Pretty påsöm pocket

On my recent wool journey I started three påsöm projects. Since then I have been working for many hours on the first project, a pretty påsöm pocket. None of this is my handspun.

If you have read my blog posts during the past year you may have seen my growing interest in tie-on pockets. A very old accessory – necessity – to give women the freedom of bringing things with them just like men have, only men’s clothes have been equipped with built-in pockets for specific items. A tie-on pocket can be placed hidden or visible and contain anything the wearer’s heart desires. My previous pockets were made of two kitchen towels and an evening purse.

Pattern outline

On my wool traveling club’s recent påsöm embroidery wool journey we first learned how to sketch the bouquet of påsöm flowers on the surface (broad cloth in this case), play with templates and stencils and transferring the shapes onto the sketch. When we were happy with the design we filled in both inner and outer borders with a permanent marker.

Once I’m happy with the design, I fill in all outer and inner borders with a permanent marker.

I chose a dahlia (at least I think that’s what it is) for the main attraction, flanked with roses and rose buds. All surrounded with greenery. I’m actually not a very flowery person, but the abundance of this technique and tradition appeals to me.


The colour palette is usually very bright, with especially reds and pinks among shades of green for the leaves. An occasional spectrum of blues or oranges can make a visit every now and then, with accent details in white and yellow.

Planning the bouquet

Just like planning a regular bouquet, you need to plan for the påsöm bouquet too. What is the centerpiece and where do the stalks go. I started with the giant dahlia and went on with the smaller flowers and the three flowers on top of the back piece of the pocket. Then I added the greenery, just according to my sketch.

Filling and blinging

Once the main pattern is in place it’s time to fill out the empty spaces with some more greenery and an occasional bud or smaller flower. The key word is abundance. I really enjoyed this part. I needed to watch every angle, see where the stalks went and fill in the gaps in a way that seemed logical in relation to the bouquet.

Once there was no more room to fill out I started the blinging process – extra sparkle to fill out the smallest spaces.

To fill out and add bling I watched the photos from the course carefully, as well as the book I had bought earlier, Påsöm, by Anna-Karin Jobs Arnberg (who was the teacher of our wool journey påsöm course). In the book as well as in the course there were lots of examples of old påsöm items to get inspiration from, as well as Anna-Karin’s new ones. From extra greenery incorporated in the flowers to bright stamens, pistils and unidentified leafy things to create depth and abundance.

Making a pocket

Once I felt finished with the filling and blinging it was time to make a pocket out of the embroidered broadcloth. I used a wild strawberry vintage cotton fabric for lining and inner pocket. A mora band (common in the traditional costume from the town of Mora) made a lovely edge of the pocket opening.

I joined the front plus lining with the back piece by hand with a backstitch, using a waxed linen thread. I like having the inner pocket for my mobile phone in the pocket. It keeps it steady and away from any accidents involving too close encounters with keys.

After I had finished the lining I steam pressed the embroidery. The result was quite astonishing, the stitches landed sweetly together in the flowers and leaves.

Close to the tradition

With the front and back neatly joined and the Mora band for the pocket opening I was getting closer to a finished pocket. But I wasn’t sure how to do the edging and the band. Anna-Karin’s påsöm pockets from Dala-Floda and the examples from the digital museum all had a buckle at the top to fasten in a belt or apron tie. The pockets were most commonly edged with velvet. I didn’t want either buckle or velvet, but I still wanted to stay within some reasonable closeness to the tradition.

I asked Anna-Karin for advice and she showed me pockets where mora bands had been sewn onto reindeer leather for the ties. She also showed me other items where reindeer leather had been used as edging and outer back piece.

I really liked the idea with soft reindeer leather for both edging, outer back piece and ties. So I ordered some reindeer leather while I finished the filling and blinging.

Reindeers and tongs

While the reindeer leather was indeed soft and flexible, it was still hard to work through with the needle. My solution was to use tongs to pull the needle through for a sweet waxed linen thread running stitch seam. Using the tongs worked very well, but it also took a lot of time to grab and let go of the tongs for every stitch. Still, in the end very much worth the effort.

It took a while to sew the 180 cm band back and forth. Edging the pocket was less complicated than I thought. The friction between the broad cloth and the suede side of the reindeer leather prevented the materials to slide from their position.

Even if the pocket is a mix between traditions from different villages in and around Dala-Floda it still looks reasonably traditional. At least in my beginner’s eyes.


As with any finished project, I felt a little sad when our journey together was over. Perhaps that is why I am such a project hoarder – I can’t seem to want to let them go. The process is such a sweet time to learn and dig deeper, to be in my hands and in the material. Even if the end product turns out beautifully and shows me a map of what I have learned, I do cherish the time I have spent together with the material, the crafting choreography and the mental process. Lucky me I have more pocket ideas in store.

A pretty påsöm pocket, ready to house sweet treasures.

Happy spinning!

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4 Replies to “Pretty påsöm pocket”

  1. Your pocket came out beautifully! The bands perfectly compliment the embroidery and the reindeer leather sets everything off nicely. Does the leather help the pocket to sit still and the band to stay tied?

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