HSM #6: It’s Beginning to Look at Lot Like…a Petticoat!

The first bit of ribbon is on.

The first bit of ribbon is on.

To my surprise and delight, it didn’t take much time to get my fine motor coordination buffed up enough for hand sewing. I was sure it would take another day or so, but last night the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award (many thanks, again, to Catherine) inspired me and I picked up the bodice for the Edwardian petticoat.

When last we saw it, it looked like this:

Playtime! Angled or straight?

Playtime! Angled or straight?

Looking at it with a fresh eye, I decided I didn’t like the shape going on with the hidden front quasi-darts. It just looked too bubbly and, since it’s a drawstring-gathered waistline anyway, they aren’t really needed. Poof! Gone.

I also decided that I wanted a little more interest with the shape of the beading lace, so I angled the self-facing at the center front and ran the beading lace along the turned edge of the facing. That way I was able to hem the facing and apply the beading lace in a single pass. (I hate having to fuss with the same area over and over for no good reason.)

The pink jacquard-weave ribbon was staring hard at me, so I put in the front top ties. When I left it on the Victorian-corseted dress form last night it looked like this:

2007-03-04 10.41.08

This morning, in much better (and natural) light, it looks like this:



2007-03-04 20.04.34


This is my first foray into Edwardian fashion, and at this point I have two questions.

Last night I noticed it wasn’t hanging too well on the dress form. The Victorian-style corset was squeezed and stuffed to my hourglass dimensions and I came to the conclusion that the Edwardian shape wasn’t working on a Victorian form.

So I switched out the corsets and put my underbust, though not truly 1912 Edwardian, corset on the dress form. The waist dimension is correct, but I’ve yet to “fill out” the hips.

2007-03-04 20.12.14

First question: what do I do with the bust? Mine is larger than the fullest settings on the dress form. However, as far as I’ve been able to determine, an underbust corset is correct for 1912 and the fluffy, full mono-bosom look was long gone by then. I need some shape for the dress I’ll be wearing, so “hanging loose” won’t work at all. I’m not even sure where the bust line should be, surely not forced higher than natural (like Regency), but…what?

I have a lot of give and take with the high drawstring waist, which was the whole point of doing it that way. But I can’t finalize the armscye shape and edging/binding until I know 1) where the girls should be and 2) what they should, or shouldn’t, be doing.

Secondly – what should I be wearing under the petticoat and above the underbust corset? Should I have a corset cover? (I think the answer is “yes.”) Chemise under the corset? I do have a set of proper drawers. Anything…um…else?


17 thoughts on “HSM #6: It’s Beginning to Look at Lot Like…a Petticoat!

    • It’s getting to the stage of construction when I smile every time I see it, which is a good sign. I wasn’t born a fan of lace and ruffles and ribbons galore, but I’m slowly being turned. The more beading lace and pink ribbon I add, the better it looks. 🙂

    • Thanks! Was working on the skirt portion and keep changing my mind about the center front. But the deadline approaches so I’d best make up my mind and get on with it. 😉

  1. Chemise under the corset? Oh, yes and you will need those drawers. The chemise will do some “holding in” of the girls. Jennifer of Historical Sewing could confirm the other points for you.

      • It definitely will. Funnily, I saw a somewhat similar extant petticoat at a cloth antiquary a while ago. But the lady was selling it as a “nightgown”…

      • I see that happen a lot, now that I know what I’m looking at. Petticoats as nightgowns. Chemises as summer dresses. But my favorite to date was a pair of closed drawers being sold as pyjama pants. :-0

      • How good of you to do that. I don’t think the majority of these “fashion recycling” mistakes are intended to be purposely misleading. I believe they’re primarily the result of the seller not knowing/understanding what they have so they relate it to something from their direct experience, like selling a chemise as a summer dress. If I see something like that in a store I just keep it to myself – they’re the seller and it’s their store. (And if they want to sell a genuine, lovely Edwardian chemise as a used summer dress for $10, who am I to argue while I’m pulling out my wallet?) But when I see the same goof online (eBay is such a great for this) I roll my eyes and say “No, it’s not!” (Out loud, since I’m by myself.) One day, something out there will eclipse the drawers-as-pyjama-pants error – can’t wait to see what it will be. 🙂

      • Oh and I didn’t tell her it was a petticoat just told her I have a pattern book with similar pieces at home. Only at says “combination petticoat” in the image heading and then she’ll know. And don’t tell me these drawers were split ones… Airiest pj pants every. 😉

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