Dr Sarah Bendall

Research Fellow - Gender and Women’s History Research Centre

ACU Researcher

Areas of expertise: women and gender history; material culture and dress; early modern world; histories of trade and consumption; artisans, guilds and manufacturing; experimental history; seventeenth-century studies; marine and maritime humanities 

HDR supervisor accreditation status: Provisional

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-6078-4244

Phone: +61 03 9953 3213

Email: Sarah.Bendall@acu.edu.au

Location: ACU Melbourne Campus

Sarah A. Bendall is a Research Fellow at the Gender and Women’s History Research Centre in the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences. She is a material culture historian whose work specialises in the roles of gender in the production, trade and consumption of global commodities and fashionable consumer goods between 1500-1800.

She is the author of several journal articles on gender and early modern dress, on the early modern fashion trades and on experimental history approaches. Sarah has been awarded fellowships from The Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford, the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Powerhouse Museum. During her doctoral research she was a visiting research student at Kings College London. Prior to joining ACU, she held postdoctoral and lecturing positions at the University of Western Australia, the University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne.

Her first book, Shaping Femininity: Foundation Garments, the Body, and Women in Early Modern England, was published by Bloomsbury in 2021 and was awarded highly commended in the Society for Renaissance Studies biannual book prize in 2022. Her second monograph, The Women Who Clothed the Stuart Queens, is also under contract with Bloomsbury. 

She is co-investigator on the UK AHRC-funded Making Historical Dress: Hands, Bodies and Methods Network. Her current research examines experimental history approaches, the roles of women in the clothing trades during the seventeenth century, and the widespread use of whaling products in fashion between the years 1500-1800.

She is currently co-supervising projects on historicism in eighteenth and nineteenth-century fancy dress and dress and cultural exchange on the Victorian Goldfields.

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Select publications


  • Sarah A. Bendall, Shaping Femininity: Foundation Garments, the Body, and Women in Early Modern England (Bloomsbury Academic/Visual Arts, 2021)
  • Sarah A Bendall, The Women Who Clothed the Stuart Queens: Gender and Work in the Royal Wardrobe and the Fashion Marketplace (Bloomsbury Academic/Visual Arts, under contract)

Edited books

  • Sarah A. Bendall and Serena Dyer, eds., Embodied Experiences of Making in Early Modern Europe: The Body, Gender, and Material Culture (Amsterdam University Press, under contract)

Journal articles

  • Sarah A. Bendall, ‘Whalebone and Fashion in Seventeenth-Century England: Changing Consumer Culture, Trade and Innovation’, in Everyday Fashion, edited by Bethan Bide, Jade Halbert and Liz Tregenza (Bloomsbury Academic: forthcoming 2023).
  • Sarah A. Bendall, ‘The Queens’ Dressmakers: women’s work and the clothing trades in late seventeenth-century London’, Women's History Review (2022), DOI: 10.1080/09612025.2022.2136197
  • Sarah A. Bendall, ‘Whalebone and the Wardrobe of Elizabeth I: Whaling and the Construction of Aristocratic Fashions in Sixteenth-Century Europe’, Apparence(s): Histoire et Culture du Paraître, Special Issue: Animal Fashions edited by Ariane Fennetaux and Gabriele Mentges (2022). DOI: 10.4000/apparences.3653
  • Sarah A. Bendall, ‘Female Personifications and Masculine Forms: Gender, Armour and Allegory in the Habsburg-Valois Conflicts of sixteenth-Century Europe’, Gender & History (2022). DOI: 10.1111/1468-0424.12592.
  • Sarah A. Bendall, ‘Adorning Masculinities? The Commissioning and Wearing of Hat Badges during the Habsburg-Valois Italian Wars’, Sixteenth Century Journal, 52, 3 (2021): 539-570.
  • Sarah A. Bendall, ‘Women’s Dress and the Demise of the Tailoring Monopoly: Farthingale-makers, Body-makers, and the Changing Textile Marketplace in Seventeenth-Century London’, Textile History (2021). DOI: 1080/00404969.2021.1913470.
  • Sarah A. Bendall, ‘The case of the “french vardinggale”: A Methodological Approach to Reconstructing and Understanding Ephemeral Garments’, in Fashion Theory, Special Issue on ‘The Making Turn’, edited by Peter McNeil and Melissa Bellanta, 23, 3 (2019): 363-399. DOI: 10.1080/1362704X.2019.1603862.
  • Sarah A. Bendall, ‘“Take Measure of your Wide and Flaunting Garments”: The Farthingale, Gender and the Consumption of Space in Elizabethan and Jacobean England’, Renaissance Studies, 33, 5 (2019): 712-737. DOI: 10.1111/rest.12537.
  • Sarah Anne Bendall, ‘To Write a Distick upon It: Busks and the Language of Courtship and Sexual Desire in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century England’, Gender & History, 26, 2, (2014): 199–222. DOI: 10.1111/1468-0424.12066.


  • The Women who Clothed the Stuart Queens. This book project uncovers the lives and work of the women who made, sold, managed and cared for the clothing of five Stuart queens in England between the years 1603 and 1714.
  • Making Historical Dress: Hands, bodies and methods. Arts and Humanities Research Council UK Network grant. With lead investigator Serena Dyer (De Montfort University), 2023-24.  The Network unites established and emerging scholars of dress history with practitioners in the worlds of costume production, curation and conservation, as well as the social media community of historical costumers, to provide a forum for the discussion and establishment of a shared fundamental rubric for experimental dress history and enable participants to establish field-defining best practice. 
  • From Whale to Wardrobe: This project examines the widespread use of whaling products such as baleen in dress and decorative arts between the years 1500-1800 to explore the complex historical relationship between fashion, gender, global trade and the environment.
  • Making and Embodiment in Early Modern Europe. Edited book with Serena Dyer. This project explores how processes of making, experimenting, experiencing, and reconstructing allow us to recover historical experiences of making and illuminate early modern assumptions and understandings around gender, the body, manual labour, and material life.

Accolades and awards

  • Arts and Humanities Council (AHRC) UK Network Grant, Co-Investigator (2023-24)
  • Shaping Femininity awarded Highly Commended, Society for Renaissance Studies UK Biannual Book Prize (2022)
  • MAAS Visiting Research Fellow at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney (2022)
  • Publication Grant awarded by the Pasold Research Fund (2020)
  • McKenzie Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, The University of Melbourne (2020)
  • University of Sydney, Dean’s Unit of Study Commendation (2020)
  • H2020 Marie Curie Sklodowska Curie Actions-IF-2018 Seal of Excellence (2019)
  • Society for the Study of Early Modern Women (SSEMW) Margaret Hannay Visiting Fellow at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington D.C. (2018)
  • David Walker Memorial Visiting Fellow in Early Modern History at The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, UK. (2018)
  • Research Project Grant awarded by the Pasold Research Fund (2018)

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