The tasteful Victorian parlor or sewing room was not completely finished until the useful little work-stand was made, and furnished with a work box or sewing basket. Both these necessary accompaniments to the corner devoted to the sewing machine, were made in various styles and shapes. Wicker baskets of all kinds were so popular and inexpensive that almost every house was furnished with its work-basket, tasteful or not. Many sewing baskets were home-made articles, created from directions provided in lady’s magazines or needlework books.
The bottom of this standing work basket was constructed from an ordinary “cheese-box" fourteen inches in diameter. Upon the lid a cushion was made, stuffed with wool or hair, and upholstered with merino, velveteen, or other suitable material. It was fastened down in diamonds, with fancy buttons. The uprights were made with "skirtsprings," neatly painted, and wound closely round. The basket is made of a circular box, covered with a bright shade of merino, or tastefully painted or papered; then lined and furnished. The lid is ornamented with a square of the merino, scalloped around the edge, and a bouquet of crocheted flowers fastened on the center. The handle consists of five strands of "hoop-spring," corresponding with the case; woolen cords and balls are looped and knotted to each upright, around the basket.
Hoop-springs were used to construct this sewing basket. Six inches from the bottom, resting on the connecting arched pieces, the lower basket was placed. This basket was made of heavy pasteboard, richly ornamented with enameled paper and pictures, or covered with velvet or muslin, elegantly embroidered. It was lined with quilted silk, and finished with cord and loops.
The top basket was furnished with a lid, with an embroidered or ornamental top, and neatly lined with silk, and arranged with all the paraphernalia of a lady's work-basket. A number of tassels with cords, are festooned around the lower part, and knotted through the wire loops and also fastened in the ornamental rings upon the four corners of the uprights.
This work stand was constructed with green satin and four green chenille tassels. The stand was twenty-eight inches high, constructed of cane, stained black and yellow, and contained two baskets, each twelve inches square and four inches deep. The upper basket had a cover, fastened on with hinges. A quilted satin lining, and the same color silk cord, and chenille tassels completed the decoration of the baskets.
A woven wicker-basket, oval in shape, about fifty-four inches wide at the top, was provided inside and out with a thin layer of batting. Over this, was drawn some bright colored lining, and over the latter some sprigged Swiss muslin with a narrow insertion, run through with satin ribbon. The hollow pockets at the sides of the basket, are made of colored muslin, lined with stiff crinoline, and covered with a puffing of sprigged Swiss muslin; they are finished off at the top by plaited lace, about one and two-fifths inches wide, and a narrow insertion run through with satin ribbon. The outer decoration consisted of a five-inches-deep flounce of tulle garnished with appliqué, and lace. Rings wound about with colored ribbon served as handles; a ruching of satin ribbon, and bows of narrow and wide satin ribbon, completed the basket.
WORK-BASKET WITH STAND
This work basket consisted of a stand of brown cane, twenty-eight and one-half inches high. To the upper basket, a cover provided with a catch was attached by means of hinges. The latter, as well as the two baskets, the bottoms of which were slightly wadded, receive a lining of lilac silk. Attached to the upper side of the cover was a flat pincushion made of silk and batting. The basket was edged with a ruching of pinked silk. The inner decoration of the cover consisted of a piece of silk, shirred on a round piece of card-board, four inches in diameter, and edged with a similar ruching. Four bows finished the pretty decoration.
This work basket was designed to hold the many bits of paper and scraps of waste material which otherwise would litter a sitting-room. It was made quite ornamental at little expense. The stand was made of rattan and a half wide ribbon-spool. The bag and fringe was black in color. To be serviceable, the bag was lined with strong twilled muslin and opened with a drawing-string, and, as the inside of the top showed, was faced with green or black silk — delicate colors would soil too quickly. The bag was trimmed with box-plaited ribbon and fringe.