Monday, September 13, 2010

Those poufy sleeves 1825-35

Monday, September 13, 2010
Loretta reports:

I’ve grown to love the puffy sleeves of the 1820s and 1830s, and their numerous names.  We find gigot and imbecile and Béret sleeves and sleeves à l’Amadis, à la  Donna Maria, à la Marino Falliéro, à la Sultane, à la Montespan, à la Caroline.

When you have stopped laughing, you might ask yourself how they managed the poufiness.  Did the sleeves actually pouf as much as it seems in the pictures or are the artists taking artistic license?  If the sleeves were as gigantic as they appear, how was this accomplished?

But maybe you’re not puzzled.  Maybe you read my blog about the Green family estate auction, and noticed my remarks about the rare 1820s sleeves puffs (pictured above left).

I also learned that the sleeves might be lined with stiffened fabric, though I'm not clear on how this worked, exactly.

But now you may be wondering other things, like OMG, how could they stand to have padding (or stiffened fabric) in their sleeves?  Indeed, the inconveniences of these sleeves is pointed out several times in the course of Last Night's Scandal, sometimes by my very fashionable heroine.  I figure, they just suffered to be beautiful.

But another question is, How did those puff things work--were they sewn in or what?

I opened my trusty volume of Fashion in Detail 1730-1930 by Nancy Bradfield, with its meticulously detailed drawings.  And there, on page 156, I found what I was looking for.  “The tape ties inside the armhole are for securing the huge sleeve puffs, used 1825-1835.”  Several other pages in the book show undergarments, including the sleeve puffs.  Among these is a sketch of a figure from the Gallery of English Costume, Manchester, (U.K.) which rang a bell.  In Blanche Payne’s History of Costume there’s a photograph of a woman wearing this typical underwear of 1825-1835.  Her sleeve puffs are filled with down.  I tried without success to find a link to the photo online.  If you know what I'm talking about and have a link, please share!


Chris Woodyard said...

I couldn't get my copy of Payne to scan well, but I have linked to a jpg of a color photo from The Undercover Story (Kyoto Fashion Institute exhibit catalog 1983), p. 51. The chemise is listed as English 1820s-30s and the corset as corded white cotton American c. 1835, but the puffs are not specified.
(I'm not sure these links will click, so please paste the links into your browser)

I am also attaching a link to am image from the same catalog, page 16, but with no caption or attribution.

There is also an amusing satirical image by "Paul Pry" "New Machine for Winding up the Ladies" c. 1828, but on point for the look. This was found in Inside Out: A Brief History of Underwear.

Chris Woodyard said...

This from the Tasha Tudor historic Costume Collection Whitaker-Augusta Auction catalog, 2007, p.73

The sleeves are lined with "cane-inset muslin" (there's a detail photo). It looks painful!

Tasha Tudor had many dresses that were auctioned with these kinds of sleeves, but no puffs were auctioned.

Jenny Girl said...

Early ancestors of prom gowns and some wedding gowns from the 1980s. At least in my neck of the woods. This is why I am not a fashionable gal.

LorettaChase said...

Chris, thank you so much! These are excellent images. Special thanks for the "cane-inset muslin" photo--it looks like Ouch! to me. Jenny, you have reminded me--yes, that was a look. Didn't the late Princess of Wales have a big-sleeves wedding gown?

Anonymous said...

I've come to love the romantic era fashions, not all of them admittedly, but the simpler designs.

I found an image of a corset with the puffs, if it's helpful:

Audra said...

This was a fabulous entry -- I esp enjoy all the images! I do love the dramatic poofiness!

Two Nerdy History Girls. Design by Pocket