February was a bad month for me, in terms of getting things done. My parents’ puppy got lost for a week at the beginning of the month, I had some work issues, then they sent me on a business trip… and I had at least two “re-do” attempt projects go completely wrong at the last minute. That happens sometimes. It’s okay, just means I don’t have very much for this challenge. (Posting it at the end of March, after all).
So all I’ve got is a petticoat. Made from another petticoat. Which isn’t that big of a deal, but still technically counts, I do believe.
I’ve been working on an 1869 crinoline that I drafted myself – I’m still refining my “doing it with math” method on all this, but overall, I’m pleased with how it’s turning out. I did need a couple of petticoats for it, and remembered I had an extra, half-finished petti in the UFO pile. Not the most creative re-do in the world, but not so simple, either. It saved me a ton of time with the gathering and hemming, at least!
The Challenge: Re-Make, Re-Use
Material: 7 yards of plain cotton gauze, mostly tied up in a previous-constructed petticoat
Pattern: My yoked petticoat measurement method, self-drafted gore from my 1869 crinoline
Year: 1869 to 1872
Notions: 1/2″ twill tape for ties
How historically accurate is it: Like, 60%? I don’t think they had pettis like this back then, but what can I say? That much cotton gauze does wonders for eradicating hoop lines.
Hours to complete: The re-do? Maybe 4 hours. The total thing? About 8-10.
First worn: A volunteer event in April
Total cost: $0. Everything came from the stash!
The unfinished petti was meant for my 115″ round hoop. I started it last fall, got fed up with my ruffler foot not ruffling properly, and put it away. It’s a basic cotton gauze (the same stuff I used to make Ren Faire outfits out of when I was fifteen). You wouldn’t think it, with as stretchy as this stuff is on the cross-grain, but on the grain, it’s surprisingly stable. Plus it’s lightweight, 100% cotton, and easily available from Jo-Anns, with their always-essential coupons.
I used my Yoked Petticoat method for this, which means the petti is the same length all around, with an equal amount of gathering. While this would work in a pinch for the 1869 crinoline, ideally, that period needs a petticoat that’s flat in the front and more heavily gathered in the back. I decided the best thing to do would be to cut this apart, add a gore to the front for that flatter effect and length to the top back, to accommodate the bustle portion of the hoop.
I draped the petti on my crinoline and adjusted it until it was even all the way around the bottom. I pinned this in place on the crinoline, and then marked the crinoline for later measuring. I measured the front length to determine the length of my gore. I then took the petti base off and cut it down the front seam.
If there’s one thing I hate, it’s raw seams. I wanted to enclose both the new top extender yoke and the front gore seams completely. I also wanted to make sure there was less of a chance of the petti weight pulling at the thin gauze. A double layer front gore and back yoke was called for.
I took my markings on the crinoline (4.5″ at the back, 1.5″ in the front, with a total width of 37″) and cut two triangular pieces to those dimensions. I gathered the top edge of the petti up further with a quick gather stitch, sandwiched it in between the two yoke pieces, pinned, and sewed. I then turned the yokes right side up, pinned, and stitched a half-inch away from the seam on the yoke. This adds a bit of stiffness to the seam, but more importantly, ensures that interior seam is locked down, and won’t be shedding all over the inside of the skirt.
I cut four half-gore panels from a scrap of cotton gauze I had in the scrap box, using the gore pattern from the crinoline itself. I tilted the pattern up a bit, maybe 10 degrees, to add a bit more floof at the front. (You don’t want it straining after all!) One full panel would have sufficed, but I wanted to be able to sandwich (and therefore stabilize) the seams on the stretchier bias. I sewed the half-gores together to form two panels, leaving 11″ at the top for the skirt opening. I narrow-hemmed both and pressed.
Repeating the process for the back extender yoke, I sandwiched the now-cut edge of the previous petti in between the two gores, with the gore seam oriented in. I sewed one side, rolled the petti up, then sewed the other, and then pulled the bulk of the petti out. I sewed down the middle of the gore, along the seam line, and a half-inch in from the side seams there as well.
I cut a narrow, fitted waistband out of a linen scrap (for firmness), gathered the back yoke extender again, and sewed it all together. Add a drawstring, and voila, a finished 1869 petticoat that fits my new crinoline perfectly. Simple, but effective. And now that irritating unfinished, never-to-be-finished 1860 petticoat isn’t cluttering up my project box!
(I might someday do a post on how I drafted the crinoline. It’s not hard, but it involves a lot of math, a lot of steps, and is difficult to explain. It’s basically a regular conical crinoline with a bustle stuck on the back, hence the shape.)