A Spark, an Embroidered Reticule and It’s Back into the Fray

(photographer unknown)

So. The spark has presented itself and I am gingerly taking up its energy, hoping to nourish it into a flame.

I think I mentioned I have a very dear friend who has a Very Big Event coming up soon. I want to make something for her but hadn’t been able to decide what. She likes “old-fashioned” things, things that are feminine without being too “frou-frou” and things that are utilitarian. She also likes to “dress up” on occasion. However, I don’t have enough time to create a large piece. It has to be of reasonable size and effort for me to meet this deadline. So I spent some time trolling through Pinterest and my favorite historical fashion blogs when, rather suddenly, it all came together, all at once.

Don’t you just love it when that happens?

On my friend Nessa’s blog, Sewing Empire, I found some inspiring Regency embroidery designs from Ackermann’s Repository and further sleuthing lead me to one published in 1821.

Regency handkerchief embroidery patterns

It’s feminine without being too much and I’m sure the recipient would be thrilled, but only if I take the “Love” out of it (literally, not figuratively). Perhaps replace it with her initial(s)? Although it was originally a design meant for handkerchief embroidery, I immediately thought of a reticule – a little something for special occasions, a decorative and utilitarian yet also manageable project for the amount of time I have.

Next step – choose the fabric. It is often tricky finding appropriate colors, but I found three high-quality cottons that fit the bill: a steely grey-blue, a deep maroon, and a rich mustard. Now it’s just a matter of choosing.


I’m leaning toward the mustard because it’s a classic Regency color that “goes” with almost nothing else yet manages to “work” with just about everything. (Accessories weren’t all matchy-matchy back then: your reticule didn’t necessarily match your shoes, which didn’t match your gloves, which didn’t match your bonnet.) As a color it’s a bit risky, but I think I’m safe.

She does love a surprise…

2 thoughts on “A Spark, an Embroidered Reticule and It’s Back into the Fray

  1. Gold is one of my favorite colors to use for Regency reticules. I have a inspiration photo of one embroidered with a wreath with an initial in it, and I always wanted to make a bunch as Xmas presents for my friends. I just uploaded them to my Pinterest page so I can share them with you if you need any more inspiration. Maybe one day I’ll get around to making them.


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