Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Rococo Panniers

If you love recreating historical fashions, you know what I'm talking about. You see gorgeous fashion plates, preserved gowns in museums, detailed paintings, immaculate reproductions, and you want to get that same look. You make a dress inspired by the originals. But the same conundrum rears its ugly head when you look in the mirror - it doesn't look the same as in the pictures! But how? Where do you wrong?  

It has taken me a while to get to the point where I've convinced myself that the unmentionables are a worthy investment when you're in the world of historical costuming. If you want 'the look,' you will need all the proper structural undergarments are a necessity. My Civil War wardrobe is off to a good start (corset, chemise, petticoats, etc). Now, I'm diving into the world of Rococo. 

What's one of the first things that you notice when you look at dresses from the mid to late 1700's? All that hip action! No, not like Elvis Presley. Skirts so wide that carriages had to be remodeled to accommodate the fashion trend (Ah, the royal French court). How did dresses reach such feats? Panniers. In a word, hip extensions. And I'm crazy enough to have made a pair of my own. 

Pattern: Simplicty 4092
Lady Catherine, the dress form, modeling panniers
The only thing that I changed was the addition of the ruffles. Otherwise, everything was straight forward and relatively simple. It was a bit of a wrestling match with the boning and turning things inside out and right side out and sewing things together, but everything you needed to know was right there in the instructions! I love it when patterns play nice. 

Oh la-la!
My next project challenge is going to be the 1700's stays (or corset). I've never attempted corsetry before, so this is going to be new territory. 

Just keep sewing!

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