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Author Topic: Split Drawers and the Dreaded Thigh Chafe  (Read 7169 times)
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BarbaraSmith
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« on: October 23, 2006, 12:57:23 PM »

I admit it - I eschew drawers in favor of nice little "spankx" style nether garments. What ARE they called? Demi-Girdles? Anyway, you know what I mean. The little nylon control style long-line panties that are basically the control top to a pair of pantyhose, sans the hose. Oprah wears them and loves to talk about them on TV. I was wearing them WAY before Oprah, but nobody cares... :-))))

And my reason is - THIGH CHAFE! I suffer horribly from it. PARTICULARLY when I'm sweating under 30 pounds of Period Clothes.

Now, I'm just certain Liz has created the Perfectly Period Fix for this problem, and I'm dying to know what it is. Don't tell me my ancestors didn't Chafe! I've seen pix of my Great Aunt Mildred, and she looks pretty CHAPPED to me! :-))))

LOL,
B. in Tacoma
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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2006, 03:28:54 PM »

Barb, I'd love to know where you purchased the bladder stamina to allow the use of anything but split drawers. Smiley

With split drawers, you can tailor the crutch depth to allow a bit of bagginess (don't want double wedgies!), but to keep the thighs covered with fabric.  Working a flat-felled inseam (felled to the outside!) also reduces any chafing.  The drawers are cut wide in the hip, so they'll overlap nicely at the opening, but can be easily twitched out of the way when needed. 

One way to make sure your drawers are long enough, but not toooo long, is to make up a pair with about 3" more crutch length then you think you need.  Make them out of ugly old sheets--these are just a test version.  Slip one leg on, and tuck them under a thin elastic string tied around your waist.  Now you can pull, adjust, and arrange the front and back depth to suit, making sure the inner thigh is nicely covered.  When things are sitting nicely (and, do a test sit before deciding this!), use a marker to draw along that elastic band. 

When you open the drawers up, you'll have a ragged, jagged waist edge line.  Smooth it out into a nice slope (or bumpy curve, depending on the figure).  This gives you a customized waist/hip/crutch length with enough fullness to sit comfortably, and enough depth to keep your inner legs covered.

Me, I was cured from spandex bike short dealies during a Fort Stevens event... I backed into a portalet, concentrating so hard on maneuvering the waist out from under my corset that I didn't notice the "artwork" someone had painted on the inside of the portalet with human waste, until it was far, far too late.  I burned the entire outfit.  It was dreadful farb, so no big loss. Smiley  With split drawers, there's no maneuvering.  Just take a nice wide stance, sit straight down, and Bob's Yer Uncle.  MUCH nicer, and I've never been caught unawares again!

Now, another perfectly period thing to do is skip drawers altogether, and use some talcum powder to keep things nice and glidey.  Before the re-advent of the hoop mid-50s, drawers are really, really optional.  Even after the cage, drawers are optional--if a woman is wearing a nice knee-length chemise, and a calf-length "personal petticoat", then skirt supports, it's going to take far more than a stiff breeze to expose anything.  So, that's viable, and I've done that, too.  It took some getting used to, but was pretty comfortable with the talc added.  (Note--this applies only to adult women, and teens who are in their final transitional stages to adult clothing--it's more typical for younger teens to wear drawers.)

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Elizabeth
Anna Worden Bauersmith
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« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2006, 04:18:52 AM »

How about the knee area?

Until I found a pair of drawers that I am now copying, I had a great deal of trouble with the knee area. The original pair I am copying are a little later and a bit shorter, ending at the bend of the knee with a flarred ruffle covering the knee. These work for me nicely but are quite right.

The problem I had before seems to be the knee but may be just a symptom of something else. If I cut the leg width where it seemed right, I would have trouble when I would sit on a low seat or bent at the knees. I would instantly rip along the inseam. I thought it was the thigh and knee area. So, I widened the area. This made the drawers way to balloony. Very uncomfortable. As soon as I shorted to the copied pair I stopped having the problem. I know I have large knees and ample thighs. But, I can't be the only one who has had this problem.

Anna Worden
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« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2006, 05:34:02 AM »

I've not had that problem myself--it does indeed sound like a wearing ease issue at the knee area (my own knees, calves, and ankles/feet are the bits of me that stay trim when the rest of me gets stout, which means in modern clothes I look like I have little fake legs sticking out the bottom of my skirts... I prefer period styles!).

