I turned to the Wiener Werkstätte archive for inspiration, but couldn’t find many images of complete ensembles with bags.
|Mela Köhler illustration (with bag), 1911, image © MAK|
Photographs which included bags weren’t especially inspiring, either.
|Woman with fringed bag, image © MAK|
I did find some images of bags in the archive. The styles all seemed to involve either long straps or drawstrings.
|Photographs from the Wiener Werkstätte archive, all images © MAK|
Widening my search, I found lots of Wiener Werkstätte beaded bags. Some were even brown! However most were from dates later than my dress and hat, and anyway a completely beaded bag was more work than I had time for.
|Beaded bag with drawstring and beaded tassel, circa 1915|
|Beaded bag, 1910, image © Leah Gordon|
I was still wondering what to do when I went on my London trip. But then, in one of the shops on Goldhawk Road, I found this brown silk with a metallic brocaded pattern, clearly inspired by Gustav Klimt. It was just the thing for a drawstring bag.
|Tree of Life by Gustav Klimt, 1905|
|Brocaded silk, showing scale|
I turned the fabric sideways, so that I could use the contrast selvedge as a feature. It was folded in half to form the top of the bag. I sewed on a length of cotton cord in loops, and covered this with blanket stitch in a metallic yarn to create the looped top common to many of the beaded bags I’d seen.
|The loop top completed|
The loosely-woven selvedge wasn’t strong enough to support the pull of the gathering, so I added a strip of cotton to reinforce it.
|Showing the cotton stay inside|
The drawstrings are two simple twisted cords of the same metallic yarn.
|With the drawstrings added|
The bag is lined with cotton from my stash. I gathered it at the bottom, and added a ‘tassel’ of a glass bead, and loops of rocaille beads in two colours, inspired by the 1910 bag above.
|The bead tassel|
|The completed bag|
The small print:
The Challenge: Brown
Fabric: Metallic brocaded silk, cotton for lining
Pattern: My own
Year: circa 1910
Notions: Metallic yarn, glass beads
How historically accurate is it? It’s a mix of lots of different bag styles rather than a copy of any one, so I'd say 50%
Hours to complete: About seven
First worn: Not yet
Total cost: Silk £5, yarn £3.50, everything else from stash, so £8.50