Regency Pantalettes

1800-1830 Pantalettes pattern from The Mantua Maker

1800-1830 Pantalettes pattern from The Mantua Maker

The Victorian Undergarments class is working on Victorian drawers this week. I decided to pass, since I already have one pair of Victorian drawers I made, 2 pair of antique drawers that I wear, 1 pair of antique drawers I just bought for $5 (they have 2 holes that need mending, otherwise perfect) and the pair of Edwardian drawers I just finished for the Historical Sew Fortnightly.

However, HSF Challenge #4 is Under It All:

  • Make the foundations of your outfit: the things that go under it to provide the right shape and support, and to protect your fancy outer garments from sweat and grime

I don’t have my Regency wardrobe together yet, but when I do I will indeed be wanting something under it all, so I’m whipping up a pair of Regency pantalettes.

I’m using The Mantua Maker’s pattern – easy to make and excellent instructions. For fabric I went into my embroidered sheet stash and chose a high-quality 100% cotton sheet with a wide, pre-applied band of cotton-thread eyelet embroidery that – if you squint – could almost plausibly pass for crude broiderie-anglaise. Not 100% accurate, but for a whopping $3 from Goodwill the price can’t be beat. Plus, I’m dog- and house-sitting for a friend, which leaves me relegated to hand sewing for the weekend and that’s what I had on hand for a quick grab-and-go project.

The pattern is a historically-accurate two-leg pair of pantalettes. Each leg is independent of the other. A ribbon threads through the top and the legs tie on at the waist separately.

The finished pantalettes, as made and sold on Etsy by Historika.

Finished Mantua Maker pattern pantalettes, as made and sold on Etsy by Historika.

This is what made it possible for a lady to loose one leg – if the tie came undone the leg would simply slip to the ground. The poor, unhappy wearer would then be faced with one of two humiliating options: stop and bend over to retrieve the fallen leg (no true gentleman would ever touch a woman’s undergarments) or keep on walking and simply leave the fallen leg behind.

You can also see a seam at the upper portion of each leg. This piecing allows the “business” upper par of the leg to be made of a sturdy fabric, while the lower part of the leg can be of a more delicate fabric, such as lace or dimity.

I don’t want to sit on a seam or have a seam running around my thigh  – no added bulk needed there, thank you very much – so I cut each leg as a single piece.

And I don’t want two pieces of ribbon tied around my waist, so I’ve decided to place the legs on a single length of grosgrain ribbon and let the chips – or pantalettes – fall where they may.

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5 thoughts on “Regency Pantalettes

    • I love it and happily give credit where credit is due. The more I try “the others” the more I appreciate the pattern designers who go out of their way to explain and make the instructions clear. Those Edwardian drawers just about did me in!

  1. Gorgeous. I might need a pair, too. And they gave me an idea: One could also scale them down a bit, to fit a little girl. Because those were exactly what Regency-era girls wore under their calf-length dresses. 🙂

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