Saturday, December 3, 2016

Mid 19th Century Quilted Petticoat

I am SO glad that this is done! After Thanksgiving we all came down with a terrible cold thing. Or maybe a flu thing. It was bad. The kids bounced back after a day or two but I'm still sniffling and shuffling my way through gloomy, coldish, grey days and battling a wearisome round of fever and chills.

So. My goal was to finish the petticoat by November 30th since my first goal of getting it done by Thanksgiving wasn't accomplished. I pushed myself and got most of it done but I still had a bit of finishing to do that wasn't able to be completed til December 1st. I wanted to wear it last night to a Christmas festivity but I didn't go since I was sick.

I love this petticoat. It's warm and cozy and light and fluffy. Like wearing a comforting blanket wrapped around you all the time. Which, at this point, I need. It's made of two widths of a striped fabric I've had since before Anne was born. I am not totally sure of the fiber content. I originally thought it was a nice cotton but after quilting it for so long I really believe there is some silk content as well. It handles like silk and has that distinctive whooshy sound when you quilt that you only get from silk.

It's lined with plain white and grey striped cotton (I think I have had a thing for stripes lately. . .) and interlined with cotton batting. I quilted it on many evenings in front of the tv watching Walker, Texas Ranger (which is Malachi's new favorite tv show that he simply must watch every night from 7 to 8).

I made a short yoke to gather the lower skirt at the hip. I didn't want a ton of bulk in the waistband so this seemed like a good idea. Then the top of the yoke was gathered into waistband. The yoke isn't lined, so the seam between the lower skirt and yoke is finished with a strip of scrap fabric. The outside of the seam has a decorative band of bias cut self fabric.

The total width is about 120" and I'm happy with that. I thought it might be a bit too wide but I think it's just about right at this length. If it were shorter, I may have made it a little narrower. The hem falls at lower calf which is probably on the long side for quilted petticoats but hey, my lower legs need to stay warm, too!

I'm fitting this into the HSF "Red" challenge because the stripes on the skirt are a darkish pinkish red color. And in case that wasn't enough to bump it into a red category I used a bright red cotton for the inside seam finish. So! There ya go.

HSF info:

What the Item Is:

Mid-19th century style quilted petticoat.

The Challenge:



Outer fabric, cotton batting, cotton lining.


My own, but all rectangles!


Meant for use for Civil War reenacting but could theoretically work for 1830-1865 as the skirt silhouette is similar.



How Historically Accurate Is It?

Fairly so. The only thing I'm not sure of is the yoke - it was a last minute idea to add it and I didn't look for an original example with a yoke. :(

Hours to Complete:

Tooooooo many. There are 18 rows of quilting and each row took about an hour to do. Then the finishing work was at least 4 hours. And cutting the darn thing out and sewing the layers together before quilting took about 2.

First Worn:

Not yet; just for pictures. Hopefully I'll get a chance to wear it in a historical setting very soon!

Total Cost:

All stash stuff. If I bought new of everything I guess it would be around $40 or so.



  1. Oh how I LOVE this quilted petticoat Sarah! (If ever you tire of it, I shall send you my address....) The fabric is so wonderful and stripey! Stripes and plaids have taken my fancy lately and the fact that this is also lined with stripes? Be still my beating heart! It is fabulous!!!

    ps...I think I need to start watching Walker, Texan Ranger Grandad loved it and I miss his so!

    1. I used to watch it when I was a little girl and it brings back many memories for me, too!

  2. I'm so glad you made one of these, as it seems almost nobody does. It fills in a hole in our representation of them back then. ^.^

    Also it *does* look beautiful, and like a warm blanket around your legs. Just seeing that feels cozy. And it's pretty cool that it may have silk, as so many of the extant quilted petticoats are silk (from what I gather).

  3. It's beautiful! I love stripes too, and quilted petticoats are lovely things - I sometimes wear mine under my everyday skirts on especially shivery days :)

  4. It looks great! Perfect for snuggling up on a sofa in when you're feeling under the weather - just add a blanket around your shoulders for extra snuggliness. I hope you're all feeling 100% soon!


  5. The skirt is great! All the work has paid off! I really like it very much!


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!