The Christian Commission distributed "housewives"-- handy sewing kits-- to Union soldiers. These plans were printed to encourage women and children to make the "housewives" as a part of their "living electric chain" with the soldiers.
It is said by many soldiers and sailors that a well-filled house-wife saves them from Five to Fifteen Dollars in cash. It enables them to mend their clothes, sew on buttons, &c., and thus preserves what would soon be destroyed, and have to be replaced by new. Beside this, the moral value of one of these little articles is often unspeakable. We are frequently asked how they should be made. The following is the most simple, convenient and serviceable style we have seen. Let them be of strong calico or similar material, double, plain, neat, with one pocket and needle-book, and well-made. Fill them with linen thread, needles, pins, buttons, &c., with a little letter giving the name and post-office address of the sender. The length, shown by the line A B, is seven inches; the width, B C, is four inches; the pocket is inserted at G H, about midway between A and B, and extending down to B C; fastened to the outer edge of the pocket, and reaching half-way to B C, are two or three bits of flannel for needles and pins there is a button at E, on the outside, and the whole, when filled, is rolled up and fastened by an elastic cord. Housewives, thus made, are much more convenient and serviceable than comfort bags.