What on earth are pantettes, you might wonder!!! When I found my old school Needlework Sampler Book, inside, I found the one and only pattern I have ever drafted. In my head, I'd always remembered drafting bloomers, but on seeing the pattern, on the outside, written in my best handwriting, were the words Pantette Pattern.
I don't ever remember even hearing the word pantette. Why had I thought, for all these years, that we'd drafted bloomers? I was intrigued! What was the difference between bloomers and pantettes? Whatever pantettes were, I do remember being told we were going to be making what we thought were HUGE underpants... something our grandmothers might wear; not us!!!
|The Australian Women's Weekly, 19th May, 1971 ~ National Library of Australia|
And they must have been huge, because the cottontails we were wearing ourselves were pretty big. I don't remember at what point mini cottontails became available, but I do remember wearing the cottontails on the left; the ones with the bulky leg bands. They don't look particularly comfortable, do they, but in reality, I don't remember. There was no other choice at the time, so you didn't think about it.
In a short space of time, women's and girls underwear became markedly smaller, so by the time we were in our teens we had discarded cottontails and replaced them with bikini underwear.
Back to pantettes. What were the garments like that Mrs Club envisaged we would be making? Off to Google to do some research...
A 1940s slip and pantettes pattern...
It's a bit hard to read, but it looks like the fabric comes with the pantettes pattern...
|Australian Women's Weekly ~ 5th August, 1945 ~ National Library of Australia|
|Australian Women's Weekly ~ 6th June, 1945 ~ National Library of Australia|
Ad for a pantettes pattern...
|The Land Newspaper, 26th October, 1951 ~ National Library of Australia|
After my research, I'm still not totally sure of the distinction between bloomers and pantettes. All I know is, they were big, baggy and not something I wanted to wear. Thankfully, we didn't ever have to sew from our drafted pattern. Why on earth didn't we get to draft something practical like a skirt? Now that would have been useful.
Just for a bit of fun, I thought I'd sew up my old self drafted pattern.
Ha ha, they're not wide enough to fit me now, but look at the length. They're way more than large enough, from crotch to waist, to fit me now. Even if I'd use elastic or added a band to the bottom of the legs, still huge. There's NO way I would have worn those as a young girl!!!
What was Mrs Club thinking? That our undergarments should look like this? I always thought that she was old, but as a child, adults always look old, so who knows. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt, assume she was quite old and therefore from a different era, where young girls were attired this way. Ha ha.. thank goodness my Mum didn't dress us in these!!!