Toy chest etui by Betsy Morgan: 5 – the last few toys in the toy chest!

Here are the last few toys that I made as sewing accessories to fit inside the toy chest etui. The whole toy chest and accessories are designed by Betsy Morgan of Willing Hands. They were really fun to make!

This cute drum is only about an inch and a half high. It has wooden drumsticks, made from thin dowel and beads, stitched onto the lid.


The drum is decorated at the back with soft silk ribbon, laced up the seam, and then tied in a bow.


The drum is lined with silk fabric. The drum is actually a container for a small cylinder of beeswax, which is useful to wax your threads with before stitching with them (waxing cuts down on static, and controls curled threads). The wax cylinder has metal ends, so that your fingers stay clean!


But this next accessory is my absolute favourite! It’s a box about two inches square, with counted thread patterns all the way round.


On the base, I embroidered my initials and the date.


When you release the loop on the red bead, a little jack-in-the-box pops up! He’s on a spring, and has a ruff made of fine silk ribbon. In the instructions, it said to make the head from a piece of the checked silk fabric, so that it would just be a ball of fabric. I felt that he needed to have a face! So I made him from white cotton, and embroidered his face on once he had been attached to the spring (not easy!). The head is actually a container for emery powder, used to clean needles – to use it, you push the needle in and out of the fabric a few times, and discolouration is removed.

To be honest, I haven’t actually tried using it, although I did fill the head with the emery powder. I am worried that if I did poke needles in and out of his face, he might end up looking as if he’s got a bad case of blackheads  🙂IMG_2658

So, here is the whole toy chest, with all the accessories displayed around it. This took me about four months’ worth of my spare time of concerted effort to get finished. About half of that was the assembly of the pieces.


It’s a really lovely project to do, and I’m so pleased with it – it’s one of my favourite possessions. It was due to getting withdrawal symptoms from finishing this etui set in 2012 that I decided to start the Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home one!

If you ever get the chance to take one of Betsy Morgan’s workshops, do make the most of the opportunity. Her designs are so creative, and her instructions are very detailed.

As I’ve said before in this series of blog posts, Betsy doesn’t sell these items as kits direct to the public, but instead you buy the whole project pack as part of the workshops which she offers, which last from a couple of days to a week, depending on the item being made (of course, you don’t *finish* the item in a few days, but Betsy shows you all the steps you’ll need to do, and you get the chance to practice, and ask questions, and get started at least!). Betsy is from the USA, but has been over to England a couple of times. In October 2016 she will be offering classes as part of the Beating Around the Bush stitching event in Adelaide, Australia, organised by Inspirations magazine.


Dollhouse Needlepoint newsletter sign-up invitation





11 thoughts on “Toy chest etui by Betsy Morgan: 5 – the last few toys in the toy chest!”

  1. The items look very attractive together. I am a great fan of your assembling skills. Did you actually attend the workshop in England? A couple more questions – I have never used emery to clean needles. What is actually cleaned? Did you buy the wax already with the metal ends? I had never seen them.

    1. I never think my assembly is very good, actually! I go too fast, and I’m not neat enough, as I’m always racing to start the next embroidery project! Emery cleans off burrs on the metal, and takes off the discolouration – it’s like using a small Brillo pad on the needle. The wax piece and the little metal round bits to fit over the ends came as part of the kit.

    1. No, sorry, it’s not mine to sell – you can contact Betsy Morgan direct through her website, but I don’t think she does ‘kit packs’ as such – she does classes only, I think.

  2. What card did you use for the needlecase? What thickness? Was it as thick as the one used for the box?

    1. I used 2mm mount board for the needlecase. The box itself is actually made using Petersham (the kind of stiffener used for making waistbands and hat brims). When both the outside fabric and the lining are laced over Petersham, and then slip stitched back to back, it makes quite a sturdy box.

  3. Hi. I love Betsys designs. I’m about to start the toy box but some of your toys aren’t in the book paint box and hobby horse can you tell me if these are from workshop or are patterns available somewhere else?

    1. There were three designs that Betsy created after she did the original toy box, but they weren’t put out as kit packs, only advertised to workshop participants, I believe. Even Betsy’s new book ‘Willing Hands’ doesn’t include those ones, for some reason.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: