17th-19th Century Pockets and Housewife Sewing Kit Sewing Pattern
17th-19th Century Pockets and Housewife Sewing Kit Sewing Pattern by Miller's Millinery
17th century undergarments extended skirts away from a woman's body, exposing their waist purses to thievery. A flat pouch which tied under the skirt became the solution for safely storing money and personal items such as sewing tools, snuff boxes, keys and smelling salts. Often worn in pairs tied around the waist, these "pockets" did not put stress on the garment. Easy access was achieved by creating side slits in the outer garment or by wearing the pocket under an open robe or an apron.From the late 1790's through the 1820's, dresses were too skimpy to conceal the pocket's shape. As dress skirts increased and layers of petticoats returned, so did the use of pockets. By the mid-1800's, small pockets were being stitched into a skirt seam to hold a handkerchief or other lightweight items. However, a single detached pocket was still useful to safeguard valuables, especially when traveling in public carriages or by rail. It was worn under the side front skirt opening. Detached pockets continued to be worn into the last quarter of the 1800's in rural areas.
That pockets were not always hidden is suggested by the many beautifully embellished pockets existing in textile collections. 17th and 18th century pockets were usually linen or a linen and cotton combination. Many are embroidered with fanciful flowers and luscious fruit. As the technology was invented, printed fabrics were also used. Stitching many small pieces of fabrics together became popular in the 1800's. Pockets were also made from a single piece of fabric - woven, striped linen, printed linen and printed cotton. Pairs of pockets were not always exactly the same.
Please see back cover photo for fabric and notion requirements.
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