Laura Ashley pockets

Laura Ashley pockets
Laura Ashley pockets

In a previous post I mentioned that I have just bought Jan Messent’s exquisite book on Celtic, Viking and Anglo-Saxon embroidery.  Well, in the book she gives a pattern for some very simple purses to be embellished in any way you like.  So here are mine made with Laura Ashley scraps sewn onto calico (muslin) in a kind of crazy patchwork and then cut up into purses and lined with very heavy upholstery silk.  The pattern is very simple, but clearly Messent is much more skilled than I am. Fortunately I was aiming at the ‘look what we just found, moth-eaten and pathetic, in the Imaginary Museum of Costume look’ because I found finishing the top edge fiendishly difficult.  Here is the back:

Laura Ashley pockets - reverse
Laura Ashley pockets - reverse

The fact that they have a reverse means that there are problems trying to work out how to display them.  I am thinking of a shoebox or similar with tissue paper so that they look like heirlooms or something forgotten in the attic.  Reversible acrylic hanging frames are nice but ruinously expensive.

Anyway, these purses are an experiment in working with all the horrible late eighties and early nineties fabrics that I really dislike but seem to have a fair few of.  They were stitched down and then a layer of synthetic voile curtaining fabric from an old sample book was sewn over the top with heavy stitching to replicate darning and patching:

and some bits of heavy cotton lace with a dab of silver acrylic paint on them:

and some hand stitching:

I thought the end results were rather nice – they are about eight inches long and feel right somehow.  I have called them pockets because detachable pockets on a string or tape used to be part of women’s dress – hence Lucy Lockett lost her pocket – and this seemed to fit with the antique textile theme.  I would like to make some more but need to find an easier construction method – so I did a bit of work in my sketchbook and made some paper prototypes:

This felt like time well spent in the laboratory on a Sunday afternoon.

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