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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Make a Regency Reticule or a Modern Evening Bag Out of a Doily in 5 Minutes

In the early 1800’s the fashion of Regency skirts were considerably narrower than the skirts of previous decades. Ladies were no longer able to hide a pocket “purse” under the folds of their voluminous skirts. This led to women carrying petite fabric purses on their arm. They were called reticules.

(Matching reticule detail) A pelisse or pelisse-coat, a kind of women's outer garment which could be made in everything from the lightest silk to heavy fur. It was worn over a gown but could look like a gown itself, especially when floor length like this garment. The pelisse was made for a trousseau in 1823 for the wedding of the grandmother of the donor.:

Reticules were made of a variety of fabrics such as cotton, silk or velvet. They often matched the lady’s dress.

Woman's Reticule | LACMA Collections France, 1800-1825 Silk plain weave with sequins and silk embroidery 10 3/8 x 6 x 5 1/2 in. (26.42 x 15.24 x 13.97 cm):

Some reticules featured elaborate embroidery or beading. The drawstrings were made of a fabric cording or ribbon.

Antique English Regency Reticule, Workbag, Purse -  Silk Ribbon Work 1810 from Trinity Antiques at

I found a few tutorials on how to make a reticule HERE and HERE. But it was this reticule below that gave me an idea.

Very elegant reticule and gorgeous colors. Can be used as a tatting project bag.:

I started with 12 inch doily my cousin Lynn had given me. I also had some vintage silky rayon ribbon in my stash that I thought would work as a drawstring for the reticule. Both items had gone into the same dye bath as the fabric I used to make my Regency dress. They were line dried then pressed with a hot iron.

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You will want to cut the ribbon into two equal parts.  Then simply thread one of the ribbons through the side edges of the doily halfway.

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Repeat the same process on the other half of the doily. On each side of the doily knot the ends of the ribbon together to prevent the ribbon from fraying as well as slipping through the doily.

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Then gently pull on the drawstrings evenly to close the reticule.

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It’s that quick and easy!

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Since I had the doily and ribbon on hand the cost of the bag was FREE!



marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

I love it, what a fabulous idea. Your costume is so perfect and this little bag just finishes the last detail.

Auntie Em said...

This is such a sweet little accessory. I love the fact that you 1. thought to dye it while dying everything else, 2. make it look so easy and possible to recreate and 3. the way it has the lace to make it go with your outfit but doesn't distract from the overall ensemble.
You are an amazing designer. Can't wait to see everything all together. :)
Thank you for sharing the little teaser peek again today. :D

Lorrie said...

That's as sweet as can be!

Magali@TheLittleWhiteHouse said...

Oh, my, this is adorable!

Vel Criste said...

What a darling bag and never thought it would be easy to make! Simply inspired!

Sissie's Shabby Cottage said...

Thanks for the history on the little drawstring bag, I never knew they were called that. Anyway, I love your creation. Very pretty!