Why I wrote a research paper on sweet bags…

I wanted to make myself a sweet bag for my Elizabethan persona. Since I like to research and document an object before I make it, I started to research and as so often happens, I was sucked into a void.

I thought that like most items, sweet bags would already be well-researched and I could just look at the work that other people had done and supplement it in some small way with one or two new discoveries. It turns out that sweet bags are not well-researched, at least not here in the United States.

When I started gathering enough data so that I thought I could write a book, Karen Larsdatter informed me that someone she knew already had a book in the works. She introduced me to Melinda Sherbring via email. Melinda did (and still does) have a book in the works. Not wanting to reinvent the wheel in progress, I dropped my book idea and opted for a research paper.

Melinda and I shared data so we could both improve our data sets, though truthfully after a decade, she had far more bags in her list than I did. Mid-way through the process, I published an article about sweet bags in Tournaments Illuminated in 2008 (or was it 2007?).

As so often happens, further research clarified my article and so it is now somewhat outdated.

After 2 1/2 years research, I summarized all my findings. Melinda read it and offered corrections. It was reviewed by Branwen Wallis and Belphoebe de Givet at the March 2009 Persona Pentathlon. They also gave me feedback.

The paper’s text is presented here in its entirety. However, the museum photos are not included because I don’t have the rights to use them. Instead, I have done line drawings of some of the sweet bags under discussion. And for a few, I have included patterns that I have drafted from photos. The patterns, such as the one on the left, can be copied and used to make your own sweet bag. The real size is 5 1/8″ x 5 1/8″.

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