Embroidered Diary Case/Shot Pouch

I decided to try my hand at the embroidered diary case/shot pouch on pages 34-37 of Jim Webb’s book on shot pouches and powder horns of Southern Appalachia. This is my interpretation of that bag and I made it for myself.

I made a few changes.  I only put one extra layer of leather in the flap instead of the three of the original and only created one front pocket instead of the original two.   This reduced the number of layers of leather I had to sew through to a max of five.   I also used 2 oz veg tan cow hide instead of buckskin.   I used 6 oz veg tan cow hide for the strap.

It took a while to work out the pattern, but the shot pouch actually went together much easier than I expected. I cut out the leather very precisely making sure all the mating edges (and punched holes) lined up exactly. I punched all the holes for the embroidery and used my own design. Once the embroidery was done, I glued the pieces together along the edges using white glue. I think this was the key to being able to easily sew it all together; that and the precise matching of the holes.   In case you were wondering, the glue mostly dissolves away when the bag  was soaked in warm water to turn it.

The bag is stained with vinegar and iron. That was done right after the parts were cut out.  I like vinegar and iron because it is a traditional stain,  It stains through and doesn’t wash out.  I put a lot of Mink oil on the bag once it was all done and dried out.

By the way, the bag finished up a little under about 7″ x 7″.  The original was listed at 6 1/2″.

This bag is not for sale.  However, if you would want me to make you a little shot pouch like this one,  I would charge $550 for it plus $25 shipping and VA sales tax for VA residents.   You would, of course,  get a different embroidery design on the flap.   I would be open to suggestions.

If you like this, perhaps you might be interested in some of my other fraktur such as my Birth/Baptismal/Marriage Certificates or paintings.

Pouch 48 - Embroidered Diary Case/Shot Pouch - Full
Pouch 48 – Embroidered Diary Case/Shot Pouch – Full
Pouch 48 - Embroidered Diary Case/Shot Pouch - Flap
Pouch 48 – Embroidered Diary Case/Shot Pouch – Flap
Pouch 48 - Embroidered Diary Case/Shot Pouch - Inside
Pouch 48 – Embroidered Diary Case/Shot Pouch – Inside
Pouch 48 - Embroidered Diary Case/Shot Pouch - Back
Pouch 48 – Embroidered Diary Case/Shot Pouch – Back

On someone’s recommendation,  I decided to add a little banded southern horn to this pouch.     It is a left hand horn that is fairly straight  and was intended from the beginning to be carried on the right side.  Actually all the horns on my personal outfits are left hand horns carried on the right.   I always thought that worked the best.   It was only later that I learned that, historically, left had horns were carried on the left and right hand horns where carried on the right.

This horn (#56) is approximately 12″ around the outside curve, 10″ tip to tip (not including the stopper), with a base plug about 2.5″ in diameter.   The base plug is Cherry, the tip Axis deer antler, and the stopper Black Walnut.  The base plug is hollowed out about half it’s depth.

Pouch 48/ Horn 56 - Embroidered Diary Case/Shot Pouch with a small southern banded powder horn.
Pouch 48/ Horn 56 – Embroidered Diary Case/Shot Pouch with a small southern banded powder horn.

Late Flint Virginia Shot Pouch & Powder Horn

Late Flint VA Shot Pouch & Powder Horn
Pouch #16, Horn #14 – Late Flint VA Shot Pouch & VA Banded, Screw-tip Powder Horn

I made this shot pouch and powder horn for a Virginian headed south to the Texas fight for independence. It represents late flint pouch from the central Valley of Virginia, and is based on an example from Rockingham Co, VA as documented by Madison Grant in his book on hunting pouches. The horn is my standard Virginia, single banded, screw-tip powder horn.

