Sunday, 9 December 2012

Petticoat tales

Full-skirted dresses

Full skirts like these need a net petticoat to hold them out properly, and I’ve been busy making one.

Rather than just use black net, I thought that it would be fun to make it in a bright colour to go with the dress fabric, so I chose a hot pink instead. As time is short, I’ve been working on it in my lunch break in work. This did make me regret my colour choice slightly, as I now everyone thinks that I’m making a tutu for a hen night! In this weather? No!

Anyway, here are some details of how I made it. I worked out the length I wanted, and divided it by three. This gave me the length of each tier. In my case the length I wanted was 66cm, divided by three this was 22cm. I added three cm to this for the seam allowances, which gave me a total of 25cm.

The top tier was made from one piece the full width of the net, the middle tier from two pieces and the bottom tier from four pieces. This was seven pieces in all, so the amount of net I needed was seven times 25cm, 1.75m.

I cut out the seven pieces I needed. The top tier I left as a single flat piece. For the middle tier I sewed two pieces together along the short edges to make a wide tube. For the bottom tier I sewed four pieces together along the short edges to make a very wide tube.

At this point I remembered a warning from my mum, who wore these petticoats in the fifties; namely that the raw edges of the net, “ruin your nylons”. Bearing this in mind, I covered all of the seams, and the short edges of the top tier, in bias binding.

Seam edge neatened with bias binding

For the seams I then sewed the folded edge of the binding flat against the fabric.

Bound edge sewn flat onto the net

Next I sewed the short, bound edges of the top tier together with a few stitches at the bottom.

I set my sewing machine to a long stitch length, and sewed along the top of the middle and bottom tiers, then pulled up the stitching to gather it. Then I sewed the bottom tier to the middle tier, and the middle tier to the top tier.

The gathered net was covered with more bias binding, this time full width.

Then I checked the length of the petticoat, and trimmed the raw edges at the top and bottom to make it the correct length.

I machine-gathered the top of the top tier to my waist measurement, and added a narrow waistband of folded bias binding. Then I sewed on a press-stud to fasten it.

Top tier, waistband and fastening

Finally I finished the raw bottom edge with yet more bias binding (I used an incredible 18m in total), and that was the petticoat made.

The completed petticoat

As the dress isn’t made yet, I used my Tarantella dress to see the effect.

Before and after

As you can see, the petticoat is slightly too long for this dress. It certainly makes a difference though; so much so that I’m thinking of making up another one in white net before the summer.

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