Lining an Antique Reticule

Lining an Antique Reticule

I recently purchased this lovely hand-embroidered linen reticule* from this Etsy shop. The friendly owner told me it had belonged to her grandmother in the Edwardian era, so I didn't argue and suggest it's most certainly a lingerie bag, and probably from the 1920s.

It was in perfect condition, but unlined:

As with all the original items I buy, I meant to use it. And although linen is strong and sturdy, I was worried about damaging the bag. Something could poke through, snag, or stain it. I'd hate for this sweet little purse to survive 100 years, only to be ruined by me.

So I went to the local quilt shop to buy a fat quarter of coordinating fabric in a natural fiber. Here's the cotton I chose:

Have I mentioned that I am not the world's most confident seamstress? Nor the most patient? But I was determined to do a fine job and most important to "first, do no harm." Bet you didn't know that oath also applies to vintage. But yes, it certainly does!

To avoid changing the look of the bag and maintain the lovely drape of the scalloped top edge, I planned to only line the interior below the drawstring. Bonus/Full Disclosure: it would be a whole lot easier than trying to create a full lining.

I turned the reticule inside out, tucked everything above the drawstring out of the way, lay it on top of the folded fat quarter, and traced around the bag using tailor's chalk. I then cut out the shape, leaving a bit extra for seam allowance. 

After machine-sewing the lining together, I snipped into the curves to help it conform to the shape of the bag. Then I folded the top edge down, checking that it would fit properly. Here's how it looked before I ironed it:

After pressing, I turned the raw edge under and pressed it again. Not sure why. Just seemed like a good idea (neatness counts):

Next, I turned both pieces right-side-out, and pinned the lining in place:


Then, I tried my very best to make teeny, tiny, even hand stitches. And here is the result:

And how the row of stitches looks from the outside:

And the completed project:

I'm pleased with the results. A lined reticule with no damage done. I don't know yet if the lining will actually cause more strain on the linen, by concentrating the weight of the contents along that single row of tiny stitches. If so, I'll add another row. And if I need be, I'll remove it completely.



Liza Dolensky

Well done, Liza!

Liza Dolensky

Great job, Liza!

Liza Dolensky

Wonderful job, Liza! Perfect choice of fabric – sorta reminds me of a honeycomb and bees, therefore very appropriate with the flowers in addition to the complimentary colors. Also, all the ladies in my family history would be very happy to have you add your personal touch. All were hands-on, do-it-yourself, pioneer women with a can-do approach to life. Thanks for the link to Nostalgia Neu, and – you Go, girl! Sincerely, Karen

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