A while ago I purchased some red linen, sure that I could find some historical costuming use for it. When I completed my short gown last year, I realized that I need a petticoat to go under it. When I saw Katherine's lovely petticoat and short gown, the idea for this red pleated petti was born!
My inspiration is a bit sketch - I pulled from a few different sources and tried to common-sense the what I couldn't confirm. I HOPE that this is a reasonably authentic way to put together a high-waisted petticoat for 1790-1800, but I'll need to do more digging to confirm. Some of my sources for inspiration were:
- As mentioned, Katherine's petticoat (which was modeled after a riding habit skirt from Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion).
- This linen petticoat from Nordiska Museet (Sweden).
- This much more frilly muslin petticoat.
- A petticoat that was shown on the Nerdy History Girls' blog - this is obviously a reproduction, and I haven't seen the original. However, I have a good bit of faith in the ladies at the Margaret Hunter shop, so am happy to use it for reference.
- Any number of tutorials on how to make an 18th c. petticoat. (Here is Katherine Caron-Greig's tutorial.)
This was a first for me in the hand-sewing department. It is 100% hand-sewn (usually I cheat and stitch the longer invisible seams with a machine). While this approach meant it took longer than I had expected, it was surprisingly therapeutic. And it was satisfying to see my stitches get straighter and more even the farther along I got. Practice definitely does make perfect!
Because I had very limited yardage of this fabric, I had to do a bit of piecing to get two sizable rectangles for the skirt. You can slightly see the piecing in the photo below of the skirt back.
I made the skirt back wider than the skirt front, to get some extra fullness out of the back. All the seams are flat-felled, so there are zero raw edges visible. That took... pretty much forever. At the side seams, I finished each edge separately to about 9" from the top edge, to form a pocket slit (added to the project list: pockets!)
|Separately finished side seams, to about 9"|
below top edge of the skirt panels.
Because my fabric was so limited, I had just enough to reach from a high waist to the ground, so I added a deep hem facing to finish the edge. I haven't seen this on turn of the century petticoats (mostly because I haven't seen many turn of the century petticoats), but they are evident on petticoats pre-1790, so I am assuming this is a reasonably authentic solution.
|Skirt inside-out - this photo really clearly shows the|
piecing on the skirt!
The waistband construction was simple - I pleated the skirt sections into separate front and back waistband pieces, then folded over the waistband and whipped it down on the inside. The pleating was an adventure... I eyeballed and stitched half of the back waistband in front of a documentary night before last. The next morning I realized my pleating was atrocious!
|I made sure to tidily pin the pleats on the other side...|
|And couldn't resist ripping out the first side and re-pleating it!|
After the waistband was on, it was easy as peas to add the tape ties and linen straps. I put it on my dummy (now named Ruth, in honor of the sad display dummy that lingered around the office at work until she one day mysteriously disappeared) with Kenny's linen shirt, and betook myself to the balcony.
|Front, untied. The straps are the only thing holding it up.|
|Back, untied. I placed the back straps much closer together to|
accommodate the narrow backs on dresses/bodices of the time.
The ties and how they are worn replicate a standard late 18th c. petticoat - ties on the back are pulled forward and tied at the front, and the ties on the front are wrapped all the way around the body and also tied in the front. Both knots are tucked under the waistband for maximum invisibility.
|Back ties pulled up and tied in front.|
|Front ties wrapped around the back, crossing|
over each other to return to the front again.
The final effect is nice and tidy! I especially love the pocket slits - I extended the front waisband a little longer on each side so that the top edge of the slits overlap each other, preventing gapping.
|Pocket slits! They stay closed when hanging.|
Finally, just because I love seeing the guts of costumes, and just in case you might too; the inside-out petticoat. As you can see in the back view, I made the straps a little over-long. Just in case a) I get bigger, or b) I want to lend this out to somebody of different dimensions than myself.
|Front (interior), tied.|
|Back (interior) tied.|
|Front top - you can see the straps are just stitched on with|
a single line of stitching - easy to take out and move around!
|Back top - here you see the longer straps, for adjustability.|
And now, the HSM deets: