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Sunday, 13 December 2015

Midnight Georgian Petticoat

 I've been doing this project on and off for about a month now, so I'm glad it's done and I can move on to new things. The pattern was referenced from Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion volume 1, though I added an additional panel to give it more volume.

 My original design had it paired with a pale blue Georgian sack-back gown that had black trimmings, though I'm always open to suggestions for a new contrasting colour if you have any ideas.

 The back, where you can see the ribbon tied from the front.

I was initially going to gather the skirt, though the material was so hard to work with that I had to give up and try maths with pleats, which didn't really work either, so I ended up with the strangest looking double-pleats ever - perhaps a new sewing invention? (haha)

It looked a bit plain with nothing on it, so I sewed a ruffle and it went really well, even if I was very nervous sewing it! It looks so gorgeous on the end of the petticoat, if I don't say so myself. 

Things I'd like to do better next time I make a petticoat:
  • Use a thicker ribbon for the waistband. Trust me, it will make it a whole lot prettier and easier.
  • Also, make the ribbon longer for tying round the opposite side of my waist. Ten inches is apparently not enough to tie a bow for me!
  • Instead of polyester taffeta, use silk taffeta or cotton - my fabric was really hard to work with. 
  • Do single pleats or gathers instead of double pleats (for some reason I couldn't get the waist measurements right, and had to settle for double pleats, which I don't think look very professional - I'm such a novice!).
  • Use a proper pattern instead of making your own (or following a Janet Arnold diagram, as obviously extant garments are only one size and would be different to my measurements). 
Next time I'll definitely look at buying a historical pattern from a company in my size, rather than rely on providence to make a Georgian pattern my measurements! Still, I had some fun making this, even if I did commit some sewing sins and the material frayed like the dickens. If I make this again, I'll probably do it in white cotton without as much decoration as an underlayer.


  1. I think it actually looks very pretty - is it comfortable to wear, or does the fabric get hot? I don't know much about 18th century clothing, so forgive me, is this to be worn as underpinnings, or as an actual skirt that will show? (The reason I ask is that on some costume blogs I saw a skirt referred to as petticoat in 18th century ensemble, so I'm really confused)
    Hahaha, patterns - I actually bought one for an 18th century dress and to be honest it only made me more puzzled, because even though it was theoretically in my size, it just didn't want to fit and I probably would have been better off showing a diagram to my sis so she would enlarge it; I wish you a better luck than I had!:-D But I'm intrigued by the idea of a blue gown with black accents - sounds exciting!

    1. Thank you! I haven't worn it much, but I don't think the fabric gets hot at all, it seems quite cool to the touch.

      This skirt is going to be half on show as an outer layer, as the blue dress I'm going to make in the future has an open panel on the front (I'm not sure what it's called in sewing terms, haha) with the black showing.

      I think in the 18th Century petticoats were what we now call skirts, and it could refer to both a foundation garment or an outer layer that the public would see. I hope that makes sense!

      Maybe you needed to make a pair of stays for it to fit better, as the pattern may have had that conical shape in the bodice area, rather than a natural human shape.

      And thanks! I'm glad you're excited for it, though it may be a looong time before I get round to it. I'll also have to make a mock-up version first, to see how the pattern fits, and then see about using those curtains (my Grandmother wants them to make a pair of shorter curtains for my brother's room, but I think they have my name written on them, and they'd look wrong in my brother's room anyway, XD)

    2. What, no way, you have the first dibs on those curtains! What effrontery to even suggest otherwise!XD Costumes and dresses always come first!

      Ah, I see about the petticoat, thank you very much for explaining - I'm curious to see now what it looks like when you put it over the underpinnings you've prepared. Would be interesting how it would change the way it looks. In any case I think it's gonna look good paired up with the blue.

      The weird thing is, I did try to fit the mock up of the pattern over the stays! But the front panels marked as my size were still humongous, which is really odd since the back panels fit just fine. So it's a lot of fussing around with it and creating (Frankensteining) a new pattern out of it, which is something I'd hoped to avoid - I thought buying the pattern is the lazy and easy way. Serves me right for laziness:-)

    3. Of course! Thanks for backing me up! ;) I certainly did have first dibs, haha. I'll have to tell her that if she protests. XD

      I still need to make a chemise and a proper bum roll for my costume, but seeing as I'm getting that Edwardian pattern for Christmas, I'm having a break from the Georgians for a bit, or at least that particular outfit with the Janet Arnold book. I bought two patterns, and one of them was a Georgian robe à la reine, so maybe I'll have a go with that. Hopefully the Laughing Moon pattern I got will fit! (I'm sure it will though, as I think many sizes are included).

      Ah, I see, I didn't know you had stays! Any chance of you showing them off on your blog? :)
      That's a nuisance with the pattern being all weird. Which pattern was it?

  2. Such a perfectly lovely, versatile piece. Your wardrobe always makes me swoon and wish that it was in my closet, too. :)

    Joyful holiday season wishes, sweet dear,
    ♥ Jessica

    1. Thanks, Jessica! The same goes to you without saying - I love all your outfit posts!