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A bag or purse, made from silk velvet and steel beads, c. 1905, from LACMA.

A silk velvet bag, beaded with steel beads, c. 1905, from LACMA.

The most annoying thing I find when dressing up in historical costume is when I have spent so much time on getting my garments completed, only to realise that I really should have spent some time focussing on gathering accessories. I have improved at this over time, beginning to first be aware of my hairstyle, and then whether I should wear gloves or jewellery.

Most recently I was particularly irritated to find that I really needed to take a handbag to an event (rather than a cane basket, which is often my go-to historical handbag accessory) and I had nothing historically suitable and had to use my modern handbag. It just didn’t feel right walking down the street in my lovely Victorian clothes and carrying my huge black leather handbag over my shoulder.

An Early 19th Century velvet purse, with an embroidered and beaded design, from Granite Pail Collectables.

An early 19th Century red velvet purse, with an embroidered and beaded design, as well as looped beaded edging, from Granite Pail Collectables.

So I decided to embark on making a handbag. I have reticules that I use for Regency, and large pockets that I use for 18th century clothing, but the real absence in my bag-wardrobe was something for the Victorian and Edwardian period.

During the late Victorian and early Edwardian period there were many many different styles of bags. There were beaded bags, embroidered bags, crocheted bags, metal mesh bags, leather bags, tatted bags, drawstring bags, clasp-style bags… I could go on! And there were just as many different sizes and shapes as well.

I eventually decided I wanted a clasp-style bag, with a short chain, but large enough to hold my essentials; that is, a phone, wallet, fan, and car keys. I found a remnant of scarlet velvet and also some white satin in my stash and purchased some black beads, a black clasp and a black chain from my local craft store.

Pattern

I followed the instructions by Guthrie & Ghani on how to draft your own pattern for a metal frame purse. This was a great tutorial and my finished pattern looked like this!

The pattern for the clasp bag, drawn on 1/4 inch grid paper.

The pattern for the clasp bag, drawn on 1/4 inch grid paper.

It is drawn on 1/4 inch grid paper and does not include seam allowances. After I had begun I foolishly discovered that this size of bag would probably not fit my fan in it, so I added a bit extra on to the seam allowances to make it longer (and slightly wider).

Construction

I have not detailed my construction steps here, as I found many tutorials on making this type of bag, and I have included some of the ones I used in the Sources list below.

As I was working with velvet, I decided to draw the pattern piece onto the back of the material with an embroidery design for the beading I wanted to complete.

The beading pattern was drawn on the back of the velvet. The beading here has already been started.

The beading pattern was drawn on the back of the velvet. The beading on this panel has already been started.

The beading was done with solid black seed beads and a larger diamond-shaped bead.

The beading detail on the bag, taken with the flash on (which is why the velvet looks so red!).

The beading detail on the bag (taken with the flash on, which is why the velvet looks so red!).

Once the beading was completed for both sides of the bag, it was cut to size and sewn together. The white satin lining was also cut and sewn. I decided to add a little internal pocket on the lining. For tips on sewing the bag together, check out this tutorial from So Sew Easy.

The corners of the bag were “boxed” to allow better fitting of items inside. There are some helpful tutorials online on how to do this.

The bottom edge was beaded with an overlapping scalloped type of fringe.

The bottom of the bag, showing the boxed corners and the scalloped beading.

The bottom of the bag, showing the boxed corners and the scalloped beading.

Depending on the type of clasp you purchase, some bags need to be glued in place, while others need to be sewn in place. I bought one that needed to be sewn. I used vertical stitches to sew the top edge of the bag inside the metal frame, which was the most common technique I had found on extant bags of this type.

The bag sewn to the metal clasp, showing the vertical (rather than horizontal stitches).

The bag sewn to the metal clasp, showing the vertical (rather than horizontal stitches). You can also see the slight gathering around the top of the bag.

I also gathered the top edge of my bag with gathering stitches to help ease in the fullness (which came from me enlarging the pattern at the beginning). The benefit of having gathers at the top is that it increases the capacity of the bag.

The inside view of the finished bag, showing the internal pocket and the stitches that attached the bag to the frame.

The inside view of the finished bag, showing the internal pocket and the stitches that attached the bag to the frame. The gathered top edge of the bag can also be seen.

And here it is all finished!

Finished!

Finished!

