced it with paper-leather, which is very sturdy. It won't tear or crack and is also more pliable in getting it into place. The product I used is no longer available, but here's the same product from a different company.

Here's the bottom:

And here are the remnants:

Here is the "Before" video walk-thru:

Here is the "After" :