HSM #11 – The Regency Reticule is Finished!

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I finished my Regency reticule last night and I’m delighted with it. It’s large enough to carry what I need and want, without being oversized. It adds a bit of sparkle without being obnoxious. And it’s completely hand-sewn, but it went much faster than I thought it would. I am tickled pinkish-apricoty-orange. If the sun ever comes out I will add a photo that shows the true colors – it’s really not this orange at all.

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The Challenge: Silver Screen: Be inspired by period fashions as shown onscreen (film or TV), and recreate your favourite historical costume as a historically accurate period piece. I based the decision to make a reticule on somewhat perverse logic: they were a foundation piece, historically speaking, of everyday dress. Yet they are rarely seen in films. Women gambol across fields and prance at balls with great regularity. But they spend a good part of their time empty-handed in terms of reticules, with rare exceptions.

It’s understandable. If our heroine is trouble-free it would be visually distracting to have a hand bag swinging about. If she is burdened by great sorrows it would seem cruel to burden her further with something to lug around. I do get it, from the artistic standpoint. But I still notice it. So my tribute to the Silver Screen is to put a reticule in hand, where it belongs.

Fabric: 100% shot cotton from the French General line (Moda) in pattern/color #13529, lined in natural, unbleached muslin.

Pattern: My own design, based on extant examples. In the end, I decided the spangles were enough and so didn’t add the planned embroidery. Finished dimensions (without tassels): 12 inches long x 9 inches wide at the widest part.

Year: around 1800

Notions: 100% cotton thread, antique spangles from the early 1880’s, tassels, ribbon, 100% cotton muslin for lining

How historically accurate is it? The design was derived from two extant reticules:

Hours to complete: Completely hand sewn, including individual application of spangles = one viewing each of Sense and Sensibility (2008), Miss Austen Regrets, Lost in Austen, and Pride and Prejudice (BBC 1995). OK, two viewings of P&P…I confess the sport of Darcy-spotting slowed me down somewhat.

First worn: Not yet worn.

Total cost: One half yard of shot cotton $5.50, heavy cotton thread $3, antique chocolate-brown spangles $2, 4 tassels $6, ribbon for drawstring $3. Muslin for lining already in stash. Therefore, total cost = $19.50 USD.