Not a penny was there in it,
Only the ribbon 'round it.
This is one of my favorite nursery rhymes, because it's like an inside joke for those in-the-know about eighteenth century clothing. Unlike modern clothing and men's clothing from the era, women's clothing in the eighteenth century did not include built-in pockets. Rather, women wore separate pockets tied around their waists, under their skirts. And these pockets were often elaborately embroidered, like this one from the Met's Costume Institute:
You could access your pockets through slits in your petticoats and, if your gown did not have an open front, slits in it as well, as this girl is doing:
To be honest, there are benefits to this method. You never have to swap out your vital personal items from one pocket to another, and you don't have to carry a purse. Which is nice, because you needn't worry about matching your purse to your outfit, and you can worry a bit less about pickpockets (though not entirely...wily bastards...). With the slim silhouette of the early nineteenth century, women could no longer wear their pockets under their clothing without creating a goofy bulge, and instead carried small bags. Farewell, pockets.
There are, of course, disadvantages, as well. For instance, a reenactress forgets that she has stashed items in her pockets and lets them sit all winter. Exhibit A: My embroidered pocket, with a wild rose design that my father and I created:
Exhibit B: The contents of aforementioned pocket, including a lighter which may or may not work, a quasi-melted Tootsie Roll, some cash (score!), an admission button to an event from 2004, my folding fork/spoon and pocket knife, hairpins, a frienship bracelet woven for me by an industrious young friend, and some solid perfume. I also found an antacid wrapper of which I, to my knowledge, did not at any time use the contents.