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HomeArticlesLingerieVintage & 20th CenturyHow to Make 1920s Circular Drawers

How to Make 1920s Circular Drawers

icon-smJennifer guides us through the process of making a pair of 1922 circular open drawers, or tap pants, as some people call them, from period instructions.

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kay_tomlinson@msn.com  
  Really enjoyed this. Think I'll try a pair myself soon!  
 
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purplepincushion  
  Glad you enjoyed it! Hope you have as much fun making these as I did!  
 
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caroline  
  These are great! I have always had a thing for tap pants. And by the way, I totally love your machine... But truly funny, I used to work in a lingerie store and when someone would ask for the "peek a boo" pants (couldn't even call them split crotch, heaven forbid lol) we were like, oh dear, one of *those* gals... But the smaller the normal undies, no prob! Too funny how things change over time. Especially since I have some closed mid victorian drawers and those (apparently - as in someone told me this) were closed for sporty endeavors, just in case they might show (falling during ice skating, etc)... Maybe it was worse back then to have closed pants because you were assuming they might make an appearance... That's just guessing, of course :)  
 
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purplepincushion  
  From the little bit of reading I did on the history, it seems the early closed drawers were quite frowned upon. Underwear has a fascinating history, that is for sure!  
 
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naath  
  Heh, yes. I guess there's an element of "no-one should be seeing these who you wouldn't allow to see you naked anyway" perhaps also a notion that it is more "hygenic" to get fresh air "down there" than not?

But on a purely practical front if you are wearing your drawers under your corset (which you should, because you want your chemise under your corset because washing corsets is much harder than washing chemises) then closed-crotch drawers are a pain in the bum to manage when you go to the loo (especially under all those layers of petticoats and skirts).
 
 
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purplepincushion  
  Yes, these are some of the exact reason for the open drawers. And women were still wearing some pretty complex layers of undergarments judging from the collection in Ms. Conover's lesson.  
 
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sara  
  Naath and Jenifer, ditto on the open drawers. Things that can at first seem looney,may actually have sound positive factors to recommend them. My first "exposure" (ha!) to open drawers long ago had me wondering "WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?!?!?!" A little more experience over time gave me the gift of greater humility in the face of sure genius. Open drawers would only theoretically be a problem if one was wearing pants, which women just didn't do very often until quite recently in the long history of fashion. Even if a corset wasn't being worn, the bathroom was simply easier to navigate with open drawers rather than closed ones. Waistband could stay in place; skirts didn't have to be extensively rearranged, etc. The arrangements for capturing menstrual flow of the times was usually suspended from a belt, so didn't require a closed bottom for the velcro of a pad to adhere. Must continue in a second posting. Sorry.  
 
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sara  
  Second part... On a different topic related to open drawers. I have traveled quite a bit and even spent an entire year in a country where the "toilette a la Turq" was the standard and the "Toilette a la France" was an extreme rarity. Missing my flush toilet, I could never seem to get the knack of using the hole in the ground or elephant ear toilet so common in the East. One day i had a light bulb go off in my head. OPEN DRAWERS!!! Putting the best of the West (open drawers) with the best of the East (better functioning toilets) it was a marriage made in heaven. No longer was I trying to slide underpants down, then remove one leg and pulling the cloth out of the way so as not to "miss" and have wet underwear. Open drawers saved time and dignity. I love them. Don't wear them with jeans, but with dresses - absolutely.  
 
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lynnevv  
  Love the photo of your Pfaff! I had the same model and loved it.
Great tutorial-thanks.
Just wondering if open drawers would have actually been more
practical when the toilet was seperate from the house?
 
 
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bookwyrm  
  Oh man! Speaking of your machine, I grew up on the same model! I've got my gran's Singer (from when she got married!) right now, but someday I'll have both.


On the article, awesome! I've always wanted to do some tap pants, and though they look simple to draft up I just somehow never got around to it. Thank you for exploring the draft with us.
 
 

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Cathy Hay British costume artist Cathy Hay is the creator and publisher of both Foundations Revealed and the award-winning Your Wardrobe Unlock'd, which were borne out of a grand wish to help...

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