Sporrans are an essential piece of the Highland dress, ALMOST as essential as Jamie Fraser is to Outlander!!!
From our research into the origin of sporrans, we discovered that the first sporrans are thought to have derived around the 14th century. They were developed from the commonly used medieval purse or scip. Sporrans are generally classed into three main types. There is the simple and informal day-wear sporran (like the one we have recreated here, worn by Jamie Fraser) which is usually made entirely of leather; the semi-dress sporran (that has a combination of fur and leather) and considered suitable for most occasions and last but not least, the most decorative style (and might I add a tad hairy lol) is the full-dress sporran worn only with formal attire.
Although kilts are versatile and a strong symbol of the Scottish heritage, they are lacking in one small feature..... pockets!! Due to the structure of the kilt, pockets were not possible and so the sporran, like Jamie Fraser, was born out of necessity.
Bow Chicka Wow Wow
In 2015, Leanne and Julia, our product designers, hopped on a flight and traveled to the set of Outlander in Scotland. SONY aligned us with the opportunity to get up close and personal with the costumes and accessories used by Jamie and Claire during the first season. They were actually filming during the time of their visit so it was a bit of a mad house to say the least!! The girls did get to meet briefly with Terry Dresbach and Maril Davis. It sure does suck working at AbbyShot, doesn't it? After gathering numerous photos, intel and measurements of the costumes available, they felt confident they had acquired enough data to move on to the next stage of product development.
We turned our attention to the Jacobite pouch style sporran worn by Jamie and fell in love with its soft texture and beauty. We followed the advice of our customers and decided that we would enlist the help of a local artisan, Arnold Feltham to be the craftsman who would hand make a limited run of this particular style sporran for us. Arnold is as passionate about his work as he is the environment and we knew immediately that he was the right fit to work with AbbyShot. We decided that we would keep our packaging for our artisan products as environmentally friendly as possible. Bonnie, the owner of AbbyShot took it upon herself to make and tea stain the muslin bags to pack them in, instead of using a typical plastic one.
Leanne corresponded with a well-known leather shop in Toronto known as Perfect Leather. They determined that they did indeed have the correct texture and color leather that we were looking for to develop our replica piece! Hooray!!!
In 2016, we attended FanExpo in Toronto and while there, we made it a point to visit the Perfect Leather team. One of the key driving forces of AbbyShot’s business and culture is to add a personal touch whenever possible. We met with the owner and he gave us permission to take a few photos around the shop and was ever so helpful in assisting us in picking out the perfect leather hide.
Now the ultimate question. What DID Jamie carry in his sporran?
Here are a few excerpts that were taken from the Outlander novel that Herself uses to describe what Claire sees as being in there.
“I’ve never seen so much rubbish in my life,” I observed. “You’re a regular jackdaw, Jamie.”
“It isna rubbish,” he said, stung. “I’ve uses for all these things.”
“Well, the fish lines, and the hooks, yes. And the string for snares. Even, stretching a point, the pistol wadding and the balls—you do carry a pistol now and again. And the little snake Willie gave you, I understand that. But the stones? And a snail shell? And a piece of glass? And…” I bent closer to peer at a dark, furry mass of something. “What is—it isn’t, is it? Jamie, why on earth are you carrying a dried mole’s foot in your sporran?”
Now, only the true fans will be able to tell us what page this passage is taken from. Please, comment below if you think you know! We also would love to know what you will be keeping in your sporran.
In the meantime, we thought it would be fun if we reached out to some of the fans and asked them what they thought was in his sporran and these were some the answers that they provided us.
Fishing line on a spool (in screenshot) fishing hooks
Sam (actor) carries snacks and lip balm while filming – tissues and nuts?
Special wee Stones?
Jamie’s Mother’s pearls
Honey hard candy?
Flint and tinder
Fathers ruby ring
Wooden rosary that Jenny gave him
Claire’s wedding ring made from key to Lallybroch
Whether you are looking to complete "Your Jamie’s” outfit or maybe just looking to find a great place to store your small flask of Scotch Whisky, either or, this handmade replica of Jamie Fraser’s Sporran will be a must have on your Droughtlander list.
Written with love by: