Saturday, March 30, 2013

Simplicity's Panniers (or, make your own tent)

Simplicity 3635 is the companion undergarment pattern for the robe à la Française dress. Just a warning: they are big. If you plan to maneuver through tight spaces, these may not be the support structure you are looking for. While they are flexible, they are also wide.

Taken in front of my closet: the panniers
are almost blocking both of the folding doors.

The dress form doesn't hold the panniers up as well as actual human hips. I do have a goal to become a better costume photographer. But posts without photos aren't ideal for a visual learner like me.

TIME: This project took me approximately 10 hours. I wasn't expecting it to take so long, but as I got into it, I decided to finish my seams. I cannot explain what made me think this was a good idea. But it certainly added to my overall time total.

Gaze upon my not so lovely finished seams.
And know it was madness that I suffered.

ALTERATIONS: I couldn't find any 1/2 inch wide boning that the pattern called for. If anyone knows where to get some, please let me know. I used 7/16" wide hoop boning from Corset Making. It was what I could find and it worked, but I *think* the 1/2 inch stuff would have worked better (it might be what has caused the scrunching around the boning). Originally I had planned to make it so I could remove the bones for washing (if something can get stained, I will stain it). But at the draping party, we discovered that the bones were slipping on one hip, which made the hem line 2 inches higher on one side than the other. NOT GOOD. I went back and sealed the seams shut, and will most likely just hand wash this in the tub if it needs it.

It seems to me that you should plan a way to trim over where the bottom bone is on your fashion petticoat. It may have been that my fashion fabric was very thin, but the bone line was slightly visible (at least to me) until I placed my trim on. Something like that drives me a little bonkers.

EASE OF INSTRUCTIONS: I don't have any notes written down of steps that caused me any real trouble. The pieces are pretty basic shapes, which helps. Laying the casing for the boning was a bit of an event, but lots of pins and markings make it possible.

STORAGE IDEA: These things are big. And my space is limited. So a plan to store this garment was necessary. I saw a photo of someone who uses these as a lamp shade (when not being worn) which was pretty neat, but not possible for me. My solution was to get a long garment bag (not the suit ones, they're too short), and store the collapsed panniers in the bag. Now they're only as wide as the bag allows. And no opening unexpectedly.


  1. Really enjoying your blog, which I discovered through American Duchess. Your work is such an inspiration and gives me hope that one day I will sew like you. Keep up the great work.

  2. Thank you so much for the kind words! I really believe that with a lot of patience and practice we can all make those dream projects. I've only been sewing for two years now, and I can see the difference in my work. The sewer I was then would be impressed with what I'm doing now. But I feel like I have so much more to learn and ways to get better. If I can do these projects, anyone can!