Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Watch Fob for My Regency Gentleman

I don't know why all the little things hit me at once, with this whole ongoing saga of creating a regency outfit for David, myself and Little Man. The Big Things I had a clear idea of from the beginning. Obvious things. Like stays. Like a tailcoat. Like a bonnet.

I had a vague idea that I would have some sort of ribbony thing hanging from David's watch pocket. I had no idea how sheerly difficult it would be to find any primary information on what exactly a watch fob was, and how it was made, and how it was worn. Here you can see an image that clearly show a ribbony thing hanging from the gentleman's watch pocket:

Touted by some websites as "the" gentleman's accessory of the period, I obviously needed to make one for David, right?

I found this article which was somewhat helpful, and even more amusing: Regency Bling

I was also directed to a site that had a photo of these watch fobs, of uncertain date (here identified as Victorian) but nevertheless helpful. I could not discern how the ribbony thing attached to the watch, so this photo offers a clue:

So for lack of more information, I made a watch fob that seemed reasonable to me based on what information I *could* find. After much though I made it to attach directly to the watch itself instead of the to the silver watch chain that David usually wears with it. I could find no evidence of long watch chains in photos. That does NOT mean they were NOT worn, just that I haven't found a picture from the period depicting a long chain draped across the waist as David usually wears his for 1860's reenactments.

Here is what I did.

First, I found some old costume jewelry to cannibalize for chains, a clasp (to attach the watch to) and a cross pendant. I also found an old brassy colored metal hair clip. I attached a very short length of chain to the clasp (the chain already had this tiny cross on it, as it was from a charm bracelet) and then attached the other end of the chain to the wrong side of the hair clip. The rings on the chain were not big enough to slide over the hairclip, so I attached it with a knot of black linen cord. It is very firm and does not slide around. It works.

Here is what it looked like from the right side at this point:

Then I cut a scrap of silk fabric into a long rectangle and sewed it right sides together to make a flat, finished tube. This is my ribbon. I made it to equal the width of the hair clip. It came out a bit short in width, but oh well. It will work.

I slid the raw edge of the ribbon up through the hairclip, like this:

I cut a slit from the top raw edge of the ribbon to the hairclip, to accommodate the chain and clasp, like this:

And turned under the raw edges and slip stitched them down, to enclose the back side of the hairclip, like this:

From the right side:

To finish it off, I folded the ends of the ribbon up to make a point. I sewed a length of looped chain to the point for decoration. The chain has a cross pendant hanging from it, which goes with the tiny cross on the top chain.

And here it is with the watch attached and tucked into the watch pocket on David's breeches:

All in all it took me about 15 minutes to make this little thing. Small details help to make up the big picture, right?



  1. Perfect! I know you are super overwhelmed by all of this, so I really appreciate that you took time to post about this. It's so helpful to have a visual reference.

  2. That is so helpful! It is such hard work finding info on this!


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!