Finished Project: 18th Century Grand Panier

And my, what a big panier it is!

I purchased the now-out-of-print Simplicity 3635 pattern on eBay a few weeks back.  The package contains patterns for stays, pockets, a chemise, and a full panier, all of which actually look surprisingly spot-on.  It’s a shame this pattern is out of print, but I can see why – it isn’t an easy throw-together for the casual Halloween costumer, though is straightforward for us wacky historical types.

I’m really pleased with the results of this panier.  The pattern was easy to put together, though time consuming.  Mine is made from plain ole cotton, single layer with the boning channels made from self fabric cut on the straight, and turned using a bias tape maker.

I deviated a bit, as always – instead of the drawstring waist, I gathered the top of the panier into a waistband with a buckle closure on the side.  I also added an additional hoop at the hem, and I may go back and add a flounce all around as well.

Simplicity 3635 Grand Panier (please ignore those Regency stays, btw)

My favorite part of this panier, besides its monumental size, is that it is made of zip ties.  Yes, zip ties.  Really huge ones, like, three feet long ones from Home Depot.  The largest hoop at the hem took three of these mega zip ties taped together with duck tape.  Initially I was concerned about collapse, but once the panier had all its hoops, and the interior tapes tied, it became very stable.  Here I have piled two basic 18th c. petticoats on top (obviously they are not made for a panier!), and the panier is just fine.

One flounced petticoat on top – this is the heaviest piece.
A lightweight cotton petticoat for an additional layer.  To fix the issue at the sides, I will need to make a petticoat specifically for the panier.

I most definitely recommend this pattern.  You can find it on eBay and Etsy, and although the price is a little high, in my opinion it is worth it.  You get quite a lot of bang for your buck, and it is an easy introduction to this large structure.


  • Rubina Scarletti

    April 19, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    I agree, it was pretty easy to put together. I never thought of using zip ties! However, I do laugh at the sewing supplies I have bought @ Home Depot. 🙂

    • Lauren Stowell

      April 19, 2013 at 8:46 PM

      Home Depot is splendid! My first hooped petticoat was made out of plumber's piping, the hard, fairly small gauge stuff. It cost $0.30 a foot and worked great. Paint stirring sticks for busks are handy, too. I do love the hardware store ever so 🙂

  • Emily Kate

    April 19, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    Gorgeous! Though it looks harder to drive in than my Victorian hoopskirt… 🙂

    I used those huge zipties for the first pair of stays I made. Worked like a charm–they're stiff as a board, but still have some give. I hadn't thought of using them for something this big, but it's really good to know that they worked well for you! Shortly after my ziptie-stays were completed, I was talking to a lady at an 18th C event. She was telling me about the painstaking method of making wooden boning that she'd learned at a workshop in Williamsburg. When she asked me what I'd used, I was forced to mutter, "uhawholepileofzipties". Ha! The hardware store is the best.

    • Lauren Stowell

      April 20, 2013 at 10:26 PM

      Hahah! I use them for stays as well, in all manner of combinations. I figure…it's not only under all your clothing, its sandwiched between layers of fabric, so what difference could it possibly make, so long as the correct silhouette is achieved?

    • Susie

      May 21, 2022 at 8:01 PM

      When I talked to the tailor at Colonial Williamsburg, he recommended zip ties. I had my first set of stays made with reeds and they cracked, so I have to pull them out and insert zip ties. Whatever works, right?

  • Rachelle

    April 19, 2013 at 10:17 PM

    I'll have to see how big zipties go at my local hardware store, our supplies here in NZ are a little less accessible to DIYers though, I suspect something like that would be a specialist thing. No point trying to purchase the pattern before I have access to supplies; though I suppose I could use irrigation tubing if necessary.

  • Anonymous

    April 19, 2013 at 10:58 PM

    I attempted to make a Civil War hoop skirt using the plumber's tubing, but it kept twisting up and wouldn't create the correct shape. The tubing seemed to be a good diameter, but maybe I got a type that wasn't stiff enough? I never figured out what I was doing wrong & just gave up. I'd like to start again at some point, though.

