Thursday, March 15, 2012

I Finished the Hooped Petticoat. . .

and I'm not sure that I really like it. Sigh. It works, but as Anne of Green Gables said of the plain dresses Marilla made for her, lamenting the lack of puff sleeves, it's just not. . .not pretty.

My steels came in early this week and David, who has been home the past fortnight recovering from a tonsillectomy, helped me clip them to the right length to make my 90" hoop. I had to reuse one length of steel from my old cage since 12 yards wasn't *quite* enough to do the five rows of steel required. I put the old steel in the top casing.

I feel like, well, like I am wearing a tire suspended from my skirts. It is odd since I have always worn a hoop that has even support from the hips downward. Now there is no support at all until just about the knee and there is a flat cylinder shape for about 10". It isn't a wrong shape but just one I am not used to at all.

With a bum pad and a few petticoats I suppose it looks okay. It is consistent with skirt shapes of the period which is, ultimately, all that matters. And it's small and manageable and I feel like I can move in it. And it is very, very lightweight. I think for what I intended it to be, a working class, active impression hoop, it will perform admirably.

Here you can see the hoop "in action" under a plain cotton dress. Forgive the ill fit of this particular dress. I have lost some weight since I made it and yet gained in bosom circumference due to the Child in the Womb so the fit is awkward to say the least. And for some reason I made this dress *really* short waisted. The waistband sits about two inches above the waistband of the hoop and petticoats! But you can get an idea of what the hoop looks like under a dress skirt. I think with a properly fitted dress that has the waist down at the correct height the skirt will look much more domey than triangular. And I really want to make a new corset. While I love this one since it is so comfortable, it really accentuates the shape and size of the bosom instead of compressing it. And it gives a lower bustline than I'd like. I don't think it is as neat and tidy in appearance as one that would more visually diminish the size of the bosom. I think I will make a new one after Baby arrives, later this summer.

Now I must decide if I really want to use this hoop as a base for the lovely green and blue plaid wool I have been dying to make up. I suppose I could just always make the skirts of the dress with a large turnover at the top so when I do make a new, more fashionable hoop for my better dresses I can reset the skirts to fit the new hoop.



  1. I think the dress is actually quite pretty.
    It makes the stories in folk songs of 'maidens' disguising the fact they are carrying a child more plausible when you see the clothes that would have been worn.

  2. Thanks! I like the style of the dress, and the color, but just not the fit. :P And yes, it is so easy to disguise a pregnancy in styles like these. I've gone to 1860's events attired in similar clothing with all my pregnancies and unless I told someone I was pregnant, they never guessed I was. It is definitely an era when the styles made it easy to get away with sporting a baby bump.

  3. And it looks lovely!!! You're so pretty :D

  4. Well I think your dress IS pretty, especially on you!

  5. I don't mean to comment out of line, but it looks a bit to me as if the very top hoop is just a smidge too large. Would shrinking it help, do you think? I've made corded petticoats with all the stiffening at the bottom before, but those can bend in on themselves when they're too big. I think the steel might need to be graduated.

    Also, possibly of interest to you, I've put a bunch of pictures of 19th century maternity dresses here:
    (I hope the link works. It's a bit dodgy sometimes.)

  6. I've been wondering... If you're wearing a hooped petticoat AND a bum pad, which of these goes first? I mean, is the bum pad under the hoops?


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!