Jenny La Fleur
petite pannier aka the demon pannier - Jenny La Fleur — LiveJournal
adventures in costuming
petite pannier aka the demon pannier

The demon pannier are finished!! These have been the bane of my existence for over 2 weeks now, oy I’m so glad they are done!

I don’t really like pannier. That is to say I love them on other people and in movies but I don’t love wearing that side hoop silhouette. It just doesn’t make me feel amazing the way layers of petticoats, a 18th century bum roll or a Victorian bustle do. However, with the exception of a few late century American sacques just brought to my attention, all my research says some form of side hoop was ALWAYS worn with the robe a la Française. Annoying but true.

So after inspiring myself with a watch through of Slipper &the Rose and Dangerous Liaisons I decided to suck it up and just go with it. My previous experiments with pocket hoops were frustrating thanks to my waist to hip ratio (Kendra had the same issue, which made me feel SO much better about it!) so rather than mess with making it work I decided to make a full hoop version. 'Cause I lost my mind and thought that would be easier and faster. Riiigghhtt!


I used Simplicity 3635 (now sadly out of print) for the pannier of my Queen of the Night as the pattern is practically the same as the ones in Corsets & Crinolines. As nicely as they worked for a dramatic costume they are a little big for restaurants and crowded rooms so I decided to make a smaller pair for my Française Noir. When Megan visited a few years ago I tried on her adorable ruffled pannier and really liked the scale on me. So I measured them and tucked the notes away in case I ever needed them. I be smart!

Only problem with the Simplicity pattern is that it is a one size fits all affair. I had been hoping that it would be an easy cutting it down to the smallest size but no luck. So I debated whether I should size down the Simplicity pattern or re-size one of the scaled patterns in Period Costume for Stage & Screen or Corsets and Crinolines, - there are very few differences between the three patterns. Eventually I decided to use the Simplicity pattern with the books as reference. Looking back I think it would have all been about the same amount of work. Sizing pannier is a pain no matter what you do!


Then the endless math began as I tried to figure out then reconcile the ratios of the Simplicity pattern vs Megan’s measurements. Finally I had some reasonable numbers and started work sizing the pattern down.


The real problem with pannier is that they are like stays – you don’t know if they work until they are practically finished. So after hours of patterning, cutting, sewing (felled seams - we hates them Precious!) and stuffing in reluctant boning, I finally was able to try them on.


They were a hideous tragedy. *sigh* I suppose I was overly optimistic that I could change the pattern so much and have it right on the first go but really it was a mess that I knew will take me days to re-do and fix. To say I was discouraged is an understatement.


After a few days of pouting and feeling sorry for myself I ripped about 60% of my work out and tweaked it. The big changes were to rework the top yolk and redo the dramatic curve of the boning channels at the side seam and change the top piece of boning from one continuous piece to two separate pieces.</p>


The continuous piece was something Hunnisett did in her book and I found several examples of the method so it wasn’t a crazy idea, but it didn’t work for my boning – too stiff perhaps? It was too bad as the separate pieces required a lot more work. I learned on my QotN pannier than simply running a row of stitching at the bottom of the boning. There is too much strain there and mine ripped out. So this time I reinforced it with a piece of bias tape, which had to be finished by hand. Secure but time consuming - blah!


Good thing I'm very accomplished with a seam ripper!


The finished result if far from perfect (that top yoke is still really funky) but it’s wearable and functional – yay!


I spent another day (that I don’t have *sigh*) creating a deep pleated frill at the bottom, This was a suggestion from Jean Hunnisett, she recommended it to weight down the hoop and make it less likely to swing about wildly. It was so much work (starching, pleating, pining and sewing) but I do love pleating striped fabric and it came out looking spectacular. It also does all the practical things Hunnisett mentioned too which is awesome.


Up next was trying it on with some petticoats on top. I tried my standard ruffled under petticoat hoping I could use that (no go!) then my fullest 18th century petticoat – the Diva petticoat. That gave me a good idea of how many panels of fabric I needed for the Petite Pannier under petticoat and the Noir so that was good. I’m a bit concerned that it’s too small at the very top, maybe I went too conservative with it. But I’m going to wear it to the dinner and see how I feel. I can always adjust it before the next time I wear it if I need to.

