Thursday, August 3, 2017

Day 3: Extant Garment

            One of the most common mistakes made in the costuming world is neglecting your undergarments. The proper foundation makes any outfit look even better, and in a century like the 18th century, where structural undergarments were such a key part of every ladies’ wardrobe, it’s important to build your ensemble from the skin up. Before I had ever sewn a dress that required side hoops, I made a pair of hoops, also known as panniers, to wear while draping my future gowns.
            The hoops I constructed were made with the help of the Dreamstress’ “Panier Along”, and very much inspired by a pair of hoops currently in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. When I visited the museum this past March to see their exhibit Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear, I was thrilled to find the hoops featured at the beginning of the display.

            It shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone, but costumers and historians can both be a little crazy, and I have my feet solidly in both camps. So, one of the most special parts about my trip to England was getting to see a garment that I had studied through a computer screen, recreated with my own two hands, and worn in the heat of a Williamsburg summer, staring right back at me in real life. I had done everything that I could to learn about panniers and understand them, and after I felt that I had finally gotten almost all of the knowledge I needed from that particular subset of history, I was fortunate enough to see the piece that started it all. I know, I know, that’s really nerdy, but it was a really exciting moment for me.



  1. It's exciting isn't it? Geek out, you're with friends lol

  2. Very nice panniers. And the feeling has to be the same for every historical costumer. I had a moment like this with Dorothea von Neuburg's dress from Janet Arnold when I saw it in Munich I was glued to the display for a long while...