If you are wondering how a simple word like “pocket” ended up in this glossary….
you are assuming that American clothing always had pockets as we know them today….
According to the “Very Brief History of the Pocket,” the type of pocket that we are familiar with today was not in use until sometime in the late 1700s.
So what did people do before that time?
A colonial “pocket” was a removable cloth bag used for holding “pocket books” (wallets), sewing paraphernalia, and other things that girls and women wanted handy throughout the day. These pockets were tied around the waist with a ribbon, or thin strip of cloth. They were often decorated with embroidery (as shown in the example photograph).
Ah, now the poem you heard as a child is starting to make sense…
Lucy Lockett lost her pocket,
Sally Fisher found it,
Not a penny was there in it
Just a ribbon ’round it.
Note: there are some who claim that the original verses of that poem were:
“Molly Ocket lost her pocket,
Lydia Fisher found it,
Lydia carried it to the mill,
And Uncle Noah ground it.”
If you are now intrigued enough to want to create a colonial woman’s pocket, I’m providing a wonderful pattern, along with a lesson plan for any parents or teachers who wish to share this with their students.
Never take your pockets for granted again 😀
P.S.: For more words, visit my New Hampshire Glossary page