During the 19th century, most fashionable gowns had pockets sewn into the seams of the skirt. Separate pockets were worn mainly by young girls, older women and working-class women.
Here is an example of a very plain, utilitarian pair of pockets of the late 19th century. Their large size indicates that they could have held many essentials. An ink spot on one, for example, suggests it might once have held a pen. The pockets appear to have been cut without a pattern. They are not symmetrical, nor do they match each other as they would if they had been cut together. The initials ‘HA’ embroidered on the back of one pocket was probably used to identify their owner when sent to the laundry. Both pockets have an interior compartment. A square of cotton has been sewn into the front of each to hold particular objects separate from the rest of the pocket contents.