Cotton knee-length petticoat (&pattern)

I’ve been wanting to make a cotton petticoat for under my knee-length skirts for a while. My good petticoat is an A-line, but I have some skirts for which a bell-shape is more appropriate and I like the idea of cotton for petticoats. I’d been looking out for a pattern for a while, because I wanted to get the shape and volume right. Recently, I had a performance with my dance group doing an hungarian piece and got to have a look at the petticoats worn with the costume. I’m not certain if these petticoats are also the traditional type worn, but they certainly give the bell shape.

Not quite as huge as this though (but it is pretty)

Voivodina Hungarians (Kupusina and Doroslovo) women’s national costume.

 

I figured I’d share my pattern with you. The petticoat consist of 3 layers, a top layer and two under-layers. These layers, together with pleats and gathers give the volume.

For this pattern you need to decide on 2 things on your own, namely your waist circumference and the length you want the petticoat to be.

Start with making a waistband for yourself, fitting at the natural waist. Decide on whatever closure you want in the waistband, can be hooks, a button, or another type of clasp (sew this on at the end). My pattern closes only at  the waistband, leaving a slit open in the skirt. This doesn’t matter as it’s a petticoat and therefore always worn under another skirt. If you wish to wear it as an over-skirt, make sure that the slit fully closes or insert a zipper.

The top layer will have the following pattern:

Petticoat

 

So the width will be your waist measurement times 3, the height will be the length you want the petticoat to be. Beware that if the petticoat is very full, the actual length might fall a bit shorter because the skirt stands out from the body. In this case, add a little to your desired length to get the height measure.

This top layer is pleated onto a waistband at the top. Make sure your pleats meet, in that you have 3 layers of fabric everywhere.

I used 1,5 cm pleats, but you can look at what you like visually. I’d recommend smaller pleats though. Sew the sides together, leaving a slit at the top which your hips fit through. Hem the slit.

The bottom two layers of the petticoat only have fullness at the bottom.

This is the pattern for the top part of the lower layers. You’ll need to cut this out 4 times. I recommend making a mock-up first, as this part is more close fitted. The lower measurement is your hip circumference at a point Length/2 below your waist. If your petticoat length is 40 cm, measure at 20 cm below your waist, if it’s 70 cm, measure at 35 below your waist. Be careful if you measure below the widest part of your hips, in this case just take the full hip measure at the widest part. You can add a little ease to the bottom part of this pattern to make sure it’s not too snug. How much can be up to you, but I’d say that 10 to 20 cm is safe.

Petticoat 2

 

Once this is cut, sew 2 of the pieces together at one side. Sew the other side close at the bottom leaving a slit at the top. Make sure you can fit it over your hips when deciding how deep the slit is. Hem the edges of fabric at the slit.

The bottom part of the under-layers is the following (so cut 2, one for each under layer):

Petticoat 3

 

In other words, the height is again half the length you want, so your bottom layers will be the same length as your top layer. The width is based on the bottom length of the top part of the under layer (Hip/2 + ease measurement). For this, take your hip measurement + ease as a base. (Not divided by 2, as now you’re looking at the full hip measurement and not half of it). You can take this measurement and multiply it by a number somewhere between 2 and 3. This decides how full the bottom of your petticoat will be. For a very full one at the bottom, pick a higher number. If you go above 3, it might be a bit hard to gather everything. Gather the top of this piece of fabric, and sew it onto the bottom of the top part of the under-layer.

Final step: hem everything (it’s prettiest if the under-layers don’t show, so make the hem of the upper layer slightly narrower). Trim if you want.

Because I always prefer looking at a garment when figuring out how to make it, here are some pictures of mine (bad phone quality, sorry for that):

The top layer:

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The bottom layer (the weird stuff at the top is the top layer being held up):

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After I finished sewing the layers together and was looking at hemming, I noticed that I’d cut the petticoat a bit longer than I needed. I fitted it with a skirt I had and the bottom peeked out. This could be nice, as the lace at the hem is pretty, but it wasn’t really what I wanted. Instead of taking the hem up, I chose to make pintucks above the hem. So I hemmed the skirt as usual, and then marked and folded my fabric so the entire skirt would be a little shorter. I chose this method because it’s pretty, but it’s also something I saw in the existing petticoats. It makes sense, as clothing was shared by people (or inherited from others), so the length wouldn’t always be right. Having pintucks is an easy way of shortening a skirt so that it can be let out again later. So some more pictures of the finished petticoat:

 

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Done! You can barely see the pintucks in this photo, but you can see that ik gives even more of a bell-shape with the skirt a bit shorter.

 

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The closure.

 

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The hem. I trimmed it with cotton lace. It’s not antique, but made with a still operating antique cotton machine. The two pintucks are 1 cm each and placed 4,5 and 8 cm above the hem.

 

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The first bottom layer. There is one more like this beneath. These layers also have 2 pintucks in the same way as the top layer, but no lace.

 

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This looks a bit weird, but I just pinned the top two layers up so you can see there’s a 3rd one.

 

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And the petticoat with a skirt on top, to show the volume.

 

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And for reference, the same skirt without petticoat.

 

18th century Zaanstad costume

This is another post about the drawings by Jan Duyvetter of Dutch traditional costume, made in the early ’50’s. The previous post showed an 18th century Frisian lady and her clothes, in this post an image from the same time period, but a different region. The drawing is of a lady from Zaanstad, a place right above Amsterdam, most known for the ‘Zaanse Schans’ with it’s mills and characteristic houses. The costume in this area disappeared in the late 19th century, but by then was already much different from the image below.