This approximately 8″ x 8″ pouch is a three piece design of 3-4 oz vegetable tan cowhide consisting of a back, front, and flap. The back and flap are connected by a separate panel that is perforated at the top for the straps which are sewn inside. The pouch is not lined, as most original pouches were not, but it does include a small hanging pocket suitable for balls or other small items.  The bag is gusseted to increase the capacity; and all seams are welted which improves longevity. The flap and inside edge of the front panel are bound in goat or calf skin.  All my leather work is hand sewn with a saddle stitch using waxed linen thread.  The 6 oz  leather strap is 1″ wide and is adjusted with a plain forged iron buckle. There is also a leather keeper to keep the strap end neat. The pouch is stained with a vinegar and iron solution which results in a dark brown to blue/black color through the leather. This is a chemical stain; not a pigment. It will not wash out. The outside and part of the interior of the pouch is rubbed with Mink Oil and then brushed to protect the leather.

During the construction process, the leather and the finished pouch was distressed giving it a well broken in appearance. Almost all my work is slightly aged. Hopefully, those of you who are re-enactors will not be accused of being farb on my account.

Click and drag your mouse cursor horizontally across the image to spin the powder horn below. You can use you mouse wheel (scroll) to zoom in and out. You must zoom all the way out in order to spin the horn.
Shown below is a slightly larger version (approximately 9″x 9″) of the bag above made for a fowler paired with a plain southern powder horn.

Pouch 44/Horn 48 - Late Flint Virginia Shot Pouch with a Plain Southern Powder Horn.- Front
Pouch 44/Horn 48 – Late Flint Virginia Shot Pouch with a Plain Southern Powder Horn.- Front
Pouch 44/Horn 48 - Late Flint Virginia Shot Pouch with a Plain Southern Powder Horn.- Back
Pouch 44/Horn 48 – Late Flint Virginia Shot Pouch with a Plain Southern Powder Horn.- Back

You can obtain your very own pouch and horn outfit like the ones shown above for the following prices:

  • Late Flint Virginia Shot Pouch (as shown above) – $500 plus $25 shipping/insurance.
  • Powder Horn Hangers for Late Flint Virginia Shot Pouch – $15 (Option with a pouch order)
  • Add Decorative Tooling on the flap and front panel – $20 (Option with a pouch order)
  • A leather knife sheath added to the back or strap – $45 (Option with a pouch order – client must provide the knife)
  • Virginia Single Banded Screw-tip Powder Horn – $275plus shipping
  • Plain Southern Horn – $150 plus shipping

Shipping on a single item is $15. Shipping on an outfit is $25. I will collect VA Sales Tax for items shipping to VA residents.

To order a pouch or horn like the ones shown above, or to discuss a different project, use the Contact form to send me an e-mail. See FAQ for more information on purchasing custom work.

Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with Fraktur Embroidery Insert

The Face of God Fraktur

I decided that I wanted to combine my fraktur (18th & 19th Century German-American folk art) work with my leather work in some way.   Some sort of embroidery seemed the most sensible way to do it.   So, I decided to create an original fraktur design hand embroidered on a canvas insert in the flap of a Fur Trade era hunting pouch.   This hunting pouch (#36) is the result of that idea.   This is not a strictly historically correct pouch.   I have taken some creative license to pursue my artistic interests in fraktur.

The fraktur is titled the Face of God; representative of Jesus Christ (in the form of the peacock) as the human face of the trinity  (in the form of three tulips on each branch of the tree of life stemming from the heart of God) and the model for our lives.   It is stitched on natural cotton duck canvas using cotton embroidery floss.   About half the time to complete this pouch is in the  execution of the fraktur.  More pouches with different original hand embroidered fraktur are to follow.  That art work will be featured here.

The pouch itself is the best that I know how to make.   It is hand stitched using waxed linen thread out of 2-3 oz (new pouches will have 6 oz leather straps) vegetable tan cowhide, fully lined with a period red print, and incorporating rolled welts, rolled bindings, and a flap lining of calfskin.   The pouch is 8 1/2″ x 9″ overall with a main storage area that is about 5″ x 8″.   There is an internal pocket for small items.  The strap passes through the top of the apron and is stitched inside the pouch for the cleanest possible appearance.  The strap can be adjusted via a brass buckle to a maximum of 57″ top of bag to top of bag.   I will make the strap accommodate any buyer.

