The 18th Century Under-Petticoat is Done!

copyright Daisuke Tomiasu 2003

copyright Daisuke Tomiasu 2003

The light blue, quilted under-petticoat is finished! It went quickly, it’s comfy, it’s warm and I hardly stabbed myself at all (did more hand sewing than I anticipated, but worth every stitch). Twill tape waist ties for front and back. Open, hemmed side slits to access pockets. Some machine work for expediency.

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I think the quilted fabric creates a nice shape and my hips will certainly make their contribution.

I cut the length of quilted fabric in half (selvage to selvage) and sewed each side seam, leaving the top portion open for access to the pockets. Then I turned under each edge of the open side seam and made a reinforcing tack on the inside at the base of the opening to avoid tearing or seam separation due to fabric stress.

Opening in side seam for access to pocket.

Opening in side seam for access to pocket.

I pleated the front and back halves, making sure the regular box pleat was on the front and the inverted box pleat was on the back. I used purchased twill tape to cover the upper raw edge, folding it over like bias tape. (It’s a pretty sloppy job, but this isn’t intended to be a permanent piece of my 18th century wardrobe.) The tape has finished ends to prevent raveling, so I used two full lengths- one on the front and one on the back. There’s plenty of room to tie on each half comfortably.

At this point I tried it on and found that the bulky side seams weren’t letting the sides hang normally – they were straight and stiff-looking. Fortunately, since I’d cut width-wise, each side edge is a selvage edge. So I opened the seam flat – no ironing – pinned and whip-stitched them to the inside knit part of the quilted fabric. That solved the problem perfectly.

I tried it on again and marked the hem, using pins to indicate the fold. Then I trimmed the excess off the bottom and used bias tape to bind the raw hem edge. Then I whip-stitched the edge of the bias binding to the inside like I did on the side seams.

finishing the hem.

Finishing the hem.

2014-10-08 15.46.13At this point it was time to start dressing the dress form. I’m going to use my high-neck Regency chemise, since I don’t have time to make an 18th century version before the event. Layering clothing on the dress form is a bit odd because I don’t have the correct stays. As a result I have to tie everything on to the metal support rods that make a “waistline.” I think I have a workable solution to the problem with the stays, but I need to experiment.

2014-10-08 14.53.51I put the petticoat on the dress form; first the back half which ties in front, and then the front half, which ties in back. Everything looks good and I have plenty of room in the side seams to get at the pockets. As soon as I make them, that is.

Next stop – the short gown.