HSM #9: Colour Challenge Brown – The Safety Pocket for Traveling is Done!

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This was a nice project, gave me something that I’ll be able to use for a long time and went relatively quickly. It would have been a breeze if I hadn’t done so much hand work. If you could use a place to stash your modern goodies while in costume, I recommend giving one of these a try. I made a couple of changes and I’ll share those later. The Challenge Information is at the end of the post.



The most significant impediment to getting this project done was having to stitch with a compromised fingertip. When I found the travel iron, the zipper on the case had split and jammed. I got it open, but at a cost. The cut was one thing, but the bruise went deep and wide. Of course, I use the side of my index finger for all sorts of sewing activities and it hurt like crazy until late yesterday. It’s not so bad today, but is still pretty darned tender. Needless to say, that means I bash and bang it into everything all day long. Silly me.

But I digress. Here’s what went into finishing up the Safety Pocket.

With the back and front pieces finished, I sandwiched them together. And yes, I did decide to put the light-colored fabric to the inside to make it easier to see inside. I cut a strip of fabric for the front and back pieces to case the elastic that forms the lower safety pouch and ran flat-braid elastic from side to side. I made it one-hale inch wider than the pattern instructed to make access easier. Sure, that defeats the anti-theft aspect but I’m not really expecting a thief to stick his arm down my skirt. (I do lead a rather dull life, you know.)

Next I applied a straight-cut binding around the outer edge. One would think that having already wounded myself I’d have been more conservative with the  pins. But one would be wrong. I hate having things slip around while I’m sewing, so I gingerly hand stitched around my Pocket of Many Sharp Pointy Things. No additional blood was spilled and the only untoward…um…incident came when I leaned forward to pet Sophie. Another sewing injury goes on the books: far from the first and certainly not the last. (Note: the binding really is cut on the straight of grain – the print is at a 45-degree angle so it looks like it’s on the bias.)

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After I’d finished sewing on the binding, I realized that I’d forgotten to make the pleats at the top of the back pocket piece. They were easy to add, so no problems – except that the directions were less than specific, as the period directions with Ageless Patterns are at times (since they are the original period directions which assume you already know what you’re doing…ha!) so I looked at the image and made it look like that. Adding the back pleats gave it nice depth.

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I struggled with getting the elastic edge of the top pocket front to look right. In the original, only the center portion is gathered. I had trouble getting it where I wanted it, let alone where it was supposed to be. So, in the end, I just gathered the entire upper edge with braided elastic cord. I used cord instead of a flat weave to ensure a rounded edge, which would make it easier to get my hand in and out without much bother.

At this point, I deviated from the original again. The pocket is supposed to be suspended from a belt that encircles the waist. However, I find that by the time I’m fully dressed I have plenty of things encircling my waist as it is and I don’t want any additional bulk. So I shortened the belt into two extended tabs to give me more flexibility on how I can wear it: stitched onto a petticoat, buttoned on, maybe giant snaps for quick changes…I haven’t decided yet. But at least now I have options.

Here is how it’s supposed to hang from the waist (straight and flat) versus how I think I want to wear it (hanging a bit below the belt line). It’s still a bit wrinkly because I haven’t ironed it yet and there’s nothing in it to help stretch it down. Sorry about the fuzzy photos. I couldn’t get sharp pictures to save me.

Here’s how the finished pocket looks from the front and back:

It is surprisingly large. The bottom “security” portion will easily accommodate my cell phone – even when it’s in the double-thick, bright pink, I-dare-you-to-drop-this case.

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And it is deeeeep. Whatever I put in this thing is likely to stay there, short of a body search at airport security.

So that’ two thumbs (and one bloodied fingertip) up for Ageless Patterns #1572. If you’re in the market for a quick project that is useful and pretty darned straightforward, I suggest giving this one a try. The original description notes that it can successfully be substituted for a standard dress pocket and that’s a good idea for dresses which you’ll wear at events where you’ll be milling through large crowds and/or want your mod cons accessible yet hidden securely away.

The Challenge: Colour Challenge Brown: it’s not the most exciting colour by modern standards, but brown has been one of the most common, and popular, colours throughout history. Make something brown.

The Title: Now You See It, Now You Don’t

Fabric: Assorted reproduction fabrics from stash, 100% cotton, ranging from 1830s to 1890s.

Pattern: Ageless Patterns #1572: 1868 Safety Pocket for Traveling.

Year: 1868

Notions: Thread, flat braid elastic, woven cord elastic.

How historically accurate is it? Very: taken from an original pattern and only slightly modified. All of the binding was cut on the straight grain, since bias-cut binding was not used at this time.

Hours to complete: Didn’t keep track very well, but approximately 18 (lots of extra hand work for English paper piecing the front panel).

First worn: Not yet worn.

Total cost: Pattern and fabric are from stash. Less than $3 spent on elastic.