Sunday, January 12, 2014

1860s Traveling Bag

In preparation of an upcoming overnight stay at an 1860s event, I spent some of my Christmas vacation researching and constructing a ladies traveling bag. I based the materials, decoration, and dimensions off of existing examples (see below). 
Mint Museum 1855-1865 Day Dress staged
with accessories including linen bag.
21"  long with 31" circumference when full (ebay auction).
Image from NorthSouthEmporium on etsy.
My version is made of drab colored linen and lined in polished cotton, as per many original examples. I applied cotton braid by hand and used the decorative feather stitch, which is used on all three of the originals above, on my sewing machine and then flat lined the polished cotton lining to the body of the bag.  I set in the linen ends, sewed the seams, and then hand applied the polished cotton lining in the interior so there are no exposed seams within the bag.  
1860s traveling bag repro side view.
1860s traveling bag repro end view.

Polished cotton lining set in by hand.
Overall it was a quick, fun project and fulfills one of my sewing goals this year to fill out my interpretation wardrobe with accessories.


  1. Wow! Your 1860s Traveling Bag is really splendid! I love all the touches you added to it to make it look like the originals!


  2. Beautifully done! And somehow it looks really modern.


  3. Le ha quedado estupenda. No se me habrĂ­a ocurrido hace una bolsa de ese tipo antes de ver la suya...pero ahora creo que es una buena idea.

  4. What measurements did you cut out your travel bag by? I know alot of the period bags that still exist are be 7-10 inch side circle and up to 21 inches finished.

    I am in the process of making my first bag and cut my side circles at 9 inches and cut out a 21x21 inch square and things seem off some how.

    1. 21 inches is not enough to go around a 9 inch circle. You'd need at least 27.69 inches with .5 inch seams. Circumference is= 2r3.14 so 2 x 4.25 x 3.14 = 26.69. Adding one inch for seams.


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