HSM #10 – Sewing Secrets: The Forgotten Challenge (Oops!)

For reasons not well understood, I completed the October’s HSM Challenge #10 but never posted it. I think I got lost in all the changes that took place and was so relieved when I’d finished it that I considered it “done” and that was that.

Originally, I was going to make a hidden pocket in a Regency cloak, but that project flagged when I discovered that the yards of what I thought was wool turned out to be polyester. (I’m still doing a slow simmer over than one.) Then I planned to sew a hidden message in support of women’s suffrage into the bodice of my blue bustle dress, but never got to the bodice before my interest faded.

And then I thought about the traveler’s pocket I’d just made for HSM #9. The historical instructions suggested options, including permanently sewing it into a skirt, as opposed to suspending it from a removable belt. I had the blue bustle skirt on the mannequin and I needed a pocket, so I thought “why not?” and added a modified traveler’s pocket to the left back side opening.

I used the same traveler’s pocket pattern, but this time sewed the correct seam allowances. That made the pocket slightly smaller and it fit the curve of the waistband perfectly. I pieced the front of the pocket so the main dress fabric would show when the pocket is accessed, and lined the entire pocket in muslin.

2015-09-15 11.35.14

I sewed the waist tab to the bustle skirt’s waistband at the back edge and utilized a giant snap to secure the other tab at the front. This would allow me to adjust the pocket’s position if/when I change sizes (at my age, I chronically fluctuate by about 15 pounds, which is enough to change the waist measurement quite a lot).

Here is how it looks as the skirt is normally worn. It really is well concealed.


Here is the pocket in place, with the waistband of the skirt opened.


And here is how it looks when I access the pocket while the skirt is being worn (in this case, by the mannequin).

Hidden bustle skirt pocket

Hidden bustle skirt pocket

The Challenge: Sewing Secrets: Hide something in your sewing, whether it is an almost invisible mend, a secret pocket, a false fastening or front, or a concealed message (such as a political or moral allegiance).

Fabric: 100% cotton print, 100% cotton muslin.

Pattern: 1868 Safety Pocket for Traveling (from Ageless Patterns)

Year: 1868

Notions: 100% cotton thread, large metal snap, cotton cord elastic

How historically accurate is it? Very. Pattern is a reproduction of a pattern published in 1868. Only the metal snap is not historically accurate – I added it convenience for a fluctuating waistline.

Hours to complete: About four hours.

First worn: Not yet worn.

Total cost: $0! Everything was already in my stash.


2 thoughts on “HSM #10 – Sewing Secrets: The Forgotten Challenge (Oops!)

    • Thank you! It works surprisingly well. I didn’t think it would be so well hidden but, especially with an overskirt, it’s truly impossible to see and it holds so much more that a simple in-seam pocket can. I thing I’ll be putting one of these in all of my Victorian skirts from now on…the most mileage I’ve ever gotten from a $2 pattern. 🙂

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