I’m trying something a little different this time with my Etsy shop, SallySewing. I’m sort of trying a bit of everything (obviously within limits) and this time I thought I’d make something a little more historical. So, a while ago I found some pretty little floral fabric in our stash, and I thought of making a skirt. It took me a while to get to it, of course, so by the time I pulled it out, I didn’t feel like making a skirt with it, and I started to think up ideas for what I could do with it.
Oddly enough, I was planning on making some reticules with some other fabric, then I changed my mind with that. Then, I ran into something I don’t think I’ve heard of before; pioneer reticules.
I’m not sure if pioneer women had reticules, but it would certainly make sense!
I should’ve probably started by explaining reticules.
As far as I can tell, reticules were most common during the Regency era. There’s a wide variety of interesting and beautiful types of reticules. (by the way, in case you didn’t guess by now, reticules are bags. I tried to figure out where the word originated from, but I couldn’t find out much)
In my search for reticules, and trying to figure out what I wanted to do, I also discovered there were reticules in the Civil War era! Should have been kind of obvious, but I was surprised and interested to find this out.
Most of the time, reticules seemed to be made out of special shiny, pretty fabric, especially when they’re Regency reticules. Which was why I was especially pleased when I discovered the pioneer reticules.
There’s something very exciting about pioneers, which I tend to forget about. Regency era is beautiful and romantic, Civil War era is interesting and enthralling. Then you go back to the early parts when people were discovering the new land, setting out to begin life in the unknown, with next-to-nothing to call their own.
So, I liked the idea of making something that belonged to an era when people couldn’t have the prettiest things out there, but they still wanted to have something that was nice looking.
With that in mind, I made these Pioneer Reticules! A little plainer. A little more practical.
I’m aiming specifically for people interested in re-enacting, because of course they’re the most likely to use these bags. However, they can be used easily by anyone who wants them.
(Here’s Annie, watching me take pictures)
While these are specifically Pioneer Reticules, they can definitely be used for just about any era. Like I said, they had them in the Regency, when they seemed to be the most popular, and in the Civil War era. I think they would work very well in the Civil War era, especially since I think cotton was more available about then.
By the way, I should mention that some re-enactors are very strict about the contents of the clothes and accessories. They’d be shocked if I told them I used plastic for my corset boning, or put interfacing on my dress (which I didn’t, actually)
I’m actually very pleased with myself, because I used cotton thread for these reticules, rather than the usual polyester. But the ribbon isn’t authentic silk ribbon, and the lace probably isn’t as authentic as it could be.
I made two sizes of bags. I cut out several large ones, including pockets (which I had to skip, so there are no pockets) and then I had enough left over to do little ones. A little reticule, for girls (or dolls) is pictured on the right.
I think they generally used reticules for sewing projects, and I have seen that done now days too. But it can be used for just about anything and, when you’re out in your lovely 1800s era dress, a small bag would come in handy for carrying around those not-so-period-accurate things you have to keep on you. I mean, you’ve got to get a selfie with Abraham Lincoln!!
I love how these turned out! I think they’re very flexible, both in design and appearance, and they’ll work well with several eras.
Here’s a link to my new listing of Pioneer Reticules!
Please, take a look