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Woman's pocket, crewel wool needlework

1740-1760, with later repairs
Origin: America
W: 5 5/8" top- 9 1/4" bottom; L: 16 3/8"
Cotton and linen embroidered with wool crewels; front lined with checked linen; backed and bound with linen
Gift of Mr. Ernest LoNano
Acc. No. 1958-180
Woman's pocket of natural linen and cotton twill-woven ground, embroidered with wool. The design shows a two-handled vase on hilly mounds formed by green vines. Vines or scrolling stems bearing strawberries, grapes, flowers, and foliage grow from the vase and from the lower portion of the pocket opening. The design is worked in crewel wool in colors of rose pink, red, blues, yellow-greens, gold, yellow, and mauve, using satin, seed, chain, knots, and outline stitches. The embroidered side is backed with small check blue and white linen. The single-layer back is natural linen in plain weave, pieced from three different qualities of linen. The front slit and edge bindings, as well as the tie strings, are of white linen tape; these are later replacements. The pocket appears to have been cut down slightly at the sides when it was re-bound. It is possible that the checked linen lining and plain linen backing were replaced at that time.
Label:In the eighteenth century, women's gowns did not have sewn-in pockets, probably because pockets filled with personal belongings would have ruined the lines of full, floating skirts. Instead, women carried small items in separate, commodious bags tied around their waists beneath the skirts.

This pocket is hand decorated with wool embroidery threads known as “crewels,” loosely twisted two-ply worsted wool. The design can be seen drawn in ink beneath the embroidery. This pocket was probably made in the home for the owner’s personal use.