Embroidered Regency Reticule: Part 1

I'm sorting out accessories for this year's Jane Austen Festival.
First on the list is to make a new reticule.  Previous reticules were hastily made, and are now falling to pieces.  I wanted this new one to be not only sturdy (holding up to whatever non-period-appropriate items I want to stash away while browsing the shops of Meriton - wallet, cell phone, camera, etc,) but beautiful too. 

This is part one of the making of my embroidered reticule. 

Embroidery...I seem to remember ranting on this blog last year about how much I hate doing embroidery. Didn't I say something like that?  Or maybe I just thought it?  Anyway... This past Fall, I was inspired by Alicia Paulson's embroidery kits  I've always been heavy fingered, and felt like I was terrible at embroidery...but these adorable ornaments were too cute to pass up.  And, well...I must say that I'm hooked on embroidery now!  I still have a lot to learn, but I do think I am getting better.

So, I decided to try my hand at embroidering late 18th century style.  I really don't know if every stitch I did was a period correct stitch.  For example:  I did French knots.  Did they do French knots?  I don't know.  But I did try to be period correct as far as shape and design goes.  I looked at several on-line examples, as well as some embroidery in Costume Close-Up, and Costume in Detail.

I sketched out my design on paper first, then traced over the pencil lines with black sharpie marker. This made the image show up clear enough that I could place it under my white linen, and transfer the image lightly onto the fabric using a pencil.  Then, I tested out the colors I wanted by coloring in the image drawn on paper.  Once I was certain of my design, I started embroidering.  

You can see the shape of what the reticule will look like here.  I machine stitched the blue linen lining, because, as I said, I want this reticule to be extremely sturdy. 

Before I hand sew together the outside pieces, I plan on adding metallic spangles to the three non-embroidered panels...similar to this reticule:

Some on-line inspirations can be found at the Met Museum, the V&A, and the MFA.  Just type "reticule" or "purse" into their search engines.

I'm throwing in an image of an embroidered wallet and some pockets for good measure.

I was also inspired by the shapes of the reticules in these contemporary fashion plates.

And look!  The last four are embroidered!

To be continued...


Will your reticule have tassels too? It would be so hard to pick a color, since there are so many colors in the embroidery (: Can't wait to see this done
This looks utterly beautiful.
I love it when such a lot of detail goes into the accessories.
I'm sure you will receive lots of compliments on the finished bag at Jane Fest :)

ZipZip said…
Dear Jenni,

Your embroidery is really pretty, and you are indeed getting the hang of it. If you'd like you can borrow my 18th century embroidery book to learn more about the stitches used, though I think yours are fine.

It's going to be a dandy reticule when it's finished.



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