It’s a thing in the Georgian period too!
I’ve recently started on my next big (physically big), early 18th century project, a Robe Volante. One of the reasons I felt confident to jump right in is because I already had a grand pannier…or so I thought. When I pulled it out of the closet, it had no hoops whatsoever in it! So I set to work re-hooping it, using a mixture of double-steel hoop wire, single flat steel hoop wire, and flat cane.*
As I shoved the hoops into the boning channels to full taughtness, I stepped back and assessed the shape. It looked good…but I remember there being an issue when I first wore this pannier. Here it is:
…LAMPSHADE HOOP. The bane of historical costumers throughout time!
How to solve this? A few ideas/hopes crossed my mind – maybe the petticoat would hold the hem out; maybe interface the petticoat and/or gown hem with organdy; maybe add an organdy ruffle to the pannier. Ultimately, though, none of these were particularly supportable with primary evidence from this period, and so the bigger question…
…”If I’m having this issue now, they must have had this issue back then too. How did they solve it?”
Back to the source material. I took a good long look at all of the panniers and hoops in Patterns of Fashion 5, several which are close in style/design to mine. Here’s what I observed:
– The only hoop that had as severe an angle from waist to hem as mine was the grand pannier worn by Louisa Ulrika (pg 130). This hoop is significantly wider than mine at the top, though, and also longer than mine, making that bottom hoop closer to the floor – less distance for the gown fabric to get sucked under there. This hoop is also made of silk rather than cotton and there is a lightly-pleated silk ruffle/guard covering the bottom hoop.
|Louisa Ulrika’s court hoop – this thing is over 7 feet wide. There is a hoop in the hem which is covered/hidden by the lightly pleated flounce. 1751 – Livrustkammaren|
|Here’s another grand pannier, worn by Sofia Magdalena, 1772. It’s made relatively the same way with that deep flounce covering the fourth hoop, but the silhouette is noticeably different. Livrustkammaren.|
– All of the other hoops, whether sewn into skirts or not, show a much more straight-down-ish angle. There is a flare but it’s nowhere near the degree I had in mine.
|Two grand panneirs from Germanisches Nationalmuseum (link) – these are *bigguns* but even with them being this large you can see the angle from top to hem isn’t as severe as my initial hooping.|
– Many of the hoops in PoF5 are also a lot shorter than mine – knee-length or lower-hip-length. This means the petticoat and gown fabric hang from these points in a more uppy-downy way and aren’t held out by anything other than the body of the fabric.
Luckily it’s easy to adjust hoops to be smaller. I’ve taken about a foot out of the bottom hoop and reduced the second up from the bottom a bit too. You can see from this comparison how much this altered the shape:
|These photos are taken from different angles but you can see the difference in silhouette.|
And it looks like this did the trick with the petticoat, too. There doesn’t appear to be lampshading at the hem:
|Yay! No hard ugly lampshade lines!|
So! When you’re constructing your grand panniers, keep these notes to hand! It’s all in those angles!
*(Make do and mend – just using what I had to hand. In the future I will probably use all double-steel hoop wire with connectors so that the hoop can be easily deconstructed and reassembled for travelling)