It is quite a roomy bag, for a little one anyway.

Just in time to take to a Victorian picnic this weekend! I also plan to use this bag for a Titanic-themed dinner later on in the year.

My outing to the Victorian picnic, showing my new bag in action!

My outing to the Victorian picnic, showing my new bag in action!

 

Related Posts

Titanic Panic! – Making a Chemise/Drawer Combination Suit – the first in a series of posts on 1912 costume.

My Regency Journey: Making Reticules

Making an Embroidered Pocket

Sources and Relevant Links

Image 1 Source: A silk velvet purse, c. 1905, from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Image 2 Source: An early 19th Century purse, from Granite Pail Collectables.

How to draft your own pattern to make a metal frame purse – by Guthrie and Ghani

How to sew a coin purse with a sew-in metal frame – by So Sew Easy

DIY: 1920’s evening bag – by The Closet Historian

How to Box Corners – by Sew 4 Home

How to do Beaded Fringe – by Beadwork

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These are the last two embroideries for my new quilt project, “Jane Austen’s Bonnet” by Brenda Ryan.

This quilt is a wall-hanging, and features 20 diamond patches that are embroidered with various stitcheries on a Regency theme. The embroideries are nicely framed within the patchwork structure of the quilt and the result is very pretty.

These last two embroideries are quotes and are not in the original quilt. These replace some of the flower embroideries that weren’t really my style. After I searched up some quotes, I printed up a design on my computer that could be traced onto the fabric and then embroidered.

A quote

A quote from Jane Austen’s letters to her sister, Cassandra.

This quote is from one of Jane Austen’s letters to her sister, Cassandra.

Next week shall begin my operations on my hat, on which you know my principal hopes of happiness depend.

I thought a hat quote was essential in a Jane Austen’s Bonnet Quilt! The embroidery is done with a backstitch in one strand of DMC embroidery cotton. I should have done two strands, as all of the other quotes have used two strands.

A quote

A quote from “Emma”, by Jane Austen.

The above quote is from Emma, by Jane Austen.

If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am. You hear nothing by the truth from me.

Mr Knightley says these words to Emma as he tries to find a way to ask her to be his wife. This embroidery has also been stitched with a backstitch, but using two strands of DMC embroidery cotton. I have also stitched a quick running stitch around the outside of the diamonds to mark the stitching line, which I hope will be useful when I put the quilt together.

Stay tuned for the last post of this series, Part Eleven, where I will be putting the quilt together and finishing it all off! – coming soon.

Related Posts

Jane Austen’s Bonnet – Part One

How to make an American Quilt

My English Paper Piecing Project

Sources and Relevant Links

Brenda Ryan Embroidery Designs

Jane Austen’s Bonnet – by Brenda Ryan Embroidery Designs

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The next two embroideries I had planned to do for my project, the “Jane Austen’s Bonnet” quilt by Brenda Ryan, were ones of Regency men. These embroideries are not included in the original quilt, but I chose to replace four floral arrangements in the quilt that weren’t really my style.

The easiest way to get a suitable picture to embroider seemed to be to find a fashion plate of the era. I particularly wanted pictures that had very little of the face showing, as I find faces quite difficult to embroider. The first picture I found was of my intended “Mr Bingley” portrait.

Costume Paresian, 1809.

“Habit de Drap Vert Melange. Culotte de Peau Blanche.” Costume Parisien, 1809.

Google Translate kindly translated the French for me: “Green coat cloth mix. White leather breeches.”

The next image was for my intended “Mr Darcy” portrait.

Costume Parisien, 1806.

“Habit a Pattes de Redingotte. Culotte blanche de Veloursacotes.” Costume Parisien, 1806.

Google Translate also translated the French for me on this one, although a little more cryptically: “Great coat dress has legs. White pants corduroy.” One day I will learn French, but at least you get the idea.

I used a light box to trace an outline of the images in fine-liner, only copying the detail that I wanted to include. Then I enlarged my fine-liner copy to the size needed for the quilt. The enlarged copy was then traced (again with the aid of a light box) on to the material to be embroidered.

The first one to complete was “Mr Bingley”.

Mr Bingley was good looking and gentlemanlike; he had a pleasing countenance, and easy, unaffected manners.

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

Mr Bingley, embroidered

Mr Bingley, embroidered, wearing a dark green coat and buckskin breeches.

