I have been pinning pictures of these pretty things for ages on Pinterest. Some hussiffs are embroidered, some are pieced, some are both. They were tied to a woman's belt (often underneath her petticoat) and used to keep sewing materials in or keys or the like.
When Nat visited me a couple of weeks ago we decided we would make a couple of different ones: a pieced one and an embroidered one. They seemed to have become a little art form a bit like fans or netsuke in Japanese art. There are many lovely examples on our Pinterest boards. Below is the pieced one I finished a couple of days ago. It is made from reproduction civil war fabrics.