All the Fluff | 1840's Petticoats


There are a lot of reasons why I really like my 1840's dress, but one of my absolute favorite parts is the petticoats. The fashions of the time were to have a large, full skirt but this was before the invention of the crinoline hoop skirt (which came in the 1850's), which meant lots and lots of petticoats.

I ended up using 10 yards of 60" wide cotton that I purchased at the LA Garment District while I was at Costume College in July. 10 yards was enough for 1 corded petticoat, 2 petticoats and just enough scraps left over to make the mock up of the bodice for the dress.

The patterns for my petticoats were really simple; just two square pieces 60" x 43". I wanted the end circumference of the petticoats to be approximately 120" and I cut the length at 43" to have plenty of room for a nice wide hem (I think I ended up with 5") and several rows of 1/2" pin tucks.

Underneath all of the petticoats I made a small bustle pad as well (which was popular for the era). Pretty simple, but it took me a few tries to get just the right size I wanted.

My corded petticoat. I had originally planned to do several more rows closer to the top, but I decided I didn't need to but it was still a little too long, which is why there's a random pin tuck at the top.

For the cording, I used white cotton yarn that I picked up at Joann's. I ended up buying more than I actually needed, but in the future I would try to get a thicker cording. Since this was my first time making (or wearing) a corded petticoat I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but it really adds a lot of shape/volume.

Petticoat #2. Pretty simple, with lots of gathers, 3 rows of pin tucks, and a drawstring waistband.

You can still see some of my pen markings, as I hadn't washed them out at the time of taking these pictures.

And petticoat #3. This one is a few inches longer then the one beneath. I opted out of any pin tucks on this one, mostly because I was getting too lazy to add them.

On a side note, I still have to starch these petticoats. I haven't gotten around to it yet since they need to hang dry and the weather has been rainy lately.

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  1. Ha! Just catching up on some of these posts I've never read. I'm totally with you on the tucks, it's pretty often that I'll plan for 3 or 4, then get tired and only do 2 or 3 and cut the extra length off.

    On the starching, I actually hung my petticoats on our shower bar. There was an awful lot of dripping that happened, and it made our patio really slippery. Then made the bathroom slippery too.