NativeTech: Native American Technology and Art

Pouch & Bandolier
Pouch & Bandolier
Seminole Pouches & Bandoliers
Backing, Edging & Detailing

by David Mott and
Rick Obermeyer (Dec., 1990)

in 19th Century Seminole Men`s Clothing
Rick Obermeyer ~ Editor


After beadwork is completed, it is time to attach a calico liner to back the wool. (Some choose to add two liners: one before beading, to give the thread extra thickness to anchor in, and a second after beading.) This reinforces the wool, and protects the beadwork's bare backstitches. The liner should be just a bit larger than the wool piece by about 1/8" to 1/4". On a few examples, such as the "Osceola" pouch at the Florida Museum of Natural History, the liner wraps around from the back and is sewn down as an edging. This is an option to consider, but one which will not be discussed here.

The calico liner can be attached with 1/2" basting stitches, because it will later be securely attached when edging is sewn on (unless the liner is, itself, the edging). When done, cut off any excess calico. Allow plenty of extra seam space if the calico was ripped; this helps prevent losing the stitch to the fray later on.


There are two options to edging a bandolier and pouch. One is by overlapping the calico liner around the outside edge of the wool. The other option is to use ribbon or military edging or bias tape for edging. This method, much more prevalent, is the one described here.

Edging colors on examples studied are red, navy blue, black, green, blue-green/turquoise, pink, yellow (changed with age to light gold or mustard), white, and light blue. (See Appendix *1 COLORS)

Measure the dimensions of your pouch and bandolier outer margins. If you would like the bottom of the pouch to have trim, sew it down along that edge. (Very few pouches have this detail, but it is an option.) Add edging to the open lip of the pouch, which will protect the seam of the wool and calico. Sew the edging down close to its edge, using small tight stitches, with a thread color that matches the edging. This edging should have been slightly longer than the edge it's going on so that it will be a simple matter to trim off its ends after its sewn down.

Fold the pouch into the envelope shape. Sew the sides together from bottom to top. Take care to run your stitches tight and with as narrow seam as your torn calico allows. Measure the perimeter of the pouch, including the flap, and add two inches. Measure out this much edging, and sew it down in the same way as the lip edging. Take your time around the flap's point to carefully fold and stitch the edging to make it neat. Finish both of the open bottom ends of the edging with a few tight barrel stitches. If you are working with satin or silk ribbon for edging, use a very fine needle and thread.

The bandolier is edged in the same manner: 1) measure the perimeter and add a few inches, 2) you may want to pin the ribbon in place since the length can be overwhelming sometimes, 3) sew using very fine stitches, and 4) take your time going around corners and into the curves at the bases of the fingers. After all the edging is done, the pouch and bandolier are ready for the finishing details.


Adding these details will enhance an already beautiful item.

EDGE BEADING: Add beads to the inside and/or outside edge of the edging. These beads were almost always white, and were often slightly larger than the beads used in the applique designs.

TASSELS: These are hand-tied dangles added to the bottom of the pouch and sometimes to the ends of the bandolier fingers. They can be made from yarn, colored embroidery floss, very thin wool strips, or unraveled wool/strouding. Between four and eight on the bottom of the pouch is normal, but there can be as many as a dozen. One per. finger end is the norm on the bandolier. The tassels can be attached close in, or suspended an inch or two.

How to Hand-Tie Tassels:

1. Cut 10 to 20 4-6' lengths of yarn.
2. Run another 4-6' length of yarn around the bundle and tie off with a square knot.
3. Drape the yarn over the know leaving one end of the knot yarn above. The other end joins the bundle.
4. Using either the same color yarn (usual) or another color thread (sometimes) wrap around the top 1/3 of the bundle. Tie off with a couple clove hitches. Trim bottom as needed.

To attach the tassel run a yarn or heavy thread through the head of the tassel. Add beads or leave plain. Pull through the bottom edge of the pouch and then make several overhand knots or a surgeons knot. Use a darning needle to thread the yarn.
For the fingers of the strap or the flap point run the yarn just behind the edging, pull through about 1/2" and then knot.

Return to Beading & Designs on Seminole Pouches & Bandoliers

Seminole Bandolier Attachment & Conclusions

Appendix & References for Seminole Pouches & Bandoliers

Return to the Introduction to Seminole Pouches & Bandoliers

Complete Index to Articles in 19th Century Seminole Mens Clothing

Contributed by Rick Obermeyer E-mail:
From the book 19th Century Seminole Mens Clothing
© 1991-2000 Sherwood F. Obermeyer Jr., 2124 Miscindy Place, Orlando, FL 32806

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