Vintage Tap Pants/French Knickers

vintage tap pants french knickers

vintage tap pants french knickers vintage tap pants french knickers vintage tap pants french knickers

Just a super quick post today as I wanted to show off some new lingerie, or should I say old?!
If you’ve ever read my personal blog before, you might know that Charley and I (along with our respective other halves) visit the Peak District every so often to stay in a cottage belonging to Frankie’s family. This weekend, Frankie was asked to turn off the water/turn on the heating to stop the pipes from freezing, so invited us to go down with them for a quick overnight stay. And of course, our favourite thing to do there is to visit Bakewell and our absolute favourite vintage shop, Mister Bee Vintage – see here for a few of our snaps a couple of years ago, and here for his website.
I should start with a little backstory first – another backstory actually, aside from the one above! When we wrote the Black Friday post on here, Charley and I both fell head over heels in love with Harlow & Fox’s Almond French Knickers – if either of our funds had been a bit more willing at the time, we would have had these arriving in the post immediately, but sadly, it was not to be. Instead, I turned to the world of the internet and the sewing machine, trying to find a pattern that would make something similar to them. And of course, Charley then gave me the BEST Christmas present ever – a packet of custom labels to attach to my memade makes, and a vintage pattern for a pair of French knickers! Only one catch though, they’re a good few sizes too big – that’s the thing with vintage patterns, you can’t exactly choose a size!
BUT, of course we had to had to visit our favourite vintage shop while we were in the Peak District, despite the fact that we were there less than 24 hours…you know where this is going, right? We’d only last been in October, so we still recognised a few of the items that were out for sale, but something caught my eye in amongst the small clothing rail. Could it actually be a pair of French knickers, vintage French knickers, with the dipped V front and buttons on the side?! As you can guess by now, yes, yes it was. Charley will tell you that I almost cried upon seeing them, so we immediately grabbed them off the rail and jumped behind the curtain to try them on.
There was a moment of fear where I wasn’t sure they would go over my hips, but it turns out that they don’t have just one button at the side, but two – one on each side! Once we’d figured that bit out, they finally went over my hips and buttoned to the perfect size on my waist – amazing! I mean, I was still considering them as a collector’s piece had they not fit me. They were only £20, and Mister Bee always gives us a discount too, so I ended up with a dress, these tap pants and a set of cocktail glasses for £50 when the total should have come to over £60.
I’m not sure of the era of these, but generally tap pants and French knickers (I’m not sure of the difference between them – anyone know?) were popular in the 1920s and 1930s. I’m not sure they’re that old (but they could be, who knows!), but the label is a vintage Etam one. As I said, they have a button on either side and the trim along the leg edges is baby blue, highlighting the delicate peach silk of the rest of the fabric, with a strip of thin ribbon like material between. But the thing I love best about these, and the part I was looking for with every pair or pattern I’ve come across online, is the V design with the fabric cut on the bias which gives it that different “shimmer” across the top as well as giving a much better fit.
They’re in excellent condition – from what I can tell, they had never been worn. There’s only some very slight discolouration at the top from what looks like damage from sunlight, so that’s hardly an issue.
My plan now is to use the pattern Charley bought me for Christmas alongside these as a template (don’t worry, I’ll be using them as an outline, not taking them apart – never!) to create a similar pair that will fit me – fingers crossed it all goes well!
We often get people asking us where they can buy things we feature on the blog, or something similar if that’s not available – sadly, you won’t be likely to find this exact pair anywhere, but here are some similar or inspired by designs like these that are currently available:

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