V52: 1770s Pannier Experiments – Style 1

In poking around the 1770s it becomes obvious that panniers are the thing to wear.  I’ve never made panniers before – I usually land in the 1780s and 90s, when I visit the 18th century, and so big rumps and super-poof round skirts are my thing, but who doesn’t fancy the look of side-hoops?

I’ve decided to try out a couple different styles of pannier, with the caveat that they *must* pack down for air travel.  That leaves out the grand panniers, the full-length panniers, any that don’t collapse into a standard-sized suitcase.

Here is my first try:

Panniers in “low hoop” position.  Yeah, they’re not even, but this doesn’t seem to effect the overall silhouette once the skirt is on.

These are a rough-n-ready pair, which just means I had no idea what I was doing when I started building them.  They’re a split version of this:

I’m really quite tickled by them for a couple reason – one, they collapse down flat; two, one can be used for a Victorian bustle; three, my favorite, they can be adjusted for “high hoop” or “low hoop,” with a system of ties and hooks I put in on the cross-pieces that hold the “U” shape of each basket.

Ties, and in that cross piece there are sewn a set of 3 hook n’ eyes (not visible, but you can see the stitch lines on either side of the ties)

On the left is the “low hoop” and on the right is the “high hoop.”

<— Low hoop  |  High Hoop —>

These things are springy when there’s nothing resting on them, but with the weight of the petticoats on top, they sit down in a very nice position.

With the whole things dressed – panniers, Ugly Puffer, and petticoat – it looks great.  The finished silhouette here is in “high hoop” position.

I go nowhere without this thing.  Makes all the difference in the world.
All dressed, ready for the gown and petticoat to go on top.  This is “high hoop.”

I’m curious to also try hip pads, but I can’t imagine they’ll pack down in the suitcase any better.  I’d like to see the difference in silhouette, though, so these are my next, far simpler experiment:



  • Skye

    February 21, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    How nice! I would've never thought about making them suitable for travelling! Also the high and low system, very smart. I'm taking notes for when I try to make some myself!

  • Olympe de la Tour D'Auvergne

    February 21, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    I have a set of paniers that is reinforced with embroidery hoop canes, and I adore that I can just pack them down flat. It's really the easiest way.

  • Anonymous

    February 21, 2012 at 10:02 PM

    The pattern in Norah Waugh's book, Corset and Crinolines, is one I've used for the past 30 years. It uses more boning, plastic is fine, it collapses completely flat and really holds its shape. You might want to consider it.

  • Tricia

    February 21, 2012 at 10:40 PM

    I love my panniers, they do collapses for packing, but my favorite thing about them is they are pockets also. I can carry all that I need in them and do not need a purse. The ones you made are very pretty by themselves.
    You have a great eye for design.

  • MrsC (Maryanne)

    February 22, 2012 at 7:14 AM

    They are so cute! You won't get the same volume with hip pads and remember those puppies can get really hot too against your person. 🙂

    • Lauren R

      February 22, 2012 at 9:15 PM

      That's a really good point – hadn't thought about the heat issue with the stuffed hip pads, but now that you mention it…maybe I'll just skip them altogether…

  • Isis

    February 22, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    I use Norah Waugh's pocket hoops too. Nice size and with a bottom you can store a lot in them… 🙂 I need to make a new one now, though- I have completely worn out my current one!

  • Lauren R

    February 22, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    Thank you all, your comments are really helpful. I'm familiar with pockets hoops, and think I'll add a bottom to these, or make version 2, so I can put things in them. The boning config for these I used because it seemed like the shorter hoops were fashioned in this way. The jury is still out on whether it was a good decision or not – I split the designs, but maybe a having it attached at front and back would improve the way they wear? Back to the laboratory!


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