The Florence Diaries: A Saccoccia (pocket/pouch)
Recreated by La Signora Onorata Katerina da Brescia.


One of the continuingproblems at events is how to carry things! I started out with the TSCA (typical SCA) pouch on the belt. Then graduated to a more period looking pouch, at knee level, either worn on the outside or under the skirts.
Here is an example of yet another good thing I have found in La Mode a Firenze.
Left are two examples of the saccoccia - or pocket / pouch.
The first is A Woman at her Toilet. 1575-78, (p 138) and the second is from Birth of the Virgin (p 82). Both portraits are by Allessandro Allori and can be documented as being used in Florence.
The soccaccia was usually worn under the skirts and could be accessed via the slits in the skirt of the sottana.
The first portrait shows the soccaccia with a suspended needlecase with scissors.
The Victoria and Albert Museum website has good information on 'pockets'. Though information is based on extant examples after 1700, they look very similar to above.

I have some nice tapestry material scraps that would be perfect for this project. I picked the one on the right, for my first attempt at a soccaccia. I lined it with left over linen and decorated with left over trim.
Far right is the pattern.  The length of the soccaccia is so that it sits at the hip line, as seen in the two portraits. This makes sense, as any longer would catch up when sitting. There is a slash down almost half the length of the soccaccia. There is a couched cord around the opening of both examples.
Originally, I was going to put a band around the edge to give a squarer look, like in the first portrait (Woman at her Toilet) but decided that it was most likely a simple two piece pattern. If you look at the Birth of the Virgin, there is no squared off shape. Also, in Woman at her Toilet, the material pattern is continuous. This suggests more strongly that this is one piece. I think the shape is just created by the contents.
Pictures on the go...

Sew the outer material to the lining, at the front slit. Couch cord around the slit. Sew the 'belt' to the top of the pocket. the final pocket from the side.
This was so easy to make and took less than a day! A great project !
I will definately be making more!

sottana: petticoat dress
saccoccia - pocket pouch
  • Orsi Landini, Roberta & Niccoli, Bruna. La Moda a Fioenze 1540-1580. Pagliai Polistampa, Firenze, 2005. ISBN: 88-8304-867-9
  • V&A - Pockets.
© Dec 2006

And for those who like LIVE JOURNALS... However be warned, I do not update regularly.

All intellectual content, photos and layout are copyright to La Signora Onorata Katerina da Brescia (K Carlisle), except those original renaissance artworks and extant articles whose copyright remains with the current owner.
If you would like to use something from this site, please contact me, and cite this website reference.

(c). K.Carlisle, 2009.