From that detailed project list came the need for a trained petticoat to 1) support the trained silhouette, and 2) keep the underside of my skirt relatively clean (you know how *that* goes).
It was also at a time that I was deep into writing easy-to-follow instructions for making corded petticoats. Well, for some reason I decided to combine antique (c.1840s) with historical (c.1870s) AND modern methods and see if it worked to support my train.
(Aren’t we suckers for costume innovations? 🙂 )
The base of the petticoat was made from the Truly Victorian #208 Trained Skirt pattern and was cut from simple 45″ cotton muslin from JoAnn Fabrics.
I really wanted to have a trained petticoat that supported my skirt train. Ruffles are definitely the way to go – why? – because the Victorians used them on their petticoats.
And I wanted mine to not be heavy. Have you ever made a petticoat from basic cotton then added rows & rows of ruffles? Yeah… H.E.A.V.Y.
Because I was starting to become addicted to this marvelous cotton fabric called organdy, I decided to make all my ruffles from it. Perfect! Lightweight but stiff. This is exactly what you want in a petticoat.
But I didn’t just stop at using organdy. No. I was insane [totally not a new state of mind].
I had to *cord* my ruffles. Yep… just like a corded petticoat. (Remember I was deep into corded petticoat research.)
The total hem is 1.5″ wide and finished as a self-facing. I folded up about a 2″ hem to the inside. Then the cords were sandwiched between the ruffle and hem. The top raw edge of the hem was simply pressed under and sewn an even 1.5″ from the bottom cord.
I used 3/16″ cotton twist cording that I get from the home dec department. It’s great stuff! You can see that the three rows don’t quite make up 1/2″ in width.
I tell you, the ruffles are about as inflexible as a banana peel – sturdy, bendable, and annoying to deal with until they are put in their place.
The ruffles were made in one strip with a finished width of 11″. The hem was finished first. The top edge was simply serged then run through the ruffler foot.
I then laid out the bottom ruffle section first on the train, cut the length and hemmed the edges. To get the position of it, I placed the ruffle far enough down on the train to where the ruffle hem ends almost lined up with the finished train.
The next ruffle up was then pinned on in a U shape to cover the top edge of the first ruffle. The U was loosely positioned the same as before with the hem points of the ruffle coming close but not over the train hem. You can also see in the above photo the center back seam of the train – this was a wide petticoat!
The last two ruffles were set on in the same manner: covering the top of the previous ruffle and placed to where they would not go beyond the train hem.
The last bit of construction (besides the waistband) was the ties on the inside. Taking a cue from other methods of bustle skirt construction I added twill tape pieces to the sides and center back seam where the ruffles were sewn on. There are four sets of ties: one on each half of the train and placed just below the hips and the other behind the knees.
The other issue I thought about as I was making this petticoat is how to keep it right under my skirt to actually keep the skirt clean. I decided to tack on more twill tape ties to the edges around the train with corresponding ties on the underside of the skirt.
For the most part the two garments stayed together. Although, I believe the muslin fabric of the petticoat was not stiff enough on its own to really support and protect the skirt train. What was really missing was starch. Yep. [I really need to starch my petticoats more often – it’s wonderful!]