Exhibition curator Tracey Wedge with the flour sack knickers.
A pair of knickers made from flour bags is one of the more unusual items on display in an exhibition aptly titled Textiles Down Under, at the Kauri Museum in Matakohe.
The knickers are a replica of what were commonly worn by women when times were tough.
Exhibition curator Tracey Wedge says the museum’s textile collection contains a wide range of underwear worn by men, women and children of the old Otamatea district, from the 1870s to the 1950s.
This includes corsets, bustles, camisoles, petticoats, silk French knickers, drawers, camiknickers, long johns, chemises, bras, stockings and other intimate garments.
One of the oldest items is a hand-stitched cotton chemise, which is over 150 years old. It was donated to the museum by a Mrs Clarke in the 1980s.
“The exhibition features articles from the collection that show the utility, and the beauty, of early undergarments and the changes over time,” Tracey says.
“The pioneers of the 1860s who migrated from Europe were confronted with a very different climate and terrain to what they were used to. What was fashionable in Europe was impractical in the Kaipara bush, and crinolines were quickly discarded! If not handmade, underwear was often bought from catalogues or stores in Auckland, although men’s singlets could be purchased from the store in Matakohe.”
The exhibition Textiles Down Under will run until June 8. It will be followed later in the year with an exhibition of hats and gloves.