Dr Sarah Bendall

Senior Lecturer - Gender and Women's History Research Centre

ACU Researcher

Areas of expertise: women and gender history; material culture and dress history; history of the body; beauty cultures; histories of trade and consumption; artisans, guilds and production; early modern world; experimental history and recreative practice

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 research examines the roles of gender in the production, trade and consumption of global commodities and fashionable consumer goods between 1500-1800.

Her current research examines recreative methods in history (experimental history), 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.

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 shortlisted for the Society for Renaissance Studies biannual book prize in 2022 (awarded highly commended). Her second monograph, The Women Who Clothed the Stuart Queens, is currently under contract with Bloomsbury.

She is a co-investigator on the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council's Making Historical Dress Network.

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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, forthcoming 2024)

Journal articles and book chapters

  • Sarah A. Bendall and Catriona Fisk, 'Generating Bodies: Investigating Foundation Garments and the Early Modern Maternal Body through Making', in Embodied Experiences of Making in Early Modern Europe: The Body, Gender, and Material Culture, edited by Sarah A. Bendall and Serena Dyer (Amsterdam University Press, forthcoming 2024)
  • Sarah A. Bendall, 'The Soapmakers and the Queen: The Rhetoric of Maternalism in the "Oil Affairs" of late Sixteenth-Century England', in Queenship and Natural Resource Management in Early Modern Europe, 1400-1800, edited by Susan Broomhall and Clare Davidson (Routledge, forthcoming 2024).
  • Sarah A. Bendall, 'Whalebone and Fashion in Seventeenth-Century England: Changing Consumer Culture, Trade and Innovation', in Everyday Fashion: Interpreting British Clothing Since 1600, edited by Bethan Bide, Jade Halbert and Liz Tregenza (Bloomsbury Academic: 2023).
  • Sarah A. Bendall, 'The Queens' Dressmakers: women's work and the clothing trades in late seventeenth-century London', Women's History Review, 32, 2 (2023): 389-414. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09612025.2022.2136197.
  • Sarah A. Bendall, 'Female Personifications and Masculine Forms: Gender, Armour and Allegory in the Habsburg-Valois Conflicts of sixteenth Century Europe', Gender & History 35, 1 (2023): 42-67
  • 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, 11 (2022). DOI : 10.4000/apparences.3653
  • 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 52, 1-2 (2021): 23-55. 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 Making Historical Dress Network. Arts and Humanities Research Council UK Network grant. Principal investigator Serena Dyer (De Montfort University), 2023-25. The network explores how picking up a needle and thread can enhance our knowledge of the past through recreative methods. The network aims to establish a hub for the international community of academics and practitioners who work on recreation methods in dress history, from costume makers to scholars, and from curators to YouTubers. It provides a forum for the discussion of best practice, terminology, how to capture and communicate tacit knowledge, and showcases work in the field.
  • Indian Silks and Female Retailers: Pasold Research Fund Project Grant, 2023-4. This project seeks to explore what ‘Indian silks’ were, how they were sold and used, and, significantly, how their trade alongside calicoes/chintz facilitated the rise of the female retailers and makers in the late seventeenth century. It considers how economic gains made by women in places such as Britain were made at the expense of increasingly colonised men and women in the ‘East Indies’.

Accolades and awards

  • Research Project Grant awarded by the Pasold Research Fund (2023).
  • Elected as a Fellow, Royal Historical Society UK (2023).
  • Arts and Humanities Council (AHRC) UK Network Grant, Co-Investigator (2023-25)
  • 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)

Appointments and affiliations

  • Fellow, Royal Historical Society (2023- )
  • Victorian Metro Representative, Australian Women's History Network, 2023-
  • Convenor of Melbourne Feminist History Group Seminars, 2021-

Public engagement


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