    • Lauren Stowell

      April 20, 2013 at 10:29 PM

      It seems like the stiffness it key with the tubing. So long as it is hard plastic, it doesn't have to be large diameter. Doubling it through the channel can help, and also, like cane, it wants to curl a certain way, so trying to bend it into shapes against its "will" will lead to problems.

  • Unknown

    April 20, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    I'm glad to see you gathered it into a waist band instead on the drawstring. When I made that decision, I felt like the hoops were just too heavy for a drawstring, even if it is more historically accurate.

    • Lauren Stowell

      April 20, 2013 at 10:29 PM

      I thought the same thing, that the weight would be weird on a drawstring. I was referencing the LACMA pannier and it used a waistband, so that's what I went for 🙂 Works a treat

  • Unknown

    April 20, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    I thought I was the only silly one gathering things from hardware stores, the two corsets I have made are zip ties with rulers for busks haha. Looks great! I was skeptical about that pattern but I will definitely give it a try now.

  • Unknown

    April 21, 2013 at 3:35 AM

    I was lucky enough to buy both the dress and undergarment patterns for this back when they came out, though I just got around to making them last year. I didn't do the panier because I needed something more collapsible for getting into a car and driving myself so I bought a pocket hoop pattern, I ended up taking in the skirt of the dress by quite a bit so I know the panier is huge. The stays are nice and easy and I also made the pockets though ended up not needing them once I got the pocket hoops. Your panier looks fabulous!!
    I tried the duck taping zip ties together thing for a grand bustle I made this year but my try ended up collapsing. Did you butt the ends or overlap them?

    • Lauren Stowell

      April 21, 2013 at 3:48 AM

      Hi Dixie – yes, driving in this thing sounds difficult, as well as traveling on a plane. Pockets hoops all the way for those things. I overlapped the ends of the zip ties, and secured them strongly with the tape, otherwise they end up kinking/splitting. I don't know how the ties will stand the test of time – we'll see.

  • Jenny

    April 24, 2013 at 8:47 PM

    Those are truly impressive! On a side note, the chemise that comes with that pattern is great 😀 Looking forward to the gown that I assume will follow the Panniers!

  • Gina

    June 25, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    Ok…I have this pattern in hopes of someday in the future venturing into this era…with your stamp of approval on it that makes me even more happy!! I can't wait to see your dress!! More inspiration!! Yeah!!

  • Chimene

    July 23, 2013 at 4:59 AM

    Those look fantastic! I bought the pattern some time ago. Gotta love Joann's 10 for ten sales! I always stock up. Glad to know they go together well and are period accurate. The hubby wants to go as a 'Georgian' couple for our annual Halloween Party.

  • Unknown

    May 14, 2016 at 5:25 AM

    Would you be willing to give a quick description of what could be changed for accuracy in this whole ensemble? I'm thinking about making this as my first 18th century project, I've been drooling over the patterns for years since I've had them in my collection, but I don't want to go to the trouble to make it without making whatever changes might help it at least appear as accurate as possible. Thank you!

  • Unknown

    August 22, 2016 at 11:38 AM

    If you make this with a layer of steel boning with nylon boning either side it can be twisted into a figure of eight and folded to fit into your suitcase , vacuum packing helps. As it is still a bit flexible I have found through trial and error that a good trick is to insert a rod such as that used for making Roman blinds into the flat part of each rib both back and front, these can be taken out and popped in when you get to your destination / Venice. Never had a soggy frock since I started to do this.

  • Danielle

    January 2, 2018 at 1:26 AM

    Hi Lauren, not sure if you're still answering comments on this post, but I need some advice! I am wanting to make the Italian gown from your excellent book, and so obviously I need to start with the stays. Would you recommend trying to get my hands on this pattern you reviewed here (you didn't review the stays, however), simplicity 3635, or buying you newer, Outlander inspired undergarments pattern, simplicity 8162, for those stays and using your hacks to make them more historically accurate? Or am I totally barking up the wrong tree in terms of which stays are appropriate for this project?
    I understand you must be very busy but if you have a second I would love your advice. I've been a fan of you for a while and I greatly admire all your work. 🙂

  • Susie

    May 21, 2022 at 8:02 PM

    What width were your zip ties? Amazon has every size available, including 48 inch! Would longer be better? Standard or wider width? Thickness? Help!

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