Extremely rare sleeve puffs, circa 1830
This pair of sleeve puffs were partly sewn inside the dress shown in the photographs. They should not have been sewn into the arms because they have ties, but boy, was I glad they were sewn in or they would have been separated! I have looked for sleeve puffs to examine for many years and have never found them. Since I got these, I found a pair sold for $1,100 in the USA! They are functional items, essential in the late 1820-early 30's era, to make the huge dress sleeves stand out large and very, very wide. But they are not pretty! A very similar pair are housed in the V & A Museum, made of the same outer casing. My Blog gives further references and more detail. These puffs are not in the best condition, and the price reflects this. Essential for the underwear collector, I would think.
Please read with care! The puffs have been washed historically, I imagine this was when inside the gown. Although generally clean, there is still gentle age discolouration and one stain more prominent as photographed. This is still not strong. Having been washed, the fine cotton or wool inner fillings are a little lumpy, but I soon discovered that any lumps are quite simple to undo by sitting and kneading them apart! Some of the ties have been re-stitched to the main puffs. One in a different colour, matching the dress!! While one puff is all good, the other has internal small tears to the 'tunnel' for the arm, and one larger area of tearing near the lining edge. There is also minor damage externally. I wonder why just one was damaged? So, practical and not perfect at all, but so, so rare. They are also impossible to photograph, so please forgive the strange images!