March 31, 2015

HSM March Challenge: Patchwork Pockets

Lucy Locket lost her pocket,
Kitty Fisher found it;
Not a penny was there in it,
Only ribbon round it.

For a perfectly period solution to carry my historical (and not so historical!) items during the upcoming museum season, I made a pair of patchwork pockets:

 Much like our modern, increasingly widening and weighty purses, from the 17th to late 19th century, a woman's pockets served as her catchall and receptacle for the day's odds and ends:

"[While] there were no mobile phones, car keys or credit cards in the 18th century...women kept a wide variety of objects in their pockets. In the days when people often shared bedrooms and household furniture, a pocket was sometimes the only private, safe place for small personal possessions [such as money and jewelry]...A pocket was a handy place to keep everyday implements, such as a pincushion, thimble, pencil case, knife and scissors...Other useful things found in pockets were keys, spectacles, a watch and pocket books...Many pockets held objects essential to personal grooming, such as a mirror, scent bottle, snuffbox and comb...A pocket was [even] a useful place to carry food."
Excerpt the Victoria & Albert Museum's neat article on the History of Pockets - make sure to check it out!

Using leftover reproduction cotton and homespun scraps from other projects, I first made a red, yellow & brown themed patchwork pocket, which is backed with (another leftover scrap) a dark, chocolate linen.

Then, just in the nick of time, today, for the March Stashbusting Challenge of the 2015 Historical Sew Monthly, I finished the pair with a blue themed patchwork pocket, backed with leftover fabric from my 1850s striped work petticoat.  A patchwork pocket seemed to be the perfect entry for the stash busting challenge as it doesn't take too much time to make and is a great way to use up some of those scraps.  Plus, what makes these pockets extra worthwhile is that they hold both fond memories of past projects and your keys!

Also, since I missed the February Blue Challenge, I decided to make up for it now with all sorts of blues!

The Challenge:  #3 Stashbusting - make something using only fabric, patterns, trims & notions that you already have in stash.  (Bonus: also works for #2 Blue)

Fabric:  Various reproduction cottons, homespun, linen & a neutral colored cotton (used for binding and lining)

Pattern:  My own with a tutorial to follow

Year:  None specifically; intended use for 1800s-1830s impressions

Notions:  Thread

How historically accurate is it?  Except the machine stitching, I would say the pockets are plausible.  The shape looks right as do the materials, so how about 80% accuracy?

Take a look at some of these beautiful originals:

Pocket 1780-1810.
Winterthur Museum Collection
(Image via:

Early 19th century pocket.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
(Image via:

Early to mid-1800s patchwork pocket.
Royal School of Needlework Collection, Pockets of History, VADS
(Image via:

Here are some more gorgeous 18th Century Women’s Pockets to oogle over and inspire you! 

Hours to complete:  Didn't keep track, but definitely doable within a day.

First worn:  Not yet, though, once I add some cotton tapes, I am looking forward to using them throughout the coming museum interpreting season!

Pockets are great for carrying period sewing supplies...

As well as hiding more modern items!

Total cost:  Free!  Everything came from the stash.

Want a pair of patchwork pockets yourself?  Stay tuned for the upcoming tutorial where I'll show you how simple & fun they are to make!  Thanks for reading!


  1. Oh, those pockets look beautiful! Definitely looking forward to a tutorial! :)

    1. Thank you so much, Jill!! I'm working on that tutorial now :)

  2. Oh I LOVE your pockets!!! I like how you did all the different sized rectangles. So very fabulous my dear!

    1. Thank you so much, Gina!! I tried to make my pockets as scrappy as possible with plenty of twists and turns! :)

    2. Well, you did a brilliant job of it!! I always find it a great challenge to make things look patchwork on purpose!!


We ❤︎ Our Patrons

Like what you see here, and want to support future blogging and educational programming? Consider becoming a Patron - click on the button below to unlock exclusive contents, bonus blog posts, and more! Every contribution makes a big difference, thank you!