This embroidery uses backstitch, running stitch, colonial knots, satin stitch and whipped chain stitch.

The second embroidery to complete was “Mr Darcy”.

…Mr Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien; and the report which was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance, of his having ten thousand a year.”

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

Mr Darcy, embroidered

Mr Darcy, embroidered, with a dark blue coat and grey breeches.

This embroidery uses backstitch, running stitch, and colonial knots, with some gold beading being used for the buttons. I quite like how they have turned out!

I have also stitched a quick running stitch around the outside of the diamond to mark the stitching line.

The last two embroideries of the quilt will be included in the next post, Part Ten.

Related Posts

Jane Austen’s Bonnet – Part One

How to make an American Quilt

My English Paper Piecing Project

Sources and Relevant Links

Brenda Ryan Embroidery Designs

Jane Austen’s Bonnet – by Brenda Ryan Embroidery Designs

Image Source: Regency man fashion plate, from 1809 – via Pinterest

Image Source: Regency man fashion plate, from 1806 – via Pinterest

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I am down to the last few embroideries of my quilt, the “Jane Austen’s Bonnet”, by Brenda Ryan. This quilt is intended to be a wall hanging in my home, and I have chosen a purple and green colour scheme. I have been really enjoying the process of working through small embroideries with the aim of putting them together for a bigger project later.

This post presents the last two stitcheries that I will be doing that are included in the original quilt. They are titled by the author, a “nicely worked reticule” and “The Regency bonnet”.

An embroidered reticule

A lilac reticule in embroidery

This embroidery uses backstitch, running stitch, whipped chain stitch, satin stitch, blanket stitch, and both colonial and french knots. The handle and neck of the reticule are made with ribbon embroidery techniques. The green “cords” have been created with a green chain stitch whipped with gold thread, and beads have been added to create a tasselled look. The wisteria flower decoration is my own creation and is hopelessly out of scale to the reticule, however this quilt represents some of my first attempts at a wider range of embroidered flowers so I suppose I should expect these types of errors!

A frilled bonnet embroidery

A frilled bonnet in embroidery

This embroidery uses backstitch, running stitch, bullion stitch, detached chain stitch, blanket stitch and french knots. The ties for the bonnet have been made with ribbon embroidery. The original design had a few more ties which I have omitted, however the inclusion of the extra ties does make the embroidery sit more centrally on the diamond.

In addition to the embroidery, I have also stitched a quick running stitch around the outside of the diamond to mark the stitching line, which I hope will be useful when I put the quilt together.

The last four embroideries I will feature as part of this series are similar in style to Brenda Ryan’s, but I have sourced and traced myself.

Stay tuned for Part Nine of this series.

Related Posts

Jane Austen’s Bonnet – Part One

How to make an American Quilt

My English Paper Piecing Project

Sources and Relevant Links

Brenda Ryan Embroidery Designs

Jane Austen’s Bonnet – by Brenda Ryan Embroidery Designs

Read Full Post »

Jane Austen's Bonnet, by Brenda Ryan.

Jane Austen’s Bonnet, a quilt by Brenda Ryan.

I am just over half way through my current project, the quilt “Jane Austen’s Bonnet”, by Brenda Ryan.

This quilt is a wall-hanging, and features 20 diamond patches that are embroidered with various stitcheries on a Regency theme. The embroideries are nicely framed within the patchwork structure of the quilt and the result is really gorgeous.

I have chosen a purple and green colour scheme, and I am trying to use relatively bold colours so the embroideries stand out.

For my 13th embroidery I did the ladies floral fan.

A floral fan in purple accents

An embroidered floral fan, in purple accents.

This pretty fan is one of my favourites. It is embroidered using backstitch, and running stitch, colonial knots, detached chain stitch and fishbone stitch. It is further embellished with gold-coloured beads and glass beads. The bow and ribbons, as well as some of the flowers, are made using ribbon embroidery.

For embroidery number 14, I did another pretty Regency lady looking a tad windblown! This one reminds me of when the ladies of “Persuasion” went walking along the Cobb at Lyme.

A Regency Lady

An embroidery of a Regency Lady, being blown about by the wind.

