Yellow Pear Pique Top (with Bonnie Cashin’s “Purse-Pocket”)

Hello, what is that appendage on the front of my pear shaped neon yellow top?  Why, it’s a vintage style coin purse (see last week’s post)!  The inspiration has been inhabiting my subconscious for at least 3 years since I saw this image of a tweed skirt on Pinterest (image is from the FIT archives) – and it is a Bonnie Cashin design from the 60s. What’s unique is the addition of what Ms Cashin dubbed a “purse-pocket”.  

Pocket purse on Pinterest. Museum at FIT

My curiosity was good and piqued and I’m not one to let it go at a Pinterest image.  A big tome on Bonnie Cashin was ordered, and a minuscule research project evolved.  There are more images from a book on Bonnie Cashin and a work at the end of this post.  So, what ensued when the little purse was added to the yellow pique top? A few tips are listed below. Please ask any questions you may have in the comment section. 

Remember the previous post where I quizzed you about why the back side of the purse was plain white linen? This is your answer. Heh. 


Tips (mine, not Bonnie’s):

  • Selecting the right fabric:  Obviously, this needs fabric with some beef and stability. I thought the medium weight cotton pique filled the bill; it’s available on the Sew Much Fabric website. And, it is just neon enough to fit my plan. 


  • Selecting the metal frame:  The size depends on your own physical frame. Due to limited choices, I had to select a smallish frame.  The size also depends on your project; this smallish purse would have been perfectly in proportion on a short jacket and a smaller body than mine. But… I’m not complaining. Love this top anyway.


  • Know that the little purse will add a wee bit of weight to the garment on my right side – probably not on a wool or denim and such. A denim jacket is the next destination of a coin purse appendage. 
  • It’s a good idea to interface the wrong side of the garment fabric where the purse will sit. If it’s being added to an already interfaced front of a tailored jacket, consider additional interfacing behind the purse area — needs a trial, but that’s what I’m thinking now.
  • Placement is a personal preference, so I suggest pinning on the purse to where you like it.
  • Sewing it on: attach the upper inside first, by machine sewing along the inside edge of the metal frame, and using a zipper foot. When turning corners, you may have to remove the zipper foot and free-hand it around the corners.  My stitching is not too straight (below) but hey, it’s the first time I’m doing this.


If this is too troublesome, hand sew the inside of the frame in place. For the outside, I edge-stitched from one metal corner, down and around to the other corner. That’s it!

  • When do you sew on the purse-pocket during construction? When it makes sense — I attached it after stay-stitching the neck and armholes, but before sewing any other seams.

Here are images from a book about Bonnie Cashin and her designs, published by Rizzoli. My thanks to them — although none of them will ever read this obscure blog.  I give credit where it’s due.


Above, the “Purse-Pocket” on a Cashin raincoat.


And, the aptly named Cashin-Carry bag!! 

Hope you enjoyed reading this!


22 thoughts on “Yellow Pear Pique Top (with Bonnie Cashin’s “Purse-Pocket”)

  1. As a long term Bonnie fan ( she was so ahead of her time) I also have books on her and Pinterest pins.I applaud your project. I think it’s worked well and hope you’ll go on experimenting, creating and inspiring other. Loved your posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Donna! She was certainly ahead of her time — and I don’t see her design aesthetic become outdated. That way it’s timeless.


  2. Good Morning Samina! What a lovely shade of yellow to start my day with! I think it will look great on you. I really admire the way you see a couture detail and just add it in wherever you want, you’re so much more adventurous than I am.

    Can I ask, why pear shaped? Is it because of the shape of the coin purse? The blouse looks A-line to me, but maybe because it’s hanging on the dress form I can’t see the pear shape.

    Did you do the cross-stitches that are framed on the wall behind? They’re very good, I like them. I need to find a better background for photos myself, I seem to have worked my way into a dark corner for photos, both figuratively and literally!

    Oh, one last thing, can you give me the ISBN number for the Bonnie Cashin book? It looks so interesting. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kasey! Thank you for the nice compliments. I called it a pear since my body is somewhat pear shaped, and I find myself incorporating that shape into my clothing lately. Actually, I think that the pear shape is an A-line shape, just less strictly linear. ISBN number of the book is ISBN 13: 978-0-8478-4805-8 .


    2. Hi again, Kasey! Forgot to answer your question about the embroideries on the wall. The crewel work on the left was done by me, the lower right buildings cross-stitch is my daughter’s work and she was 10 years old when she did that. My mother cross-stitched the frame on the upper right. I just realized that three generations are represented there; .these embroideries were done at least 30 years ago — my daughter is now in her forties, my mom is no longer with us.


  3. Just stick a credit card in the purse and you’re good to go. I hope there is actually somewhere for us
    to go to soon! Great idea to renew and update interesting designer details!


  4. Your diminutive coin purse suits the proportions and weight of your top, I think. Very lovely top and wonderful to apply Cashin’s idea in your own way! Hope we get to see you in this garment or as part of an outfit in the future.


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