Now, we all know I'm one of those dreaded hardcore clothing "nazi" types.  I am! (I just don't choose to waylay folks unawares at events, that's all.)  I've not seen a diagram or instance of drawers from the 1855-1865 era that ends at the knee bend and has a frill from there to mid-calf.  That doesn't mean they *never* happened, only that I've not yet seen anything like that.  Drawers do get shorter in the years post-war, and continue to get shorter as time goes by (which is why we can now find thong undies... I don't think drawers can get any shorter than those...)

So, two thoughts:

If they're working for you, even with a *slightly* post-war style, I'm sure not the undie police, and anyone who's close enough to inspect your underdrawers either needs to have his name on the marriage certificate next to yours, or else get a good wallop upside the head.

Did you try measuring comfortably around your lower thigh/knee *while sitting*, adding 2-3", and increasing the drawers that much?  Not a tremendous change, just enough for your actual body dimensions when sitting, plus a bit of ease, so it shouldn't get toooo baggy when standing.

Oooooh... David just handed me a wonderful cuppa Jo....sephine.  There's far too much vanilla cream and sugar to qualify as a cuppa Joe.  It's my birthday caffienne. Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2006, 06:27:56 AM »

Happy Birthday!
(folks check out the nice calander at the top)

The drawers I have copied are post war. I am not sure by how much though. It could be quite a bit. I don't know when open drawers stopped.  The ruffle is only 2 or 3 inches long covering just the knee. As comfortable as they are, they are still technically to short for the period.

I want to find a period solution just for my own peace of mind. Nobody sees my drawers unless we have to get dressed in the same room/tent. No men to wallop or to marry.

It's been a few years since I have made my drawers (made 5 pairs in the post-war style) so I don't remember what I tried. When I am sitting I get 16 inches just above the knee. When standing it's only 12 inches. (I could be off because I only have a ruler in my computer lab.) Because of my ligament damage in my right knee I have a muscle on the inside of my knee which sort-of bulges out. My left knee doesn't do that. I will try to redraft a pair with that in mind.

(okay list - adjust bodice, shorten corset back, check corset waist position, draft new drawers, finish Grandma's quilts.... doable.)

EDIT I decided to go looking at pictures of different drawers to figure out when split drawers may have stopped. I found a pair that are similar in length to mine without out the ruffle http://www.heritagestudio.com/u13det.jpg This is the 5th one down on this page listed as c. 1850 -1860 (may be wrong) http://www.heritagestudio.com/under.htm  My waist band is not pointed though. There is a nice pair above that as well. http://www.heritagestudio.com/u19det.jpg   

This pair may be just a bit longer than mine are without counting the ruffle http://www.mfa.org/collections/search_art.asp?recview=true&id=51559&coll_keywords=drawers&coll_package=0&coll_start=91 (Labeled mid 1800s)
Compared to these which are shorter than mine http://www.mfa.org/collections/search_art.asp?recview=true&id=48572&coll_keywords=drawers&coll_package=0&coll_start=21 (1878) This gives me the thought that they may be between 1860 and 1878. Everything after this point at MFA gets much, much shorter.

The actual page this is on isn’t worth looking at but the image is http://fabrics.net/colpics/Jan01/peteerson1863drawers.jpg
They look longer than what I have and shorter than others. It does note a frill can be added.

The two at the bottom of this page are about what I see elsewherer (both longer than mine) http://www.museopiraino.it/intimo/mutande.htm

http://www.mfa.org/collections/search_art.asp?recview=true&id=50063&coll_keywords=drawers&coll_package=0&coll_start=131

I love the edge of these. http://www.mfa.org/collections/search_art.asp?recview=true&id=50069&coll_keywords=drawers&coll_package=0&coll_start=131 They don’t look open though?


Anna Worden
« Last Edit: October 24, 2006, 07:16:31 AM by Anna Worden » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2006, 07:21:55 AM »

Snort!  Know that you are not alone in loooooong project lists. LOL

Measure at home with a soft tape (or, cut a piece of paper into strips, tape 'em together, wrap 'em round your thigh and find the overlap point, mark it, then measure on that ruler, if you can't wait for home...) and test a pair drawn up for that amount of ease.  Accomodating knee damage is important!
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BarbaraSmith
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« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2006, 04:23:39 PM »

Thank you so much Ms. Liz! Very helpful suggestions. And as for the knee bend problem Anna is having, I'm there too. The only drawers I made pulled so bad at the knee I wore them once, and then consigned them to the laundry line. I think I ended up selling them to some poor fool. Not an ESC pattern, I assure you.

