If this is the first post you’ve landed on. Check out part 1 first and then come back here.
So like I said in my last post, I am attempting to sew an C18th woman’s outfit for November, with very basic sewing experience.
And from the first moment that I found out of their existence, I was entranced by the idea of pocket bags.
Pocket bags are a precursor to pockets as we know them today. They’re satchel-like things that tie around a lady’s waist by a string under her skirts with slits. All the skirts also had slits in them to allow access to the pockets. I think they’re brilliant.
I had a quick look around the internet and thought this was something I could get started on straight away because I have a vintage suitcase full of material scraps. I modeled mine on this example and made a partial patchwork design on the front and embroidered around the edges. My fabric choices aren’t historically accurate in this example as they’re just scraps that I had lying around, and I figured they wouldn’t be seen so it wouldn’t matter.
Here is one of my finished pocket bags (right). Not very elegant right? I also had to extend the opening after remembering that I have large hands (thanks dad) and there’s no use to a pocket that I can’t fit my hand into.
As for the making of them, they’re fairly simple. Four shapes the same. I read that they were often uneven so I felt no problem with freehanding the outline and cutting four versions. Then I sewed on the patches, cut the opening down the front piece, and embroidered all the edges.
It just turned out so much messier than I had intended it to. It’s not very elegant, and probably looks more like the pocket bag that would have belonged to a poorer village woman, not the Laird’s healer living at the castle.
I went back and watched the Outlander deleted scene as well as an interview with the costume designer Terry Dresbach, and the pocket bags in the show are actually a lot more elegant looking, as well as larger, both in length and in width in some cases.
But they’re done, and they’ll fit the purpose for now. However, if I have time at the end of the project (which I predict I will as I scheduled myself nine days to complete these pockets and I had them done in two, even with hand sewing!) then I think I’ll remake them a little bit prettier.
I had all my measurements taken yesterday so I can get started on the shift in the next few days. Things are going okay so far! But for now, I’m taking to Pinterest for pretty pocket inspiration….