Points of Interest for a Sewist and Vintage Lover Visiting Nauvoo, Illinois

by Amy Draughon


Last month I was privileged to go to Nauvoo, Illinois with the girls in my church's youth group. We had a fantastic time! Nauvoo was a beautiful place with tons to see. The town is full of pioneer history, sites, plays, and exhibits. 

Though the performances and historic buildings were marvelous, a few things sparked my interest more than others. As a lover of sewing, fabric, and all things vintage, these sites got my inner sewist excited!

Nauvoo has many preserved homes of famous pioneer persons on tour for the public, but one had a small artifact that I thought was very special. Inside the Browning Gun Shop was this little beauty...

It's a 1800's sewing basket! Yes, I was very excited, and pleasantly surprised - I thought this was going to be a bunch of gun stuff!

It's real and authentic! The tour guide said so. 

There is a sign inside the basket that says "Please Do Not Touch". But I really wish I could have picked it up....


This next place was my favorite historic site to see! Our tour guide was so lovely.  I found tons of treasures inside the Lyon Drug and Variety Store! 

We walked in and my eyes went straight to this wall of... FABRIC!

Though I highly doubted it, I asked our tour lady if they happened to be authentic. They're not, just similar patterns to those popular in the 1800's. 

The prints were so pretty, and beautifully organized... These small florals were my favorites: 

There were also sewing supplies and notions. 

Neat little threads:

Fancy ribbons:

These items were antiques, and so they were in a glass case. Hence the blurry photos.... 

These dolls on the top shelf were cool. Our guide told us they would be regularly redressed to show customers the latest fashions. I like the one in blue. 

How would you like to curl and straighten your hair with these?

And I adore these parasols! The lace is so pretty. Gosh I wish it were still normal to carry these around for shade!


There were a few more cool things in some of the other historic buildings of Nauvoo.

Upstairs in the Cultural Hall...

Hair art anyone? Yes this wreath is made of real human hair!

Rooms full of quilts were on display upstairs. Here's just a few of them: 

And because I'm a sucker for lace, I took a picture of the curtains:

These spinning wheels are from the Wilford Woodruff Home: 

As well as this cute bedspread: 


On our last day in Nauvoo, we made a quick run downtown to search for souvenirs.

I jokingly thought to myself that the only thing worth buying would be fabric. What do you call it when you jinx yourself, but in a good way?

Anyways, we piled the girls into the van and drove downtown. As we walked around looking at t-shirts and such, I spotted the Art Needlework Shop. 

The fabric was in the very back.

I wanted to bring it all home with me! They had pre-cut fabric for $3/yd. and various remnants ranging from 50 cents to $2. And the patterns were all so beautiful! 

If I lived in Nauvoo, I would be a regular customer for sure.

Excuse the messy tent...

I came home $13 poorer, but 9 yards richer :) I can't wait to sew with these lovelies! 

So long Nauvoo, Illinois! It was a blast!