The Mouse Guard was established in the reign of Corin Anderson and Keredwin the Mouse while Lochac was still a Principality and was retained by the new Kingdom. The award is given to those amongst those very young subjects that Their Majesties finds have been of help to others and otherwise worthy of recognition.
The token of the award is a pouch, bearing the reversed charge from the device of Her Excellency Mistress Keredwin the Mouse. The device (shown right) is “Gules crusily botony, a mouse sejant erect to sinister, tail nowed argent”. The pouch bears the mouse charge facing the other way (to dexter) on a plain red field.
The Worshipful Company of Broiderers has been requested to help provide suitable pouches, so that these may given out in each reign.
Since the Company strives for historical accuracy, it is important that the designs of the pouch, the materials and the embroidery style are all historically accurate. Since the recipients are young, it is equally important that the pouches (and embroidery) be sturdy and easy to clean. Depending on the style, you may need to line the pouch to ensure it will stand up to hard use.
Suitable material and techniques include:
The full-scale design shows the mouse charge on a simple drawstring pouch. The drawstring pouch was in use by men, women and children throughout our period, so the style is universally applicable. Many other pouches or purses were also in use, but most of these were made of leather and were not embroidered. You will need to add extra for seam allowances and the deep hem at the top.The form of the pouch is shown below.
Note the double cords used to draw the pouch closed. These are threaded through slots or eyelets in the top of the pouch or (rarely) through a sewn channel. The ends are on opposite sides of the purse mouth – you pull both ends to draw the bag closed. If the fabric was solid, or covered in embroidery, the cords might be pulled through holes forced in the fabric with an awl (without cutting the threads) to make an eye. Otherwise, these holes might be reinforced with embroidery. Both cords could pass through a single hole, or a pair of holes might be worked above each other.
The hanging cords are separate and often sewn up the sides of the pouch, although they could also be attached over the draw cords. This is a much more secure system than hanging by a draw cord. It is also much easier to use – you need not remove the purse from your belt to open it, and can use much shorter hanging cords (common for men). The hanging cords might be attached at the sides of the mouth of the purse, or sewn as decorative reinforcement down the sides, perhaps ending in a knot or tassel.