Monday, January 3, 2011

My Favorite French Sewing Things

The Needle - A Noble Product!

So begins the Bohin website. With an attitude like that, you would expect some spectacular needles - and they are. I am not sure how I wound up with a package of Bohin Appliquer needles in my possession but I noticed more and more that when I had some hand sewing, I was searching for my Bohins. Then I noticed that a marking pencil that I had picked up at a local quilt store because of it's unique design worked really well for my needs -- and it was made by Bohin. Hmmm. I decided to learn more about the company.

It says right on the needle packaging that the needles are made in France. The website relates that the company is located on the Risle river in Normandy, France and has been in business for over 170 years. The building it is housed in is registered as an historic building and the machinery used is engineered and designed on the premises.  Bohin actually began as a toy manufacturer but shifted to  needles and pins in 1868. The company has kept up with times, modernizing as needed, and winning an environmental award for purifying the water it used in its nickel plating operations so completely. To quote the company description of the factory: This old mill on the edge of the Risle river has been preserved through continuous use.  It has evolved through time whilst maintaining its original character and architecture. Everywhere on the Bohin website you find words like quality, exacting, precision. That certainly is true of the needles that I have. They are delicate but strong. I find it fascinating that something as simple as a needle can create a good feeling for a person, but it is true.

The marking pen looks like a ballpoint pen. It comes with refills in multi-colors. The tip is fine and easily marks fabric and as easily erases or washes out. The 'pens' actually have erasers on their tops. I like the precise marking that I can make with them without having to stop and sharpen pencil tips as I do with most marking pencils.

Bohin has been selling its notions in the U.S. since 1997. I can't find a catalog for the U.S. but the needles and pens are available in selected stores and through the internet. They are worth a try if you have access.


  1. "...has been preserved through continuous use. It has evolved through time whilst maintaining its original character..." Wonderful words! Would that it could be said of us humans, too... preserving our Selves through continuous use of our minds, hearts, bodies; evolving, learning and growing, while still maintaining the original, very *best* aspects of our characters...Hmmm. Must look this company up to see if they distribute in Canada...

  2. What a great thought. I am going to have the chance to be in Paris for a few days later in January and am going to check out some sewing notion shops and see if I can find their glass head pins. They sound really nice.

  3. Margaret, I just went web browsing and look what I found for Paris. A blog that mentions pins by Bohin.

  4. Good to find products you can count on! I will look into them. Where did you find the needles - on internet?

  5. I have a feeling it might have been in Chicago or Houston when I got to attend a quilt show. I know there was an exhibit in Houston by the company. It was definitely in the US as they have a price of $2.95 on the back.

  6. I love my Bohin pencil -- I bought it at Quilt Festival in Chicago last year. I don't know how I lived without it.

    I bought some very fine "silk pins" at my local quilt store -- they have glass heads and I adore them. If they still have them, I'll find out the brand for you.