December 24, 2009

Colonial Pockets

 My goal this year is to outfit myself with a full Colonial ensemble, I am tired of having to borrow items when I do living histories. I started sewing my shift ( I am attempting to hand sew it--we'll see how long that lasts.) Hopefully, I will get started on a petticoat or two, some stays and a nice shortgown. I will be starting pockets soon.   

Colonial pockets were not sewn into ladies clothing as is done today. In colonial times, pockets were two pouches strung on a waistband and tied around the waist, under the petticoat (skirt) or on top of it. Skirts were sewn with side slits to access the pockets.

Pockets are an easily hand sewn item that give you a reason to show off your embroidering skills. They are also very useful while reenacting or interpreting. (Make sure you always have a few period items in them, because kids will always want to know whats in there.) If you are interested in making your own, I have included a simple pattern below. 

 Cut 2 pieces of fabric out, these measurements are just a suggestion. Pockets were made a range of different sizes. If you wish to embroider the pocket, do so before you cut the pieces out. Patchwork, embroidery and quilted pockets were all common. Look at original pockets for inspiration.  Slit one piece down the middle.

Sew twill tape around the slit.

Place both pocket pieces with the right sides of the fabric together and sew around the  outside edge of the pocket. Turn the pocket inside out, iron it flat and sew thin twill tape to the top. 

Pockets of History is an online exhibit of pockets from the 1700s to the 1800s.
More pockets.


  1. Today, I learned about Prairie Pockets...and what a delightful topic of trivia to store in my mind! I'm looking forward to using your pattern to make one for a friend.

    I noticed you're also making a Colonial Outfit....which is darling!

    I always wonder why we find life 100-200 years ago fascinating. Does ANYONE stop to think of having to use chamber pots, outhouses and even RAGS for our "monthly visitor"??? I mean who would give up those things now days????

    I'm really interested in how women coped with that (not to mention corsets, petticoats, hoops/frames and pantaloons...I guess I'm a bit of an anthropologist...but if personal hygiene from one or two centuries ago was understood (I'm not just talking about a bathtub in a galvanized tub) we'd change our "romantic" view of the "good old" days!

    1. I know its five years later, but maybe you'll see that. If you want answer to those questions, read Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady's Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners by Therese Oneill


Tell me what you think!

Copyright © 2008-2020 Stephanie Ann Farra. All rights reserved.

All materials posted on this site are subject to copyrights owned by Stephanie Ann Farra. Any reproduction, retransmissions, or republication of all or part of any document found on this site is expressly prohibited, unless the author has explicitly granted its prior written consent to so reproduce, retransmit, or republish the material. All other rights reserved.