This Regency lady was embroidered using backstitch, running stitch, stem stitch, colonial and french knots, and detached chain stitch. It also has ribbon embroidery on the bonnet and corsage, for the ribbon ties and some of the flowers. I am slightly unhappy with the paleness of the flesh colour I have used for the neck and chin, and am considering trying to highlight it with a slightly darker thread. In this picture it does not look so bad though.

I have also stitched a quick running stitch around the outside of the diamond to mark the stitching line, which I hope will be useful when I put the quilt together.

I only have six more embroideries to complete, two of which are Brenda Ryan’s own design. I have decided to add two more Jane Austen quotes to my quilt, and I am trying to draw up two “Mr Darcy’s” to include as well. These four embroideries will be replacing four floral emblems that are included in the original design.

Stay tuned for Part Eight of this series. – coming soon

Related Posts

Jane Austen’s Bonnet – Part One

How to make an American Quilt

My English Paper Piecing Project

Sources and Relevant Links

Brenda Ryan Embroidery Designs

Jane Austen’s Bonnet – by Brenda Ryan Embroidery Designs

Read Full Post »

My new quilt, “Jane Austen’s Bonnet” by Brenda Ryan, is coming along nicely!

This quilt is a wall-hanging, and features 20 diamond patches that are embroidered with various stitcheries on a Regency theme. The embroideries are nicely framed within the patchwork structure of the quilt and the result is very pretty.

For my eleventh embroidery, I have done another bonnet, this time a purple and straw-coloured bonnet.

A Purple and beige embroidery

A Purple and Beige embroidery of a bonnet

This embroidery used: backstitch, running stitch, blanket stitch, french knots, colonial knots, fly stitch, lazy daisy stitch and beetle stitch. The bow was done with ribbon embroidery, as was some of the flowers on the bonnet.

For my twelfth embroidery, I did a fashionable Regency lady, shown outside some curved Bath windows. I changed this embroidery from the original design a little. It did have flowers on either side of her, a little randomly placed, so instead I extended the “wall” embroidery on the left and put some climbing roses along the wall instead.

A Regency lady outside Bath windows

A Regency lady outside Bath windows

For this embroidery I have used: backstitch, running stitch, stem stitch, colonial knots, and lazy daisy stitch and bullion stitch for the roses. The bow on the side of the bonnet is done with ribbon embroidery and there is beading down the centre front of the gown.

I have also stitched a quick running stitch around the outside of the diamond to mark the stitching line on all of the embroideries, which I hope will be useful when I put the quilt together.

Stay tuned for Part Seven of this series.

Related Posts

Jane Austen’s Bonnet – Part One

How to make an American Quilt

My English Paper Piecing Project

Sources and Relevant Links

Brenda Ryan Embroidery Designs

Jane Austen’s Bonnet – by Brenda Ryan Embroidery Designs

Read Full Post »

I am so excited about the progress of one of my current projects, the quilt “Jane Austen’s Bonnet”, by Brenda Ryan.

For embroidery number nine, I did a very pretty bonnet in dark green.

A dark green bonnet embroidery

A dark green bonnet embroidery

For this embroidery I used: backstitch, running stitch, stem stitch, colonial knots, and french knots. I pleated a thin strip of crochet lace and appliquéd it on with backstitch to create the “frilly brim”. The bows and strings of the bonnet, were done with ribbon embroidery, and the flowers on the bonnet were done with a combination of ribbon embroidery and thread embroidery.

For embroidery number ten, I decided to do another of the Regency ladies, holding a pretty basket of flowers.

An embroidery of a Regency lady with a basket of flowers.

An embroidery of a Regency lady with a basket of flowers.

For this embroidery I used: backstitch, running stitch, stem stitch, french knots, colonial knots, lazy daisy stitch, blanket stitch, fly stitch and bullion stitch. The dress tie and the bow on the basket were done with ribbon embroidery, and the flowers in the basket and on the bonnet were a combination of ribbon embroidery, thread embroidery and beading. The top of the glove has beaded detail as well.

I think that this embroidery is one of my favourites!

I have been stitching a quick running stitch around the outside of the diamond to mark the stitching line, which I hope will be useful when I put the quilt together.

Stay tuned for Part Six of this series.

Related Posts

Jane Austen’s Bonnet – Part One

How to make an American Quilt

My English Paper Piecing Project

Sources and Relevant Links

Brenda Ryan Embroidery Designs

Jane Austen’s Bonnet – by Brenda Ryan Embroidery Designs

Read Full Post »

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