Tuesday, February 27, 2018

An Early Victorian Under-Petticoat

I made this a few weeks ago for the HSM challenge for February. I need to post about it before the month is over! Thankfully there isn't a lot to say about it. It's a petticoat. ;)

This particular one is made to be worn beneath all other skirt supports. It goes on over the chemise, drawers and corset and is narrow and short. Mine is about 80" at the hem and goes to mid calf length. Since it's tucked it doesn't easily get caught between my legs when I walk. I am so glad I finally made one of these!

These are also called "modesty petticoats" in the 1860's reenacting circle but that term is a present-day one, not one that is documented to be used in period. When wearing cages or hoop skirts a little petticoat worn under the hoop does help prevent flashing your undermost undies but since I wear my chemise untucked I've never had a huge need for this petticoat for modesty reasons alone.

But an underpettioat used sensibly to help keep the much bigger skirt supporting petticoats from folding between your legs is so enormously helpful. In the past I've used modern full pleated or gathered to a waistband skirts as an under petti when needed but it was high time to make a proper one! So this months challenge to create something to wear under your historic attire was perfect for this project.

I used a big flat cotton sheet for my petticoat so the construction was very simple, especially as I used the hem on the sheet for the hem of the petticoat! I sewed the panel into a big tube and sewed tucks til I decided it looked good enough. I hemmed a little placket in the seam at the back, hand gathered the waist and whipped it to the waistband and made a buttonhole and sewed on a button. It only took a few hours and I am very happy with my finished project!

The details:

The Challenge: Under
What the item is: A short, narrow under-petticoat, sometimes called a "modest petticoat" in reenacting circles.
Material: Thrifted cotton sheet, scrap of cotton for waistband.
Pattern: Based on rectangular construction, no pattern needed.
Year: Can work for 1840's-mid 1860's
Notions: Button
How historically accurate is it? The pattern, construction and look are correct for the period though there are a few things not so accurate. These are:
1. The petticoat is made from a sheet using a full width of fabric, therefore it has only one seam instead of several seams and narrower fabric widths.
2. The sheet has a woven-in subtle stripe. Have not seen an original with a woven stripe on white fabric like this.
3. I used the existing sheet hem for the petticoat hem. While the sewing is pretty, I am fairly sure the thread content of the hem isn't 100% natural fiber. But, it saved me a lot of work so I kept it.
Hours to complete: Less than 3. This was a super quick project! Sew a tube, run some tucks, gather to a waistband.
First worn: Not yet, but will wear this will all my 1860's living history events this year!
Total cost: The sheet was about $3 from the thrift store a few months ago. Can't get much cheaper than that!

1 comment:

  1. Hello,

    I have put on my site, a lot off old french sewing patterns and magazines.



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