Beaded bags, whether handcrafted or commercially produced, have been in vogue in North America for well over 200 years and in Europe for much longer. In Victorian America, the beaded bag fashion fad trickled down to the masses and became so popular that glass beading became a major part of homespun domestic textile arts.
Middle-class women and their daughters became accomplished beaders with Women's magazines of the day regularly publishing detailed instructions and complex schematics for creating glass bead patterns on handbags, dresses, bonnets, negligees, pincushions, sofa cushions, table mats, watch cases, bracelets, brooches, jackets, capes, and mourning hats, shawls and wreaths. Beaded bags popularity declined in the final decades of the 1800s only to undergo a wild resurgence of popularity shortly after the turn of the century.
I am curating a wonderful Lot of Beaded Handbags from the 40s and 50s: