Monday, December 4, 2017

Great Great Granny Panties: A Pair of 1874 Drawers

Drawers. Drawers are a thing. As a mainly 18th Century costumer, they are a thing that I almost totally forgot about! Thankfully, they are a fairly simple item to make, and didn't change significantly from the 1830s to the 1880s. There's even a surviving pair from 1874.
Drawers, The Met, 1874
Bifurcated garments are an evil forest of weirdness as far as I'm concerned, so I bought a pattern for these. I know, I know, it's a simple garment, but I have so little experience sewing things with legs that I didn't want to chance it.

I ended up buying a copy of the old Simplicity Civil War undies pattern, which has a chemise, drawers, and corset. It's been re-released as #1139, so it's available to pick up at fabric stores!

I had purchased 15 yards of white batiste from Vogue Fabrics to make a bunch of new Victorian undies with, and that is what I used for these.

The only way I varied from the original pattern was with the bottom of the legs. I decided to try and recreate the Met drawers, so I cut the legs 6 inches shorter to account for the lace panel at the bottom.

The lace bit was really the most exciting part of working on this simple project, and the most time consuming. First, I cut out a rectangle of fabric, and I sewed in sets of pintucks at regular intervals.

Then I sewed two pieces of lace to the bottom edge - a flat piece, and a gathered piece.

Then the vertical lace strips were added between the pintuck sets. This was actually two different types of lace - the flat lace down the center, and then gathered lace on either side. In the original, this little lace assemblage actually extended beyond the bottom of the fabric panel and onto the lace below, and the bottom edge was rounded. To copy this, I actually assembled the lace strip separately first.

And then I attached the lace strip to the leg panel, between the pintucked sections.

Once all those strips were attached, I overlocked the top edge of the leg panel, added another strip of lace, and then attached the lower leg panel to the rest of the leg.

It took around six hours per leg to get this fiddly little lace panel assembled and attached!

Once the lace panels were all assembled and attached, the rest was just assembled according to the pattern instructions, and I ended up with a very cute pair of new drawers!

Left: Drawers, The Met, 1874
Right: My recreation. Yes, they are huge.

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