Long ago, in the days of last summer, I intended to make a late 1830s dress for Halloween. As part of that, I started this petticoat sometime around August. And then never got around to putting a waistband on it, and it has sat in my closet ever since.
I had a weekend ski trip to go on, and my Kaylee costume is not what you would call a small project. So, I brought this on the trip to do the stroked gathers and attach the waistband, since stroked gathers must be done by hand.
Conveniently, this fits into the February HSM Challenge!
Tucked petticoats were common in period – the tucks added visual interest, as well as a slight bit of stiffness to the petticoat. You can find examples with any number of tucks, from a few to a dozen.
- Petticoat from Corsets and Crinolines
- Another petticoat from Corsets and Crinolines
- Gorgeous example from the Met with a paisley embroidery (clearly I was most inspired by this one regarding number and width of tucks)
- Narrower tucks in a petticoat from the Met
What the item is: A tucked petticoat. This can be used any time from the 1830s to the 1860s depending on the width of the petticoat, and how fashionable your persona is trying to be.
The challenge: Tucks and pleats. I used stroked gathers to get the bulk of the fabric into the waistband. Stroked gathers are basically like mini cartridge pleats, or very finely controlled gathers. They are a pain to do, but look amazing in the end.
Fabric/Materials: 2.5 yards of the combed cotton lawn from Dharma Fabrics. This stuff is so wonderfully light and soft, it will make amazing Edwardian undergarments one day.
Pattern: No real pattern. I vaguely followed the instructions of Making a Tucked Petticoat from Your Wardrobe Unlockd.
Notions: 3 yards of machine-made broderie anglaise.
How historically accurate is it? This definitely passes the would-someone-in-period-recognize it test. When you get up close the lace is obviously machine-made and plasticy, but it’s not bad close up. The real question of period-ness is in the details – was a cotton this fine used for petticoats? How did people in period measure the pleats? I meticulously used a plastic ruler and marked the pleats with a pencil, but maybe Victorian seamstresses were able to eyeball it, so they didn’t leave pencil marks on the skirt.
Hours to complete: Around 6? 4 hours of which was sewing the gathers and attaching them to the waistband.
First worn: Not yet! I’ll make that 1830s dress one day…
Total cost: Around $5 for lace, $12 for fabric.