Friday, May 18, 2012

May Regency Project: Petticoat. Part 2. The Skirt.

The petticoat is coming along quite nicely. Yesterday I was able to sew up the skirts and hopefully today or tomorrow can get the bodice done, then it will just be a matter of attach the skirts to the bodice. I am really enjoying the fact I don't have a close deadline for this project. It is so nice to work on something without being in a rush. I never take time to think much about petticoats - I mean, it's just a petticoat, right? - but it was fun thinking of the different ways I could make even a simple project look a little nicer than just being the plain "sew  fabric panels into a tube, hem, and gather to a waistband". 

Before I made the skirts, I did go ahead and trace out my bodice mock up onto paper for the final pattern. I made a few adjustments to the mock up to make it look more like my inspiration bodiced petticoat, below:

I shortened the strap and made a little strap "stub" on both front and back bodice pieces. I also curved in the bottom of the front bodice a tad more, since in the mock up the underbust fit a bit loosely and I wanted a snug fit. I also raised the neckline of the back bodice so that my chemise will not show when the petticoat is being worn. 

To make the skirts, I measured from my underbust to desired hem length (right around ankle length). I added 5" to the measurement for five 1/2" tucks at the hem. I added allowance for a 2" hem and 1/2" for the top seam allowance. I tore two panels of 45" wide fabric to that length and sewed the sides together, forming a tube. I left the selvedge edge as a natural finish. While the skirt was still flat and tubular I did the hem and the tucks. The tucks are meant to add a little body to the skirts, as well as to look pretty if a sheer gown is worn over top. 

The tucks are sewn on the machine but I did decide to do the hem by hand. A hand done hem just lays better, I think:

For the front opening, I found the center of one of the panels and cut a short slit into the top of the skirt and hemmed it all around:

The finished hem circumference is just under 90". I was afraid of this being too narrow but with the tucks, the bottom part of the skirt is quite stiff and stands out away from my legs. Come to think of it, the petticoat I made last year was also made with two panels of 45" fabric and I had no problems wearing that. The gown that will be worn over the petticoat will, however, be quite a lot more full. 

Next up is cutting out the bodice from the linen. I think I will cut two layers and sew them up separately, then press under the seam allowance at the armscyes, neckline and front opening and match the edges of both layers together and stitch through all layers at the edge to secure them to each other. 



  1. I'm tempted to embroider the bits of the petticoat that might show when I make mine. Still planning on sewing as much as possible by hand.
    Still haven't decided if my final dress will be short or longsleeved. But thinking of going for autumnal colours rust, orange, yellows and browns.

  2. I love tucks, and tucked petticoats. Pretty, pretty....


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!