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In the Farm Studio: Traditional Pockets and Woven Bands - Then and Now!

It is terribly important that the "small things forgotten" be remembered.

For in the seemingly little and insignificant things that accumulate to create a lifetime,

the essence of our existence is captured.

We must remember these bits and pieces, and we must use them in new and imaginative ways so that a different appreciation for what life is today, and was in the past, can be achieved.

James Deetz, In Small Things Forgotten

My studies of traditional Norwegian woven bands led me to pockets.

Although the pockets from this time period within Scandinavia, look quite different to their British or Colonial contemporaries, they functioned in the very same purposeful way.

The national archive has several beautiful styles and examples, unique to each maker.

All were tied with simple, colour coordinated, woven bands.

In the beginning they were worn hidden within the clothing and without much decoration.

But in time, they evolved to be worn on the outside of the skirt, with elaborate embroidery patterns, in addtion to the woven bands.

The design of the Scandinavian opening was much different than that of the English or Colonial pockets. Wider slits or horizontal openings were much more common.

There is also evidence of Scandinavian patchwork pockets, as cotton fabrics (or sacks) became more readily available. Especially documented from the more rural, farm areas and in the small villages, where using every last scrap of material was important.

Unfortuantely, these fabrics were so worn with use that the fabric deteriorated, leaving only a few remaining examples.

Woollen fabrics have stood the test of wear and time and account for the majority of the artifacts within the collection.

The Scandinavian pocket has continued its evolution and is still in use today.

Although now called a "veske" or "kjolveske" - "a skirt purse", they are a prominant feature of the traditional folk costumes throughout Norway and other Scandinavian countries, as well.

Sweden has beautiful, woollen kjolveske, tied on with woven bands.

All still completely handmade, with elaborate and intricate embroidery and applique.

Now however, the woven bands in most areas have been replaced with a silver closure or "veskelås" and the woven bands are tied around the waist or hand sewn at the bottom of the skirt.

Below is an example of the traditional "veske" from my region - Trøndelag.

One beautiful day, I will master this embroidery!

For those of you joining in to read the book The Pocket (below) - design your own pocket, and weave your own traditional band, I look forward to hearing your thoughts around this most interesting history.

Although this book comes from a perspective of history that is largely British, the correlations and connections to Colonial America and Scandinavia, and indeed to Europe are evident.

Below I found an interesting article review and perspective of the book, from a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum that you might be interested in downloading to read.

Including a guide for making your own "tie on pockets" shared during a recent exhibition - Bags: Inside out

I am so enjoying reading this book. Although an achedemic piece, it is engaging, interesting and so very timely!

I am looking forward to bringing the draft pattern project required during my certification, to life!

I have decided to reflect both sides of my heriatge by creating a colonial, patchwork pocket and a woollen, scandinavian pocket, complete with a traditional woven band and embroidery!

Enjoy, with interest og God helg!

Warmest regards from the farm,

Patricia x

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Phyllis Epstein
Phyllis Epstein
Aug 01, 2022

I enjoyed the book and found it so interesting. The use of the pocket lasted quite a long time. As a personalized accessory the pocket was also a work of art. I was intrigued by the way they were constructed. The opening appears to be on the side rather than the top. Also, for a while at least, the interior was constructed with inside pockets or sections to help organize its contents. Also quite interesting that much of the cited research comes from the criminal dockets where claims were made to report stolen pockets! Often today, women's clothing is made without pockets to create a streamline appearance opting for image over usefulness. As women, we do a who…


Marlene Carron
Marlene Carron
Jul 20, 2022

Thank you for the review of the “Pocket” book. The summaries wIll be most helpful when reading the book.


I’m excited to receive my book…it should arrive Thursday. Thank you for introducing us to this!! I look forward to reading the book and making a pocket!


Thank you Patricia for sharing this article. The pockets are so beautiful, especially the one worn over the folk costume. I enjoyed it so much.


Jul 18, 2022

I have just ordered my copy of The Pocket and am looking forward to trying to make my own pocket! This is a lovely discovery. Thank you so much for letting us know about this.

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