Some of you may know by now that I like my sewing supplies well-aged. My fabric, trims, and notions spend some time hanging around in my stash before I end up using them. Like fine wine and cheese. Or at least that’s what I’m told. I drink bargain wine and am lactose intolerant, so your mileage may vary.
I’d like to say I do use things in a timely fashion, but in the case of this embroidered pocket kit, I’m pretty sure it’s been around, buried in my sewing stuff, somewhere between five and ten years. If I’m honest, closer to ten is most likely. I know I got it from Wm. Booth, Draper, but my account records only go back to 2011 on their website and it’s not listed there. It’s very possible that I bought it during or shortly after my first summer working at Michilimackinac…in 2006. One nice thing about historical fashions and accessories, though, is that it’s not like they go out of style! This is still just as useful for 18th century events as it was when I bought the kit. Winning!
This particular kit is still available and is the Salem Pocket Kit. My kit came with one piece of linen with design drawn on, one blank piece, linen tape, wool embroidery thread in several colors, a color “diagram”, and instructions. Looking at the kit now, I can see why my younger self didn’t just jump right in an make the pocket, though. While the instructions did include some stitch guides, there was no indication of where to use any particular stitch on the pocket itself. I ended up using a combination of chain stitch, back stitch, satin stitch, and French knots…but I have no idea if that is the way the original inspiration was done or not. Younger Katie was hoping for step-by-step instructions that would guarantee my finished product was “right.” She was a perfectionist who was terrified of putting in time and effort on something that might end up wrong. Present me is more of a “f*ck it” type girl, and while I do still want to get things right in terms of historical accuracy, I know now that there’s enough leeway that I probably won’t be burned at the stake for using a satin stitch where it should be a laid stitch on my pocket. Probably. I think.
If you can handle winging it a bit, I highly recommend the kit! If you can’t, this is not the kit for you. I ended up freehanding my own pocket shape and guesstimated the length of the opening, since the instructions said to follow the dotted lines. There were no dotted lines. I made that shiz up as I went along. I also used a bit of linen from my stash to interline the front piece, in order to protect the back of my embroidery. That wasn’t in the instructions, either, but I
researched it asked Samantha and then later found confirmation in Costume Close-Up that this was an acceptable way to do things.
Honestly, it's almost a shame nobody will get to see it, don't you think? Well, I guess I'd better get working on a pocketbook or something that I can show off in public! :)