18th century skirt foundation (A.k.a Panniers of pain)

For the HSM challenge 1/2015 – Foundation, I knew I wanted to make 18th century panniers to go under my in progress robe a la Franchise (more on that on a later note).

And since I already had all the material (fabric, metal boning and bias tape) in my stash I started by looking for patterns.1740 panier waughThis pattern from “Corsets and Crinolines” looked good but seemed to be much bigger then I needed.
And I’ve heard from others who made it that it is in fact huge!

I was thinking something more along the lines of this picture.be103b0e94eebfb2dae8a3a825eb33b6That seems easy enough. So I figured I didn’t need a pattern after all.

So on to the tapemeasure I whent, and started cutting the fabric.IMG_4876A green sort of linen/polyester kind of fabric, here cut in double pieces.

Once all seams was stitched together and felled, I started working on the boning bias tape for the channelsIMG_4884 I marked where I wanted the bones to be, and stitched the bias tape on top of the chalk lines.IMG_4888

Then I made a running stitch and gathered the top to be set in the waistband.IMG_4891

To get the oval shape on the panniers I attached rows of ribbons to be tied horizontal across the hoops.IMG_4933

IMG_4902Inside of the panniers before inserting the boning.

I used my regular go-to metal pipe cleaners for boning. IMG_4903 The shape of the panniers whit the bones are somewhat circular…

And the edges of the top most bones makes a slight worrisome edge.IMG_4904

Finished in one night, yay!

Eh, no….


Once tied together the top hoop made the worst shape ever.

Darn it.
How to solve this?
I posted a quick question on my facebook page and in the HSM facebook group, and over night got lots of great suggestions.

Then I started experimenting.

I removed the diagonal bones at the top.IMG_4916 IMG_4917Better, but a long way from perfect.

Once he bones was removed I noticed a excess of fabric at the top front and back. I played with pinning it into a giant dart thous removing the upper bones ability to push out.IMG_4920 IMG_4925There was lots of width to take out.

But once pinned in darts and tied into place the pannier keeps the desired shape.IMG_4929

The problem was I thought of the whole panniers like a big circle/crinoline tied into shape. But what I failed to grasp was that to keep the top hoop close to the body at front/back and wide at the sides I needed to shape the top of the fabric. – just like in Waughs pattern….

Once decisive on the actions on how to save and finish the panniers I also decided that the pale green color was a bot bland. So I turned it inside out and stitched the darts from the opposite side to give it a ore interesting look (including removing all the ties and re-attached them on the new inside). IMG_4930

The finished panniers: (Yay)IMG_4943










Just the facts:

Challenge: nr 1/2015 – Foundation

What: A pair of 18th century panniers.

Pattern: None, I just measured and cut.

Fabric: 1,5 m of green linen from stash.

Notions: Thread, 7 m of metal boning, 7 m of brown bias-tape and 5 m of white cotton ribbon.

How historical accurate: Not much. The fabric is wrong, the boning is metal and I sewed most of it on my sewing machine. It looks pretty good though.

Time: About 8 hours – 2 of which I worked on correcting the upper hoop.

Cost: I would guess about 100 Sek (16 Usd) but everything came from stash so I’m not sure.

First worn: Only around the house for photos. But I intend to wear it with my up-coming Robe a la Franchise at the first chance I get.

Final thoughts: This was meant as a quick project, and as usual those are the ones which causes most trouble. But thanks to some minor experimenting and tips from the HSM hive mind I managed to complete them without to much bad words.


2 thoughts on “18th century skirt foundation (A.k.a Panniers of pain)

  1. I just have a question. When do you use a panier and when do you use porshe (i am not sure about the spelling of this word).
    I love all the “how to do” information you share with us.

    1. Thanks!
      I’m not sure but I think about it as a mather of size.
      For a court gown or a grand Robe a la Franchaise I’d use panniers, and for a smaller Franchaise or caraco/jacket I’d use poscher/pocket hoops.

      Worn with Panniers:

      Worn with Poscher/pocket hoops:

      At least that what I think.
      (Everybody please feel free to teach me/us about this.)

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