Wednesday, May 16, 2012

May Regency Project: Petticoat. Part 1. Draping.

It always comes back to draping as the first thing I need to do for any project. I really wanted to use my 1780's gown pattern, slightly altered, for the bodiced petticoat but I was too lazy to dig through the drawers of patterns to find what I needed. I trace all my patterns off onto brown paper and although I label them, it takes f.o.r.e.v.e.r. to unfold each brown paper pattern piece and look at it to see what exactly it is and to eventually, hopefully, find what I am looking for.

So I decided to just drape a new pattern. I put it off for most of the day since I didn't want to actually go to the trouble of putting my stays on. (did I say I was lazy?) But I did at last and a half hour later ended up with this:

It is based on the 1798-1800 bodiced petticoat in Costume in Detail. The bodice is very simple, having a very short bodice, low neckline and shoulder straps. My version came out a bit wider in the straps and lower in the back but that will be easy to fix.
There are some wrinkles at the back here, but I think that is because this mock up fabric has ZERO stretch. In the linen I think the wrinkles will just melt away. Hope so anyway. 

I washed the fabric yesterday, both linen and lightweight cotton. I am thinking I will go with the linen for the bodice (since linen is highly moldable and will be ideal for a very fitted bodice) and the lighter cotton for the actual petticoat. I think some tucks in the petti would also be good to put in, to add some stiffness at the hem to prevent petticoat-leg-wrap.

What I like about the original petticoat is that it opens in the front with hooks and eyes. I was kind of panicking since I couldn't remember if I had ever seen an original petticoat (or illustration of one) that had a front opening. I was so glad I remembered this one! A front opening is almost necessary for breastfeeding.

Now with the pattern done the actual sewing shouldn't take long at all. I hope to have an update by the end of the week!



  1. It looks wonderful! I can't wait to see the whole thing! :) I thought about doing the challenge, but by the time I got serious about it was alittle late to enter and I wasn't sure if I'd be be able to get my item done each month. I'm thinking I might do it anyway just not technically...I've never made any regency things after all and I've been itching to lately...

  2. I always find it so hard to get hold of the right kind of linen fabric and and a reasonable price. So I make everything from cotton and polycotton.
    Is that how long your petticoat will be? I'm not sure how long to make mine.

  3. Looks great! Can't wait to see the finished project.

  4. Brooke, definitely! Even if you aren't "officially" joined (and I bet you could still get in if you wanted to) it would be so fun to see what you make. I know you would do wonderfully with this era. And it doesn't have to be one project per month, it can be part time with one project every two months.

    Lady D, the finished petti will be about ankle length. Just a tad shorter than the skirts of the gown. So probably just above the top of my foot when I'm standing (forgot to measure that measurement yesterday, darn it! Now I have to put everything back on to measure for it). I will probably make it of two 45" widths of cotton so it will end up being a bit shy of 90" in circumference. I am thinking that is a tiny bit too narrow though so may add a skinny panel of fabric to make it wider - maybe 110" or so.

  5. Lady D, forgot to add about the linen:

    I get mine from For you overseas though I bet shipping would be high. Otherwise linen can be really expensive. : / But for little fitted bodices, it is possible to get small quantities of nice linen at thrift stores by looking for skirts, long dresses, etc. that are made of linen. You can remove the dye with RIT dye remover and redye it any color you want, or just leave it the color it originally is. I really prefer linen for fitted things (if it is documentable to the period) because it is SO DARN EASY to fit things nicely with linen. Cotton is not as, I don't know, how shall I describe it, conforming to the body. I was going to make the skirts of linen as well but it was a little too heavy for that. So the cotton works better, and was a lot cheaper too.

  6. Thanks for the info...I'm currently working on my stays (using modern stretchy top as a temporary chemise.) A petticoat is next on my list.
    I'm surprised by how people moved with so many layers...although in the UK in the time before central heating probably glad of the warmth.


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!