Saturday, 25 October 2014

Knitted Bag from the V&A – Closer to the Original Size

I have reproduced this knitted bag twice. It comes from the Textiles Collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum (Museum Number T.397-1910.) The original bag is knitted in three colours of silk thread, and lined with silk fabric. It measures roughly 5 ¼” wide by x 6” (13.5 cm x 15.5 cm.) It dates from the mid-19th century and was probably a work bag.

My first bag was the test piece for the pattern (see links below.*) I have never seen the bag in person and only had three photographs for reference. One from the website ( ), one from the book Miller’s Collecting Textiles by Patricia Frost, London: Octopus Publishing Group, Ltd., 2000, and the largest image of all from the catalogue of the exhibit of the same name, Knit One, Purl One – Historic and Contemporary Knitting from the V&A’s Collection by Frances Hinchcliffe, Department of Textiles and Dress, London: Precision Press, 1985, which is featured here.

This bag was knit in DMC Perle 12 cotton thread on very, very fine needles which produced much tighter fabric than that of the first bag. I thought of going up a size in needles for the yellow sections to avoid the fabric being pulled inwards and at a slant, as had happened with the larger bag. I did not change the needles, however, and this one was nice and straight until after I finished lining the bag with pale green imitation silk. The slant was back although not as badly as with the larger bag. 

Like the original, the bag is knitted as one flat piece and seamed on one side and across the bottom of the bag. The top is closed with a drawstring. I could not exactly reproduce the fancy beads – mine are simpler with thick tassels, as on the original.

This bag measures roughly 5 ½” (14 cm.) square, slightly off from the original’s measurements. I say “roughly” because I measured it lined and sewn, both of which do not allow the bag to lie completely flat.

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