I then owned a pair of vintage drawers, which I'm now suspecting must be later 19thC, as they were very nicely voluminous in the knee area and had scads of lace. :-)))) Loved those! Had the very period experience of going shopping after a parade, while dressed, and felt a slithering down my ankles and lifted my hoops to see my lovely drawers in a puddle on the floor. I scooped them up, stuffed them into my pocket and marched out of there. Sigh...

I've been saving the nice lace to make a cap. :-)))))))))))))

As for talcum and other remedies, it's been a few pounds since I tried going sans any nether garment. I may have to 'speriment. And you're right, it does take some bladder control to wear all these undies. If I lost the weight, I wouldn't need undies or talcum. Gee, think that might happen?

VERY BIG SNORT!
B.
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« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2006, 07:17:07 PM »

I'm 'blessed' with Reubenesque legs. It took many attempts before I realized that it was mandatory to take circumference measurements (waist, hip, thigh, knee, calf) while seated, then add ease. When you have lots of 'fluff', it spreads when you sit down. I also found I was more comfortable when I made my drawers a little longer, ending at the fullest part of my calf.

Even with well-fitting drawers, chafing can still be an issue. One of the major manufacturers of feminine products recently brought out an anti-chafing cream that works very well.

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« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2006, 07:40:46 PM »

I do think that mega-chafing is a situation where modern health gets to trump period accuracy... Smiley  That, and spongy gel soles in my period shoes when I'm teaching....

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BarbaraSmith
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« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2006, 11:54:26 AM »

Ooo!!! CarolAnn, I was about to ask that question. I've been meaning to try that.  There's also a new thing out that is even LESS than the "cut off panty hose panties" that I've been wearing. They sell it on the fat lady fashion sites. It's just the THIGHS. You slip those on and they say you're good to go. I've contemplated those, as well.

Thanks for the suggestions of measuring while seated. Makes PERFECT sense. Perhaps we'll have a drawer-making-fest at Fort Nisqually. We've started a monthly Sewing Guild and are searching for topics that would interest folks. We could all measure each other for drawers and chemises. What a riot that would be!!!  Grin

And I always wear insoles in ALL of my period shoes 100% of the time. I like the Birkenstock "sport" insole. Lots of squish, seems to not hold smells so badly, and a nice arch support.  Cheesy

I'm also contemplating cutting down a pair of the Payless Shoes "Airwalk" brand knock of "Crocs" and sewing a pair of mocassins around them for my Metis impression.  Cheesy

Cheers,
B.
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« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2006, 05:30:08 AM »


I did some more measurements last night for redrafting a new set of drawers. I am not going to change the top part which fits nice. The knee measurements were funny though. I did loose measurements. My left knee standing is 15, 17 sitting. Compare that to the right knee which is 16 standing and 20 to 21 sitting. My former physical therapist would surely have things to say. I think I may end up drafting 2 completely different legs.

(didn’t want to start a separate thread for this – I did the length adjustment for the back of my corset. It worked nicely. Much better. Thank you.)
Anna Worden

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« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2006, 05:33:41 AM »

There's no real reason you *can't* draft two entirely different legs, if you don't care for one knee to feel baggier than the other. 

Of course, you'll have to pay more attention that I generally do, because you won't be able to just leave one leg inside out like I have in the past (made two identical legs, rather than mirror images... oops!  Did it on ALL THREE PAIR, too.  LOL)

Great news on the corset!
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BarbaraSmith
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« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2006, 08:03:37 AM »

 Grin  Grin  Grin

I feel so much better about my sewing skills reading that the GREAT ELIZABETH sewed not one, not two, but three pairs of drawers with identical legs instead of mirror images!!!  Grin

I'm famous of the identical instead of mirror mishaps. My dear and much smaller friend now has a lovely black velvet mantle after my identical instead of mirror cutting of what I had planned to be a lovely "ball" cloak!

It always pays to cultivate smaller friends. They are so greatful for your sewing mistakes.  Grin

LOL,
B.
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« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2006, 08:31:48 AM »

After getting the first right, I was actually picturing myself making multiple pair with two left or two right legs.

Good idea to just leave one inside out.

Anna Worden
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Anna Worden Bauersmith
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Straw & Winter Millinery - Available on Etsy
Fanciful Utility: Victorian Sewing Cases & Needle-books
From Field to Fashion: The Straw Bonnet
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