18th century pocket hoops
Iconic and easy to make: I'm talking about the famous pocket hoops worn in 18th century!
Beginners or people not involved in historical costuming may find this term strange so let's give some explanation below: pocket hoops were structured undergarments worn in 18th century to support skirts and give volume at sides, as women's fashion of that time asked. They were boned to be supportive and flexible and could be used as small pockets too (as the name suggest); an opening hidden in the skirts allowed the hands to reach the hoops underneath.
Pocket hoops must not be confused with panniers, which were definitely bigger and worn during formal occasions like balls or court events. Pocket hoops were smaller and easier/lighter to wear.
An example of extant panniers:
Hoop petticoat or pannier, English, 1750-80. Plain-woven linen and cane, LACMA.
And pocket hoops:
The difference is really clear :)
Now, let's return to my pocket hoops. I drafted them using Norah Waugh pattern in "Corsets and Crinolines" book without big alterations; the beauty of pocket hoops is they don't need to be custom made because they're fitted to the waist with ribbons! Easy, uh? Mine are in cotton but linen can be used too; the only limited is your imagination, taste or stash!
I boned them with reed for accuracy but also synthetic whalebone or steel boning are good materials to work with. These pocket hoops closes at waist with cotton tapes that run into a casing.
Side slash opening - hand sewn.
Pocket hoops worn with petticoat
They turned out really lovely and are a nice addition to my 18th century closet. My first pair of pocket hoops was awful (they were made from a Simplicity pattern...) and they didn't support the figure even if they were strongly boned and made of linen.
This pair of pocket hoops is listed on my Etsy shop too, give it a visit!