Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"Work For Girls" -- An 1880 Work-Bag

"This pretty work-bag has a foundation of splints, wicker-work, Manila braid, or whatever material of the kind may be found most convenient, fourteen inches and seven-eighths long and ten inches and a half wide, which is sloped off on the corners, and trimmed with two strips of embroidery, separated by a bias strip of blue satin, which is turned down on the edges an inch wide on the wrong side, and gathered so as to form a puff. The embroidered strips are worked on a foundation of white cloth as shown by Fig. 2. For the corn-flowers use blue silk, and work them in chain stitch. The calyxes are worked in satin stitch with moss green silk, and the lilies-of-the-valley with white silk. The stems and sprays are worked in tent and herring-bone stitch with green silk in several shades. 
For the ends cut of blue satin two pieces each six inches and a half wide and seven inches and a quarter high, fold down the upper edge an inch and a quarter wide on the wrong side, and gather it twice. Having sloped off the lower corners of these parts, pleat them, and join them with the foundation. 
For the bag cut of blue satin one piece twenty-four inches wide and ten inches and a half high, sew it up on the sides, and fold down the upper edge two inches and a half wide on the wrong side, for a shirr, through which blue silk cord is run, and sew it to the upper edge of the foundation on the wrong side. 
The work-bag is trimmed on the outside with a ruche of blue satin ribbon seven-eighths of an inch wide. Light gray instead of white cloth forms a pretty and more serviceable foundation for the embroidered strips. Little girls who do not know how to embroider may make a very handsome work-bag from this pattern by using ribbon brocaded in bright colors, or a double row of ruching around the edge in the place of the embroidery. Bamboo handle."

From Harper's Young People, May 18th, 1880.


Kristen said...

WOw. That's a gorgeous piece of work - and very intricate, considering it was meant for girls! Thanks for sharing. :)

Kristen said...

I just read "Letters of a Woman Homesteader," the book you linked to on your sidebar, and I loved it. Finished the whole thing in less than two hours. Did you know there's a second book of Ms. Stewart's letters? http://www.gutenberg.org/files/28572/28572-h/28572-h.htm Thanks for sharing that book - I'm so glad I had the chance to read it!

Shay said...

I'm always astonished at the level of skill that was expected of even young girls when it came to needlework.

You're welcome about the Stewart book, I've read both. There's a lot of frontier history out there waiting to be discovered.

tokie said...

Wow, I am reminded there weren't any electronics 'back in the day'. And for many households not a lot of travel either, everyone was pretty much at home. Lots of busy work, and practical items were created.