“The Pocket” Design Competition | Decorate Your Own 18th-century Pocket

The Pocket Design Competition 2020

Unlike the pockets found on women’s clothing today, pockets in the 18th-century were highly practical, large, and detachable. Such pockets were worn beneath the outer layers of clothing, and offered both privacy and protection to the wearer’s money and personal belongings. (Learn more about pockets here.)

Over the next few weeks we’re giving you the excuse to get crafty, 18th-century style, with our design competition inspired by The Pocket: A Hidden History of Women’s Lives, 1660–1900 by Barbara Burman and Ariane Fennetaux.

Read on to find out how to enter and get some decoration inspiration

Detail, one of pair of embroidered pockets, 18th Century. Bankfield Museum, Halifax. 1935.122

How To Enter

Create your own original pocket design and send it to us at [email protected] with the subject “The Pocket Design Competition” by Sunday 13th September, 2020.

You can download this blank pocket template to draw your design onto, but feel free to be as creative and inventive as you wish. You could also paint your design, embroider your design or cross-stitch your design – there are no restrictions. Entries will be judged by authors Barbara Burman and Ariane Fennetaux.

Runner-up prize: x1 paperback copy of The Pocket
Grand prize: £100 worth of Yale University Press fashion history books and x1 paperback copy of The Pocket

Need Decoration Inspiration?

Click here to learn more about the ways in which women and girls would embellish their pockets; including typical 18th-century motifs and examples of embroidery patterns featured in fashion magazines of the time.

The hidden nature of the detachable pocket allowed for the wearer to decorate her pocket as she wished; outside the caprices of fashion or pressures of keeping up with more ostentatious display. How you design your pocket is therefore entirely up to you. You may wish to create an elaborate naturalistic motif with flowers and plants, or give your pocket a 21st century twist to better reflect your individual style as it is today. Either way, we can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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Terms & Conditions for the Competition

Please read these terms and conditions carefully. By taking part in the competition, all participants will be deemed to have read and accepted them.
We will not sell or share your data to any other organisations for their own purposes. To read the full Yale University Press, London Privacy Policy click here.

  1. The closing date for entry to the competition will be Sunday 13th September 2020. Entries must be received no later than 11.59pm (BST) on the closing date. Entries sent past this date will not be considered.
  2. The Entry must be the work of the individual submitting it (“the Entrant”) and must not have been published elsewhere or won a prize in any other competition.
  3. Each Entrant may submit one entry only.
  4. The prizes are non-transferable, non-refundable and cannot be exchanged for a cash alternative in whole or in part. Fashion history books chosen as part of the £100 grand prize must be solely published by Yale University Press and cannot be joint publications or distribution titles.
  5. This competition is not open to employees of Yale University Press or their families.

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