Pantalettes: Construction

Figure 1.--

HBc at this time has limited information on these garments, including the comstruction. Much of our information comes from available images with kust shows the hem of the garment. HBC has received some inquiries about pantalettes that we cannot answer at this time. One reader writes, "We are re-creating a child's Oneida pantalette outfit for a fourth-grade hands-on program. The women's Oneida pantalettes were modeled after the children's clothing. The pantalettes were two tubes of fabric, matching a short dress, which tied on above the knee or buttoned to the "underdrawers". We have a few examples of outfits in our collections which show button holes at the top of the pantalettes, and even "drawers" in the form of two tubes which perhaps buttoned under the pantalettes on cold days. However, I can't find any "underdrawers" with buttons, and I'm not sure if the drawers would be a chemise-like or a slip-like garment. I would like to get our recreation as accurate as possible. The Oneida reform dress was an important symbol and a very practical aspect of the community's alternative lifestyle."

The children's clothing at Oneida did not differ greatly from what children outside Oneida wore--if fact, in my book I argue that the adult women's Oneida Reform Dress is based on children's dress. Drawers were so named because they were drawn on. If you have two tubes that are plain, these are also pantalettes--the garment that attached to the drawers (or underdrawers) were all called pantalettes regardless of the fabric or trim. Pantalettes for children often simply tied above and around the knee. At Oneida, at least with the adult women's garments (I don't recall seeing any children's garments when I was there) the pantalettes did indeed button to the drawers. If you are skilled enough to pattern the dresses, the drawers will be no problem for you. They are shaped pretty much like trousers, however, the crotch seam is often left unstitched (there are two theories about this: one, it was easier for women to urinate/defecate without having to lift bulky skirts and lower drawers; two, the unstitched seam made the drawers different from men's trousers at a time when women were not supposed to wear any type of bifurcated garment). The waistline is usually finished with a drawstring. [Gayle V. Fischer, Salem State U. in Massachusetts]

I can't think of any patterns, but you should probably check out the following books that might help you:

Janet Arnold, _Patterns of Fashion: Englishwomen's Dresses and Their Construction, c. 1660-1860_ (New York: Drama Book, 1964)

Janet Arnold, _Patterns of Fashion: Englishwomen's Dresses and Their Construction, c. 1860-1940_ (New York: Drama Book, 1966)

Phillis Cunnington and Anne Buck, _Children's Costume in England: From the Fourteenth to the End of the Nineteenth Century_ (London: Adams&Charles Black, 1978)

Elizabeth Ewing, _History of Children's Costume_ (London: B. T. Batsford, 1977)

Elizabeth Ewing, _Underwear: A History_ (New York: Theatre Arts Books, 1972)

Rosemary Hawthorne, _Oh ... Knickers! A Brief History of "Unmentionables"_ (London: Bachman & turner, 1985)

Christopher Wagner

Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main pantalette page]
[Return to the Main dress page]
[Return to the Main tunic page]
[Return to the Main kilt page]
[Return to the Main Fauntleroy page]
[Return to the Main skeleton suit page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Bibliographies] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Contributions] [Countries] [FAQs]
[Boys' Clothing Home]

Created: May 11, 2001
Last updated: May 11, 2001