Engineer Equipment

Small Box Girder Bridge

Folding Boat Equipment

Bailey Bridge


Load Bearing Equipment

1903 Pattern Equipment
►Oliver Pattern

►1908 Pattern Web Equipment
1937 Pattern Web Equipment

1942 Battle Jerkin

1951 Pattern

►1964 Pattern

1982 Pattern

 Personal Kit

Edged Tools
Kit Bag
Polishing, Washing & Shaving


Sewing Kit
Weapon Cleaning Kits

Protective Gear

►MRC Body Armour

Specialist Clothing

Tank Crew Suits


Sewing Kit

First World War

Called a "Housewife," the typical sewing kit carried by Canadian soldiers included needles, thimble, buttons for Battle Dress and shirts, thread (both thin for badges and thick for darning socks, gloves, and other woolen items), and beeswax (to help waterproof the thread).

The kit was made of khaki cloth with sewn in pockets and was closed by rolling it up and securing it with two cloth ties.

1918hous.jpg (39896 bytes)
Housewives, dated 1916 (top) and 1918.  The C-broad-arrow acceptance mark is a reminder that much personal kit was not replaced by later patterns; instead older patterns were issued until old stocks were exhausted.   It is not unlikely to expect that First World War era housewive were issued in the Second World War, and beyond.  In cases where outdated kit was not a danger to the soldier's life, the older patterns remained on issue until worn out.  The webmaster was issued with a 1952 dated balaclava in 1988, for example, and a 1942 dated blanket was issued to him from British Army stores while on loan to the British Army in 1990.
Artifacts and photo courtesy Ed Storey

Second World War

The housewife changed little during the first half of the 20th Century.  Some sewing kits during the Second World War were actually produced by German prisoners living in Canada.

shav.jpg (52534 bytes)
Canadian Issued Sewing Kit
Photo and artifact courtesy of Gary Balke


razor3.jpg (52767 bytes)

A khaki handkerchief, along with another example of the sewing kit (this view shows the cloth tapes). The needles are inserted into a white rag, and the thread is kept on cardboard formers.  The shaving kit is marked "Gilette" and has a stainless steel razor rather than a brass one as in the example above.

A smaller, single pocket version, also existed.  Khaki housewives continued to be produced and issued long after the Second World War.

singsew.jpg (31499 bytes)
Khaki housewives; top dated 1943, bottom dated 1952.
Artifacts and photo courtesy Ed Storey

Post Unification Canadian Forces

sew78.jpg (52042 bytes)
Photo and artifact courtesy of Ed Storey

The standard Canadian Forces "sewing kit" by the 1990s (no longer called a "housewife") was in green material (cotton, above, and afterwards in nylon, with pockets inside and a piece of felt to which needles could be attacked.  

The kit above is secured by tie tapes and dates from the 1970s (this particular item was issued in 1978).

The kit below, from the 1990s, was secured by velcro to the body of the kit.  Inside the pockets were two plastic bags, one with buttons, and the other with thread, a thimble and a needle threader.   Needles and safety pins were attached to the black felt.  The sample below is dated 1991.

Image001.jpg (35404 bytes)

Image004.jpg (45660 bytes)
Image006.jpg (188998 bytes)
Thread was provided in white, black, and two shades of olive green.  The needle threader is stamped GERMANY(!) while the thimble is marked TAIWAN.
Image003.jpg (26900 bytes)
Buttons include the large (30mm) type found on combat clothing, kit bags, etc., in green, black and white, as well as small (20mm) buttons. 1999-present