As with all my leather work, the leather is stained with the period correct vinegar and iron for a blue-black to dark brown finish.   Mink oil is put on top of that.   I have not aged this pouch in any way.  The wrinkles in the leather are just from turning it.

This pouch is sold, but the bespoke price for a similar pouch with a one of a kind embroidered insert is $950 plus $25 shipping/insurance and the applicable Virginia sales tax if shipped to a Virginia resident.

If you like this, perhaps you might be interested in some of my other fraktur such as my Birth/Baptismal/Marriage Certificates or paintings.

Bag #36 - Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert.
Bag #36 – Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert – The Face of God.
Bag #36 - Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert - Front
Bag #36 – Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert – The Face of God.- Front
Bag #36 - Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert - Back
Bag #36 – Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert – The Face of God.- Back
Bag #36 - Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert - Inside
Bag #36 – Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert – The Face of God.- Inside
Bag #36 - Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert - Inside
Bag #36 – Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert – The Face of God.- Inside

The God of Peace and Love

This pouch (#38) is identical to the one above (#36) in all ways except for the fraktur insert.   The insert is hand embroidered on natural cotton duck canvas using French made cotton embroidery floss.   The design is entitled “The God of Peace and Love.”

Photos of Pouch #38 are shown below.

Bag #38- Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert – The God of Peace and Love – Front
Bag #38- Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert – The God of Peace and Love – Back
Bag #38- Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert – The God of Peace and Love – Front
Bag #38- Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert – The God of Peace and Love – Inside
Bag #38- Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert – The God of Peace and Love – Inside

A Pouch for My Brother

This hunting pouch (#40) was created just for my brother.   He wanted the first bag I created above (#36), but spoke up a little too late.  That bag went fast.  The followup fraktur embroidery that I did wasn’t all that appealing to him.  So,  I created this one.   It has a similar symbology to the first pouch with a single peacock, front and center,  representing Christ as the human face of God.  The three tulips represent the Trinity.  I have just included a photo of the flap.   The rest is pretty much the same as the bags above.

Bag #40- Fur Trade Era Hunting Pouch with embroidered fraktur insert – Front

Plain Southern Powder Horns

The vast majority of original powder horns were as plain as they could be and still be functional. That means a flat pine (or other softwood) base plug and little or no carving of the throat; just enough work to contain powder and attach a strap. Many times a screw was used to attach a strap to the base plug. A grooved or simply reduced throat is enough to tie a strap around it. The two powder horns shown just below are based on an original southwest Virginia horn and are a little fancier than most with a turned base plug and carved rings at the throat. Even so, it is still much plainer than the carved and engraved horns from the French and Indian War. This horn could also be made with a turned and applied collar instead of the integral rings. The horn would dictate how it is approached.

Horn #7 - Side
Horn #7 – A SW. VA style powder horn
Horn #19 - A SW. VA horn in the basic style of Horn #7.
Horn #19 – A SW. VA horn in the basic style of Horn #7.

Please note the raw linen cord used to attach the horn in the photo below.   Cord was often found on southern outfits.    The outfit show below is much more historically correct for a southern mountain rifle than many of the sophisticated shot pouches and powder horns being recreated today.    Most of the original powder horns and shot pouches were very simple affairs, well worn and patched together.   You will see horns completely covered in leather to patch a hole or holes rather than just throw it away.   Even something as simple as a plain powder horn could not be easily replaced in the southern mountains and was highly valued.

I will make any plain powder horn with a flat base plug and simply carved throat and spout for $150 plus shipping. A horn like #7 with a turned, flat or domed base plug and carved rings would cost $275 plus shipping.

To order a powder horn or discuss any other project, use the Contact form to send me an e-mail. See FAQ for more information on ordering custom work. The availability of any particular horn design depends on the availability of an appropriate unfinished horn in my inventory.