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The general sihouette of this lady is similar to that of the 18th century Frisian costume, which makes sense because it followed the fashions of that time. A conical bodice, and a skirt worn over wide panniers. The panniers are slightly wider in this lady, which might have something to do with the fact that this location was closer to the big city and therefore to modern fashion. This area was also a rather rich one, and this is a costume worn for visiting.

The lady is wearing a ton-sur-ton skirt, with a hint of colorfull petticoat peeping out underneath. Over this, she wears a wide checkered red apron, with what looks like a decorated ribbon at the waist. The jacket is long and had 3/4 trimmed sleeves. She wears a fichu at the neck and trimmed mittens. Her headgear is, again, very typical for this area. She is wearing several pieces of jewelry with the cap. The piece on the forehead is called a ‘voorhoofdsnaald’. The other pieces to the side are ‘ear irons’ and extend to below the lace cap. On top of the lace cap, she wears a cloth which was known as a ‘kaper’.

The rest of the post shows existing garments as worn with this costume in the 18th century. The real-life counterparts of the image.

'Kaper' of blue silk. Worn over the lace cap.

‘Kaper’ of blue silk. Worn over the lace cap.

 

Lace cap.

Lace cap.

Ear-iron. Worn under the lace cap. These are from the 19th century, but still similar to those worn in the drawing.

Ear-iron. Worn under the lace cap. These are from the 19th century, but still similar to those worn in the drawing.

Cap pins. Worn just behind the decorative part of the ear irons, they were pinned through the cap. Again, these are 19th century in make.

Cap pins. Worn just behind the decorative part of the ear irons, they were pinned through the cap. Again, these are 19th century in make.

'Zijnaalden'. These were worn as jewelry by pinning them into the cap, so they lay across the forehead. One was worn at a time. These are early 19th century in make.

‘Zijnaalden’. These were worn as jewelry by pinning them into the cap, so they lay across the forehead. One was worn at a time. These are early 19th century in make.

Fichu

Fichu

Jacket. These were made out of several fashionable colors and prints, mostly out of glazed cotton.

Jacket. These were made out of several fashionable colors and prints, mostly out of glazed cotton.

Knitted silk mittens

Knitted silk mittens

Petticoat. Many were made out of chintz fabric. There are also some examples of solid color quilted petticoats.

Petticoat. Many were made out of chintz fabric. There are also some examples of solid color quilted petticoats.

Skirt. These were also made out of different colored and patterned fabrics. This is a ton-sur-ton as in the image, but are also extent solid or chintz skirts.

Skirt. These were also made out of different colored and patterned fabrics. This is a ton-sur-ton as in the image, but are also extent solid or chintz skirts.

Apron. The top was gathered over the tie string.

Apron. The top was gathered over the tie string.

18th century Frisian costume

In the early 1950’s, the Dutch open-air museum acquired a large collection of traditional costumes from all over the country. In many places these costumes were quickly disappearing and a previous collection had been largely lost due to the war. Most of the collection is rarely brought out today, it remains in storage. A real shame, because there are so many lovely items there, but the museum chooses to have no permanent exhibition. At the same time, between 1948 and 1952, artist Jan Duyvetter made a series of about 140 colored drawings of traditional costume in the Netherlands for the same open-air museum. This series consists of many different eras. Most of it is of ‘current’ costumes, so the 1940’s. Some are of the 1910’s, some of the 1860’s, etc. There are also a couple of drawings of the 18th century, and even one based on paintings of a 1600 lady. These prints are truly lovely, and I especially love the older ones. This is one of my favorites:

 

This costume was from the north of the country, from Friesland, around 1780. The general silhouette is clearly taken from the daily fashions of the time. A conical shaped torso, and a wide skirt with even what seems like small panniers to give the characteristic 18th century hipline. The jacket and skirt are also seen in many areas at this time, plain and flowered fabrics. The checkered apron is not something I believe is common in many other areas. In traditional costumes, an apron is almost always included, even in clothes worn on sundays and to church. The checkered cloth around her shoulders is also found often in traditional costume, red being worn when out of mourning. The large sun-hat she is holding can be seen in fashion as well, although the shape is typical. The chintz fabric was very popular at that time, but even more so in the Netherlands than some other countries. The most noticable part of the costume is, of course, her headdress. This type is called a ‘German cap’, and made out of lace. Underneath, a metal (gold or brass usually) ‘ear iron’ is worn. Taken all together, it’s a very striking costume.

What I really like, is that out of the collection of existent garments of the open air museum, one could dress a dummy in almost exactly the clothes as seen in the drawing. So although this is not a photograph, it is strongly based on existing garments (and paintings of the time). In the remainder of this post, I have collected some images of these garments (the collection is largely photographed and online at http://www.hetgeheugenvannederland.nl ). These garments are, as far as I could tell it, what the lady in the drawing is wearing, excluding underwear, because I can’t see from the drawing to make sure. (although a shift, corset, at least one petticoat and corset/bunroll seem certain)

So from top to bottom:

 

Headdress, ‘German Cap’

 

Ear-iron

 

Hat

 

Necklace

 

Fichu

 

Zondoek

 

Jacket, as worn in Friesland

 

Jacket from the ‘Zaanstreek’ (not Frisian), but the fabric is very similar to the one in the drawing, so I wanted to include it.

 

Mittens

 

Apron

 

Skirt

 

Stockings

 

http://geheugenvannederland.nl/?/nl/items/NOMA01:HM33/&p=21&i=10&t=718&st=Friesland&sc=subject%20all%20%22Friesland%22%20AND%20%28isPartOf%20any%20%22NOMA01%22%20%29/

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