Saturday, May 9, 2009

Pocket History, Part II of the History of Aprons

This is the Part II to the Apron History Part I from last weekend! I never imagined that this is how it used to be...

Romance Novel author Joanna Bourne at Historical Romance wrote a historic apron review which included how pockets were used in this period. Joanna assembled representative apron and pocket paintings and photographs from the 18th century and has given some explanation for their use and construction.

It never occurred to me that pockets were a separate article of clothing.

Here is what she has gathered:


These were not the sewed-in feature we are used to. They were a little bag tied at the waist, under the skirt. Often this was two pockets, tied separately, and worn one on each hip.

This makes comprehensible the nursery rhyme:

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

I am guessing that this nursery rhyme has worried and puzzled generations of readers.

We have some early C18 pockets here, from the V & A.

These are linen, sewn with linen thread, embroidered in coloured silks, with silk ribbon and linen tape.

A couple more below.

Find them in detail here.

These are from Meg Andrews, Antique Costume and Textiles. Her site is here. These pockets are white cotton, marcella quilted, joined on a wide 2 inch band. They tie with tapes. There's a different design on the two pockets. Odd, what.

Here's a pair of 1796 pockets -- exactly in era. These are embroidered linen.

They belong to the Met, which welcomes you here.

You're wondering how folks got into their pockets in 1794?

Folks got into the pockets by reaching through slits in the seam of their skirt. The caraco in 1794 wouldn't have been long enough to interfere with access, so they could just go through that skirt.

Look here where you see just exactly those slits.

They're doing the other thing they did with these pocket holes, which is they pulled a hank of skirt up through them to shorten the skirt. Fashionable women did this for 'the look'. Working women did it to get the skirts out from underfoot.

Or for the look, I guess. And this print is from Yale. Find it Here

5 Goddesses Have Spoken:

Cat said...

Good Saturday Mornin'..
Thank you so much for listing my Mother's Day Apron giveaway on your awesome blog.. I grabed ur cute button for my blog.. :)

Have a Happy Mother's Day..

Neas Nuttiness said...

What a wonderful lesson for the day!

Anonymous said...

so cool!!

Aunt Spicy said...

Okay, love the history of fashion! THanks for sharing...the embroidery on linen is gorgeous!

Dia said...

Aren't 'pockets' fun!! I encountered this info sometime along the way, & have also been intrigued! But it makes so much sense, rather like we use a purse, to have the 'stuff' you need in your pockets, & just change the outer garment!

a delightful little book I found years ago is 'I cut my cote' from a Canadian musuem. The whole quote is 'I cut my cote (coat) after my cloth' (after = in the shape of) & some of the common designs came from animal skins.