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This page last modified May 31, 2005

Shepherds Purse: Reconstruction Experiments -- Shaped Pouches with Flaps

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(sorry about the photo -- I'll try to get a better one)

For a more shaped approach to a half-circular pouch, I worked from the style shown in the Simon Marmion Hours. For this, I cut a circle of canvas 15" in diameter, and a half-circle the same diameter (placing the straight edge on the selvedge of the fabric, although this was simple convenience. I considered two possible versions: one with the pouch formed by sewing the two main pieces together with the strap fastened to the pouch along the fold line at the top; the other with the strap continuing along between the two main pouch pieces so that the pouch is a very shallow cyllinder rather than a flat pocket. I ended up going with the second version because it creates more usable space in the pouch and, in my opinion, better creates the appearance shown in the illustrations, although no actual relevant seam lines are shown there. So in addition to the two pieces described above, I cut two straps approximately 2" wide and about 70" long (by piecing) -- the extra length was because I wanted to create a bag that could also be worn over the shoulder. At one side of the pouch, I left about 5" of strap above the edge of the pouch, to which a buckle is attached; on the other side, the remainder formed a long strap.

I sewed the straps to both sides of the edge of the half circle, then sewed one of the strips, right sides together, with half of the edge of the full circle. I made a narrow folded hem in the other half of the circle, and then folded the loose edge of the second strip under and top-stitched it over the first seam. (I top-stitched the other side of the strip too for symmetry.) This should be clearer in the diagrams.

To create the fastening, I used an awl to make a pair of holes at the top edge of the half-circular piece and threaded a short lace through them from the inside. Then I made matching holes on the outer flap, threaded the laces through, and tied them.

The pouch is very comfortable in either wearing position, and matches the depictions fairly well. In this size, the half-circle shape is not too deep to be comfortable with heavy contents. The design is extremely stable in holding contents and has a fairly large usable area. I haven't attempted to reproduce the scalloped edge of the flap seen in the original. It shows up in enough depictions that it would seem to be a natural feature, on the other hand, that would argue for it arising from some natural purpose, rather than being deliberately decorative. This is a topic to explore further and may argue for an adjustment in theories about the materials.

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