1850s sewing · Commission · Finished!

A Victorian Travel Bag

Hey there, readers! Apologies for my unintended hiatus. I haven’t really been particularily busy, just felt a bit uninspired to blog. I have all this sewing I need to do (which I’m entirely grateful for, as it’s one of the few things paying the bills at this point), which means that fun projects for me have been put on the back burner.

Anyways, I thought I would share photos of my latest finished commission that I really enjoyed doing. I think I got this one over a year ago from my fake auntie but just finished it yesterday. See, this is what happens when I don’t have deadlines.  😉

The bag is made from black linen and trimmed with cotton ribbon. It’s basically a rectangle that’s been sewn into a tube with two circles attached to the end, so that it looks like a duffle bag.

“Did they even have duffle bags during the Victorian age,” you ask?

Why yes, they did!

In the mid-19th century, linen had few uses and one of them was for traveling purposes. Darker linen (especially in shades of brown and tan) was heavily advocated in the fashion magazines of the time for ladies travel clothing and travel accessories, as it hid dirt very well. And if you’re wondering why linen wasn’t used as much, it has to do with the invention of the cotton gin in 1793 (by Eli Whitney), which made cotton more economical to produce, thus increasing the slave trade, thus leading to (although not entirely responsible for) certain political conflicts that reached a boiling point in 1861. Okay, fashion history geekery moment over . . . .

The handles are also made of the ribbon, but two layers of it, and the bag closes with 5 black glass buttons.

And the interior is this neat tan, red, and black repro cotton:

The best part of this whole deal is that I have so many extra materials that I’ll be able to make myself a bag, and I’m planning to make a few extra that will be available for purchase! They’re such a handy thing to have, and a great alternative to a carpetbag.

Oh, also, I went to a friend’s yard sale last week and picked up this chair for my 1850s camping event next weekend!

Isn’t it fabulous!? I’m going to make a seat for it (Daddy is going to cut the plywood for it, I shouldn’t be trusted around a saw) and I’m going to cover it in red and white ticking.

10 thoughts on “A Victorian Travel Bag

  1. The bag is great! Love the contrasting inside. So clever! Oh the chair is beautiful too! Bit jealous. Would love a chair like that. 😛

      1. haha! thats awesome! My family is being really cute with my sewing ambitions and are rummaging through their belongings to see if there are any vintage buttons lurking around etc. Wish I also had a vintage/antique furniture contact! Right now I am going for Scandinavian look! lol

        1. Aww, how sweet of them! Just be careful to not over-collect. 😉 Once people find out you sew, they tend to want to give you lots of stuff. Which is fabulous, the problem just becomes when they want to give you stuff you can’t really use and have a hard time saying no (can you tell that I speak from experience here!? LOL)

        2. oh yes, those awkward situations! Well we have hardly any storage space left, and I havent even got a real “stash” yet. lol. But my family knows how small our place is, so hopefully I can avoid those situations. 😛

  2. Just stumbled upon this while trying to research my own bag… Do you think there is any creative freedom that could go with this project? aka… do you think if someone uses something other than linen (but still PC- cotton, wool, or maybe even ticking?) it would be a horrible injustice to what we know to be originals?

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