Our Famously Versatile Ditty Bags are back in stock! What would you use yours for?

Our Arthur Beale Ditty Bags are fantastically useful onboard as well as around home. Our bag is made from very heavy natural cotton canvas with a tough hand spliced natural flax rope handle. Each bag has seven external pockets of varying widths to suit fids, marline spikes, note books, needles or knives. The large inside area can take reels of whipping twine, sailmakers palms, handy pulleys and all the little bits of rigging hardware that keeps the boat going smoothly. We supply them with three handle options or without a handle, if you prefer to make your own!

A few uses...

The History of the Ditty Bag

The History of the Ditty Bag is rather vague, being a term primarily used at sea and only making it's way into print in 1833 in The Journal of Belles Lettres, Philadelphia:

" On each side of the berth-deck, termed “the wings,” are racks for the accommodation of canvass bags; each man has one in which he keeps his clothes, and a little bag or reticule called “a ditty bag,” containing all the implements of his housewifery, such as thimble, needles, tapes, thread, &c, for you must know that every genuine seaman is always his own tailor, hatter, and very frequently his own shoemaker."


The term 'Ditty' is rather mysterious, with some thinking it originated from the word ditto (in reference to a bag for 'dittos' or a second set of clothes with the idea that a sailors' wardrobe was rather limited). Another assumption is that it is a modified form of kitty-bag, derived from kit-bag. A more creative idea comes from a correspondant to a 19th century journal, claiming the ditty bag or box was just about the right size to store sheet music... therefore drawing its' name from the musical term ditty for a short and simple song! 


A likely origin story is that the term actually came from the now obsolete Indian word dutty or Hindi word dhoti which refers to a thick type of calico primarily used for sail cloth. Since a sailor would likely fashion his own Ditty bag from spare sail cloth aboard ship, this seems like a rather plausible explanation for the name.

We make all our Ditty Bag handles in-house using traditional splicing techniques...




Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published