The cost of hand embroidery supplies in 1930

I don't know about you but I find it fascinating to see how the cost of hand embroidery supplies have changed over the years. When I saw a list of equipment and supplies in Helen Whiteford's school exercise book from the 1930's I wanted to share it with you.

The prices are given in sterling: in pounds, shillings and pence, the form of money we used here in the UK before decimalization in 1971.

A pound was made up of 20 shillings in 240 pennies. A shilling consisted of 12 pennies. A penny consisted of two halfpennies or four farthings.

The symbols used for this kind of money were £ for pounds, s. or /- for shillings and d for pennies.

Let's start with the tools and equipment that she lists...

Tools and equipment Cost
Pins 2/10 a pound weight (almost 15 pence)
Needles 4 to a 1/- packet (5 pence)
Thimbles - plastic 1d
Thimbles - plated 3d
Tape measures 6d (about 2.5 pence)
Scissors - embroidery 4/- or 6/- (20 or 30 pence)
Scissors - cutting out 10/- (50 new pence)
Frame, round 3/-, 4/- (15 or 20 pence)
Frame, square 20" 13/4 (about 68 pence)
Pattern making paper, ruled 1/4" 5/4 (about 28 pence)
Tracing paper 5d a sheet (about 2.5 pence)
Indian ink 1/4 for 1oz bottle
Hessian 50" 5/- to 6/- a yard (25-30 pence a yard)
Oatmeal cloth 50"8/6 (42.5 pence a yard)
Cotton crash4/- (20 pence a yard)
Hardanger6/- to 14/- (30 - 70 pence a yard)
Linen 36 to 72", white7/6 to 17/6 (35 - 87 pence)
Linen, dyed 36"10/6 (52.5 pence)
Unbleached calico, 36"4/6 (22.5 pence)
Canvas(various)3/- to 7/- (15 - 35 pence)
Gingham3/2 (16 pence)
Felt14/6 (72.5 pence)
Net6/- (30 pence)
Clarks cotton, stranded4.5d a skein
Soft embroidery cotton4.5d a skein
Cotton a broder3d a skein
Embroidery wool, 4 ply3d a skein
Sewing cotton6d a reel
Tacking cotton2/2 a spool
Tape 36 yards1/5
Bias binding 1/5
Coloured cordfrom 2.5d a yard
Wooden beads 1/4 sq1/- each

To put the prices of the hand embroidery supplies above into perspective, a weekly wage at this time may have been about 30/- (30 shillings or 30 'bob') which would now be £1.50.

  1. Home Page
  2.  ›
  3. Embroidery Supplies
  4.  ›
  5. Hand Embroidery Supplies

You might like these

Recent Articles

  1. Hand embroidery for beginners - stitching letters or names

    May 25, 22 01:08 PM

    The first step in our hand embroidery for beginners course, learn how to embroider names and letters, using a variety of embroidery stitches

    Read More

  2. Do you use cross stitch software to design?

    May 25, 22 12:51 PM

    I am often asked if I use cross stitch software to design. I do now and this is my story of how I started designing needlework

    Read More

  3. Learn stem stitch and variations of this basic embroidery stitch

    May 23, 22 02:47 AM

    This stem stitch tutorial covers the basic stitch, raised stem and portuguese knotted stem. Videos explain how to work the stitches.

    Read More

  4. Embroidery stitches for small flowers

    May 20, 22 06:26 AM

    Simple embroidery stitches for small flowers - ideas and videos showing how to stitch them

    Read More

Keep in Touch with Stitchin'Times Newsletter

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.