Underpinnings, c. 1830s-40s

Corded petticoat, in medium weight cotton with cotton cording, being sewn by machine to save time and sanity! Based on one from the Kyoto Costume Institute's collection. Flounced petticoat with corded flounces, cotton with cotton cording, sewn entirely by hand. Soon to be added to this set: A corset and chemise, both to be sewn by hand and from patterns of my own invention.
Dress Diary
I've done a bit of researching 1830s-1840s petticoats, and here are three good examples I unearthed. The first, on the left, is from Fashion, by the Kyoto Costume Institute. I like the look of this one, and I like how mental it is with the fifty billion rows of cording. ;) The one in the middle is from Karen Augusta's excellant site, and would have been a great option except that in my excitement to get started, I purchased the cotton "cording" in the narrower width before I got this far in my research! And the third and final image is from a long-since-passed eBay auction. As you can see, it's quite similar to the Karen Augusta petticoat.
So as I said, I'm leaning towards the first petticoat. . . But that doesn't mean I won't come back at some point and make a second petticoat more like the second/third images. After all, I have a tendancy to make far more underpinnings than I could ever need! ;P
I started my petticoat over the weekend. I decided I wanted my rows to be 1/2" apart, and boy am I glad I did a quick little sample because I discovered that, due to the width of my zipper foot, I can not make them any closer than 3/4" and sew it by machine. Now, as I've got more and more obsessed with costuming, I've been trying to make pre-sewing-machine-days things by hand, but if I did this by hand, it may end up being the only thing I make in 2007, and since I have lots of fun plans, I've decided to go ahead and use the machine. So, 3/4" apart it is. I just have to have faith that even though the yarn I'm using seems wimpy by itself, once it's all lined up within the fabric - even at 3/4" apart instead of 1/2" - it will be enough to support some serious skirts! Yesterday, I drew about eighty billion lines (okay, more like a hundred or so - but it felt like eighty billion!) to help me make perfectly spaced and straight rows. This killed two washable fabric markers. I swear, if I could buy those things in bulk, I would! Tonight, it's on to actually sewing the channels. . .
I have managed to get twenty rows sewn before the combination of being distracted by my new stays (and all the subsequent projects I have in mind to fit over those stays!) and then my machine deciding to take a vacation! But here are my twenty rows:
It took me long enough, but a couple of months ago, I finally finished the corded petticoat! I just need to wash out all those blue markings now. Oh, and make something to wear over it!
Well, the 1840s bug has big again, so I'm back to dreaming and scheming of things I want to make. . . So, my current project is going to be a flounced petticoat like the one you see in my sketch to the right. I've already got the base layer assembled, and am just starting making flounces. I'm sewing this one all by hand and even only this far in, I'm already questioning my sanity. . .
All of the flounces are hemmed! By hand! With uncooperative cotton thread! ;)
Hemmed Flounces
Over the weekend I finished gathering all the ruffles onto cords, and they are now ready to be applied to the foundation of the petticoat!
Corded Flounces
The flounced petticoat is almost done! I just have to finish the ends of each flounce. I wasn't sure how I was going to go about that, so I'm stalling a bit while I think. But, in the mean time, I got to try it on! This is it, over my corded petticoat:
Flounced Petticoat, almost finished. . .
This page © 2010 by Jennifer E. Lithgow