Well, if you don't know anything about sleeve puffs, this is the time when you will finally KNOW that I am completely obsessed with costume!
They are simple and tough, undyed cotton calico. They are certainly not pretty. They have been 'well used' by the lady who owned them in circa 1830, and they are the first I have ever examined. I am beyond thrilled to have examined them! [But they are not easy to photograph!]
C1830 sleeve puffs held at the V & A Museum: collections.vam.ac.uk/
Almost identical to the one's held by the V & A Museum [see their 'Collections - Sleeve Puffs'], this very practical pair of puffs are huge. I found them inside the c1830 dress I sold recently, partly sewn to the tops of her sleeves. I could see that the puffs have ties, so they should not have been sewn in and I carefully removed them from the dress.
These vast sleeves did not support themselves, they depended upon inner sleeves puffs that would form an essential part of every lady's underwear in the 1825-35 period, and around 1830, they would be at their largest, the sleeves being so wide. See the dress they came from at the foot of the page.
My sleeve puffs are amazing wide and really quite heavy, despite being filled with cotton fibres. They must have been so tricky to wear!
The Kyoto Institute shows us sleeves puffs of slightly earlier years, being worn with a corded petticoat [I also have one of these to sell in my Ebay shop, but the petticoat is later in date] See Volume 1 of 'Fashion - A History from the 18th to the 20th Century' [full reference in The Study].
The sleeve puffs shown here would have been worn with the earlier, 1820's, smaller puffed sleeves.
Other great sources of sleeve puff photographs are:
Sleeves puffs are so very difficult to find. It was so lucky for me that they were concealed inside a dress or they would have been removed as important garments in their own right.
I can only find two sales of sleeve puffs in the last few years. First, in a Kerry Taylor auction in 2013. Second, at the USA site of 'Ruby Lane', where a pair sold for $1100. Mine will not be so expensive!!!!!!!!!
The dress that hid the sleeve puffs circa 180 years!
Thank you for reading - find the sleeve puffs in my shop soon!