|A Christmas gift? No, a Christmastime project.
Sometime in 2014, during the lilac-colored silk phase in which I made an embroidered 1790s sleeveless spencer, matching outer petticoat, and pearled headband after an original, I started a beaded reticule project. It stalled and was picked up and dropped again during the following decade, and only now have I finished it. During that time I went through several phones and it appears photos documenting the project's early days have gone missing, so the following is a somewhat truncated history of its making.
First, Why the Lack of Posts for So Long?
It's not for lack of making things, for I did manage a pair of 1790s stays, a velveteen spencer, and a pretty apron-front dress. Those projects, though, happened in short spurts that felt like shelter from repeated storms. There was another health situation, one in the long series that have punctuated the last 30 years, and then, the illness and passing of my darling and beloved father, followed months later by my sweet aunt. Last spring saw my sisters and I sharing taking 24-hour care of our daddy during his time in hospice and helping our stepmother/mother through, and then, the loss, the mourning... Losing a parent is a loss apart; it shakes the foundations. It's still too close for elegy, except to say that his community lost a dedicated volunteer and leader and we lost a mentor, a guide, a loving father and friend. Even now I can hear his voice.
The Finished Reticule
Nuts, I don't want to write again, but, he thought hobbies were key to mind and soul, so, let's go. Here is the completed reticule. It measures 9 inches at its widest by 9 inches tall and a measly 1.25 inches deep. It's deep enough to hold a small fan, a handkerchief, smelling salts and a phone. I suppose it's possible that you'd find lip gloss and some cash, too, were you to snoop. I wanted it big enough to be useful, but not big enough to become lumpy with the thinggummies that naturally accumulate in my own purse, for practicality and so I have the satisfaction of pulling out whatever's needed like a rabbit out of a hat when my sons or husband ask. Package of band aids, mini containers of sunscreen, lotion, and hand sanitizer, a pen, sunglasses, a scrap of paper for writing, a tiny measuring tape, lactose pills for the lactose-intolerant son, emergency migraine tablet, tissues, keys...all in the smallest package I can manage. Query: did Regency women do similarly? Were smelling salts part of a reticule's community of objects?
|The front, natch
|The back and the compound strap
|The narrower-than-wanted interior
The reticule has stiff sides, courtesy interior cardboard on back and front, softened with millinery domette so that the surface doesn't feel harsh.
Intermission for Kitty Cuteness
|"Why are you putting that thing on top of me?" asked Nutmeg,
who was on my lap.
How It Was Made
|Reticule from Graceof Time on Etsy: their photo
- Exterior fabric: home-dyed silk shantung from Dharma Trading
- Interior fabric: undyed silk shantung, ditto
- Stiffener: cardboard from a discarded cereal box
- Soft interlining: domette, I think from Judith M millinery in Shelbyville, KY
- Beads: pearl seed beads, gold-interior clear sead beads: the color isn't warm
- Embroidery silk: Au Ver a Soie silk ovale, a flat, untwisted filament silk (not spun and a joy to use)
- Sewing thread: vintage British sewing silk in Heliotrope
- Strap: tawny silk cord and silk tassels from a deconstructed remnant of antique passementerie whose connecting threads had shattered, from DuchessTrading on Etsy. The passementerie was too far gone to edge a gorgeous pillow, so...creative reuse.
The Assembly and Sewing
|You can see the three layers in the flap: fashion fabric, domette, lining.
|Seaming together front and back. You can see the
side pieces have been whipped on to the front.