Pocket Hoops

Since I’m planning an 18th century sacque gown, the next undergarment needed is a pair of pocket hoops. I used a variety of different patterns and resources for them, which was nice. They’re so much less complicated than stays!

First, it was a case of drawing out the pattern. Since it was a fairly simple shape, I drew it straight onto the cotton drill I had in my stash using some tailors chalk. As well as the American Duchess Guide to help me, I also had Jean Hunnisett’s book Period Costume for Stage and Screen: Patterns for Women’s Dress 1500-1800, and the The Dreamstress’ Instructions. To be honest, they’re all much of a muchness – there’s not much difference between the patterns. I think I ended up using the American Duchess pattern with the Dreamstress’ instructions, but they’re all really useful resources.

Having cut the pieces out, it was then a case of adding the twill tape along the right lines, and sewing it down. I found it easiest to put the pins along the middle of the tape, so I didn’t have to keep stopping to take them out to avoid sewing over them – I could just take them out at the end. The chalked on numbers are to remind me how long to cut the steel boning for each channel.

Having sewn the channels on, it was then a case of sewing the short edge at the top to the slightly longer edge at the bottom of the below picture. Unfortunately I’ve been most remiss, and failed to take a picture of any of the rest of the processes, which is going to make trying to explain it fun…

Having sewn it into a loop, it was then a case of adding the bottom semicircular pattern piece, which both helps the pocket hoop hold its shape and means that you can use it as a pocket! Then, with the boning added and the ends of the tape finished off so that it couldn’t escape, I pinned in some pleats at the top while it was on Molly (the dressform) so that I could see what it might end up looking like. I think I must have cut and hemmed the slit at the top at some point, but I’ve no idea when.

Once the pleats were pinned, it was then a case of adding a tape all round the top to hold them up. I had run out of tape when I did this, so I ended up using a strip of the cotton I’d used instead. I think I might end up replacing it with tape when I have some more, and then I’ll be able to add some tapes further down to stop them moving around too much.

On to the gown!

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