Horn #3 - Bag #8 - A plain southern powder horn attached by linen cord to a Southern heart shaped shot pouch laying on a flat surface.
Horn #3 – Plain southern powder horn, Bag #8 – Southern Heart Shaped Shot Pouch
Horn #4 - Plain southern powder horn, 10 3/4" outside curve, 2 1/2" dia. base plug
Horn #4 – Plain southern powder horn, 10 3/4″ outside curve, 2 1/2″ dia. base plug
Horn #4 - Top of plain southern powder horn with a wedding ring carved at the end of a bell shaped tip.
Horn #4 – Top – Plain southern powder horn
Horn #8 - Top of a plain southern powder horn wiht a large wedding band carved a the beginning of a bell shaped tip just above the throat.
Horn #8 – Top – Plain southern powder horn
Horn #8 - Plain southern powder horn, 10 1/4" outside curve, 2 3/8" dia. base plug
Horn #8 – Plain southern powder horn, 10 1/4″ outside curve, 2 3/8″ dia. base plug
Plain southern powder horn with octagonal shaped tip.
Horn #9 – Plain Southern Powder Horn, 11″ outside curve, 2 1/2″ dia. base plug
Top view of plain southern powder horn with an octacgonal tip.
Horn #9 – Top – Plain southern powder horn

Right or Left Hand Carry Powder Horns?

There are both right hand and left hand powder horns shown above.   The question is what does that mean.   It refers to the side on which you carry the horn.   The tip always points forward and should wrap around your body.    In other words, the tip should not jut out so that it can catch on a passing object.

Technically,  a curve of the tip to the left as viewed from the top is a right hand carry horn and also from the right side of the cow.   A curve of the tip to the right would technically be a left hand carry horn and from the left side of the cow.   If there is no significant curve of the horn as viewed from the top, then the horn can be easily worn on either side.   Most horns have so little curve it really doesn’t matter.

Sometimes a horn that is technically a left hand horn might wrap around the body better on the right hand side and vice versa.    So,  in describing a horn for sale,  I will tell you whether a horn is technically a left hand or a right hand.  Then I will tell you on which side the horn was built to be carried,  if it is different.    I will also try to include a photo from the top of the horn so you can see the curve for yourself.     On which side you actually carry a horn, that is up to you.

18th Century Style Mens’ Pocketbook

Mens 18th C fraktur tooled pocketbook

Not too long ago, my osteopath told me I needed to take my overstuffed wallet out of my back pocket and ditch it. It was pretty ratty anyway; almost worn through in places. I shopped around for a replacement but just couldn’t find anything just right. I needed to carry my drivers license, registration, proof of insurance, disabled parking card, and medical insurance card as well as some cash, at least one debit card, and a couple grocery discount cards. That was about as much as I could slim down. I had about three times that much stuff in the old wallet, not including the receipts, notes, and other paperwork. It was basically a traveling file cabinet. What I finally decided to do was design a little 18th century style mens’ pocketbook based on the construction of my early VA shot pouch and several original cloth pocketbooks that I had seen.

Fraktur tooling on 18thC men's pocketbookShown here is the result of my efforts. It is still a little overstuffed, but better than what I had. It is made out of goat skin (any new one would probably have to be calf skin), consisting of two sets of pockets flat sewn with a center divider serving as the welt for each set. The pockets fold like the pages of a book with a flap closure.

 

Fraktur tooling on 18thC men's pocketbook

Fraktur tooling on 18thC men's pocketbook

Fraktur tooling on 18thC men's pocketbookI tooled every exposed surface. The outside is decorated with typically English stamped geometric designs consisting mainly of diagonal lines and stamped stars. The inside panels are tooled with fraktur designs. The stain is vinegar and iron.

If anybody would like one, I will make one with stamped decoration on the exterior panels for $120. If you want original fraktur tooling on the interior panels, that will cost you $180.  I will make a wallet with a single set of pockets for $80.  I will have to add 5.3% sales tax for VA residents. Shipping is $15.

Download the pattern here if you would like to make the pocketbook yourself.