Friday, 6 July 2012

Late 1820s to c.1835 Romantic Era Sleeve Puffs

Last night I tried all of my underpinnings on for the late 1820s day dress project, to see how things looked, and to take the measurements. Thankfully all was well, and looked great. That done, my mind turned to thoughts for the dress. I do want sleeve puffs, or sleeve supports, as the sleeves I plan to make will be fairly large at the top, and then will form into a more fitted sleeve from the elbow down, much like these examples:

British 1825-30 Victoria & Albert Museum

(I may tone them down a bit from the size here.) Just look at the vibrancy of this printed cotton:
British 1825-30 Victoria & Albert Museum

LOVE that cuff detail and the buttons!! Here is the second dress/sleeve example:

British about 1828 Victoria & Albert Museum

And the gorgeous fabric close-up:

British about 1828 Victoria & Albert Museum
My lovely flowery green fabric will be perfect, I think. Right, so back to sleeve supports. Here are some examples of various shape and size:

c.1830s Metropolitan Museum of Art
1825-35 Manchester City Galleries (from the book 'Fabric of Society' 1983) 

c.1830 LACMA
*And here are some close ups of sleeve supports for this era:

1828-33 Manchester City Art Galleries UK
c.1830 MFA, Boston
c.1830 Victoria & Albert Museum
Thank goodness for online collections!! Some sleeves actually had the supports sewn directly inside them (some with wiring and net), which would mean doing that for each dress, which seems a lot of work. Surely it would be much easier to have these above, which were basted/tacked in, or tied to the stays somehow. Some of the detachable ones were made with baleen or wiring (see the first example).

I wish mine to be much softer, and a little more discreet; suitable for the late 1820s. I am sure that the size depended also upon your social status and position. For some reason my heart always goes out to the working women, maybe the lower middle classes (Jane Austen and Jane Eyre spring to mind here). I want to know what real women wore, and how they lived; not those in grand estates.  So when making dresses I try to aim for that station in life, rather than the nobility or upper classes, who would have been at the height of fashion.

Materials- I plan to make mine fairly simply; from a firm cotton, and stuffed with English wool. Down feathers were most often used for this purpose, but wool is fine by me.

Right, I am off to start playing around with patterns, and hope to have them completed over the weekend.  I hope everyone has a good one!