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25 comments | comment?
joysdaughter From: joysdaughter Date: March 6th, 2013 07:53 pm (UTC) (link)
I think you've made a great shape! Well done. (If you want it wider at the top, just add a pad - don't go through the stress of altering it. See Hunnisett for a "biscuit pad".)
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 12th, 2013 03:38 pm (UTC) (link)
Thanks so much! Now having worn it I think it is just fine - whew! But thanks for the suggestion, I'll tuck that away in case i need it next time! :>
sarahbellem From: sarahbellem Date: March 6th, 2013 08:34 pm (UTC) (link)
This has nothing to do with the pannier (other than b&w stripey LOVE) but I just thought you should know that of all your lovely gowns, the one I cannot stop wanting to rip off you and run away with is that red print gown.

jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 12th, 2013 03:39 pm (UTC) (link)
Haha! I have to admit it's my favorite of my 18th century things too. Mine! :P
mandie_rw From: mandie_rw Date: March 6th, 2013 10:22 pm (UTC) (link)
Ugh, what a pain! It really gives a nice shape, though! And I love the black & white stripey fabric.
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 12th, 2013 03:40 pm (UTC) (link)
Thanks! It was the fun of the stripes that kept me going. I wouldn't have survived with boring muslin!
bauhausfrau From: bauhausfrau Date: March 6th, 2013 10:24 pm (UTC) (link)
It looks great! And so much fun in that black and white stripe - make a neck frill and a little jacket and you could wear it as is for an 18th C circus look.
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 12th, 2013 03:41 pm (UTC) (link)
Thanks! Oh I'm really excited about the fancy dress options with the pannier - that will happen one of these days!
koshka_the_cat From: koshka_the_cat Date: March 6th, 2013 11:47 pm (UTC) (link)
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 12th, 2013 03:41 pm (UTC) (link)
Whew! So glad that is over and I never have to do it again! :>
sewloud From: sewloud Date: March 7th, 2013 01:37 am (UTC) (link)
I'm sorry it gave you such trouble, but it looks great now! And I look forward to seeing you in it soon :-)
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 12th, 2013 03:42 pm (UTC) (link)
Hey now I never have to do it again - take that demon pannier!
rose_bertin From: rose_bertin Date: March 7th, 2013 04:43 am (UTC) (link)
The ruffle at the bottom looks FANTASTIC!
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 12th, 2013 03:42 pm (UTC) (link)
Thanks! It's was a lot of work but it's my favorite part - so pretty!
s0mmer From: s0mmer Date: March 7th, 2013 07:40 am (UTC) (link)
So nice! What a fun shape, and the hoop skirt seems much easier to live in than pannier. You look lovely in all your gowns, so if this makes you even lovelier, and feel more comfortable, Hooray!
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jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 12th, 2013 03:43 pm (UTC) (link)
Aww... thanks! Glad it was interesting to ya! :>
girliegirl32786 From: girliegirl32786 Date: March 7th, 2013 05:29 pm (UTC) (link)
I'm sorry it was such a pain, but your panier looks fabulous! The pleated ruffle on the bottom is so pretty in the stripe!
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 12th, 2013 03:43 pm (UTC) (link)
I do love that pleated frill. Pain in the butt to do but so pretty!
mlsdesigns From: mlsdesigns Date: March 7th, 2013 05:35 pm (UTC) (link)
I love it :) so glad you persevered, it gives you a very nice shape, and I love the black and white stripes!!
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 12th, 2013 03:44 pm (UTC) (link)
Thanks! Having worn it now I do like the shape, it works really nicely yay!
nuranar From: nuranar Date: March 7th, 2013 07:54 pm (UTC) (link)
Wow, that's amazing! I totally hear you with the proportion mess - the math isn't hard, but when there are several layers of it, it's SO easy to get off. A tiny slip can have a huge impact. You salvaged it beautifully, and it's quite a work of art on its own. The shape it gives is *really* nice. Actually, with a hip pad (or not) it would be pretty good for late 1770s especially, when there was both hip and back emphasis.

BTW, all that said about the math - can I give you a hand with that some time? I'm not a whiz at it like my mother and SIL, but I'm usually pretty good. My mind works that way better. I definitely tend toward the engineering & flat patterning approach to pattern making. We could fire up the Skype and both work on it, checking each others' numbers. Just an offer for the future, if that would ever be helpful. :)
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 12th, 2013 03:46 pm (UTC) (link)
Oh I will definitely remember that offer in the future - Math and I really don't get on so an extra head for figuring would be great. Thanks!!
nuranar From: nuranar Date: March 12th, 2013 04:12 pm (UTC) (link)
Sure thing!
madameberg From: madameberg Date: March 8th, 2013 12:47 pm (UTC) (link)
Oh my soul - why aren't all panniers striped? Beautiful!
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 12th, 2013 03:46 pm (UTC) (link)
Thanks! I completly agree - stripes forever! :>
25 comments | comment?