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Summer Getaway Workshop: Regency Reticule & Wallet Making

June 16, 2013
Greetings fellow Janeites!
Six weeks separate us from Jane Austen Summer Getaway in Middletown, and every member of the organizing committee is working diligently on preparations to create the best possible experience for all attendees. As you’re all aware, the weekend is going to be chock full of fascinating and informative lectures and workshops. Everyone gets to attend the same four workshops—there’s no choosing necessary.

One of the classes you will attend is Regency Reticule & Wallet Making. In this class you will make a Regency-style reticule (lady’s purse) or pocketbook (lady’s or gentleman’s wallet). I’ll give you a brief overview of these accessories and show you several examples of different styles that were popular during the period. I’ll also show you finished examples of the reticule and wallet styles that you’ll be making in the workshop.

Lady's pocketbook or lettercase, 1780-1800

Lady’s pocketbook or lettercase, 1780-1800

Please note that every part of the process during the workshop requires hand sewing. All sewing supplies (thread, pins, needles, and scissors) will be provided and the materials for the reticules and wallets will be pre-cut. Each person will receive the sewing kit and will be able to choose either a reticule kit or a wallet kit. Several Regency-appropriate color options will be available. A few ironing stations will be set up in the room so you can properly press your projects.

If the idea of hand sewing intimidates you, don’t fear! I will guide you through the process with step-by-step instructions and will even demonstrate the few very simple sewing stitches necessary to complete your project. I have simplified the construction of these reticules and wallets as much as possible to allow even inexperienced sewers to complete the projects easily.

Painted silk reticule, c. 1800, Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Painted silk reticule, c. 1800, Museum of Fine Arts Boston

If you don’t finish your reticule or wallet during the workshop period, you can take the sewing kit and the project instruction sheet with you and finish up on your own. You’ll also get a copy of the pattern to take home so that you can make more reticules or wallets from any fabric you choose. And there’s nothing preventing you from sewing more reticules and wallets on a sewing machine, instead of by hand!

Extra reticule and wallet kits, in fancier materials and with instructions included, will be available for purchase at the Camp Store.

I can’t wait to see you all and show you how easy it is to sew these lovely Regency accessories!

Warm regards,

Stephani Miller, Jane Austen Summer Getaway workshop instructor

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