I constantly forget how to make petticoats. How long does it need to be? How much fabric do I need? Are you *sure* I only need a 12 yard ruffle???
To remind myself (and possibly help others), I’m going to write down my basic method for making a Victorian petticoat (hoop-skirt era). You can probably adjust this to fit other eras, but since I haven’t tried any other Victorian periods yet, I can really only speak to what fits over my hoop.
Conveniently, this petticoat only uses 6 yards of fabric. It’ll get you (approximately) a 60″ drawstring waistband, a 6 yard hem, and a 12 yard ruffle. The finished length of the base before attaching the ruffle is 35″ (depending on your hem amount) and the ruffle is 10″ long, so there’s a lot of room for height adjustment. More on that later.
Having a visual always helps me get started, so we start with a simple Paint layout. For the record, Paint was so not the right choice for this, but it was the first program I could find on my computer and it did the job in the end.
After you full size the image, you’ll get a better idea of the measurements of each of the pieces. You’ll also note that this doesn’t take into account any seam allowances or hems. I tend to overlock all of my edges instead of double folding. 1) I’d sooner use more thread than lose fabric, 2) I’m lazy and try to avoid ironing wherever possible.
Base pieces 1-5 are full sized. They’re 35″ tall, 36″ at the hem, and 10″ at the waist. Piece 6 is divided in half to make the most out of the fabric you have. The reason I chose 35″ as the length is so I could have a nice 10″ strip running along the bottom to use for the majority of the ruffle.
After cutting out the base pieces and stripping away the long 10″ ruffle piece, you should be able to get 3 more 10″ ruffle pieces from the remaining chunk of fabric. If you want more than 12 yards in your ruffle, just add more yardage
The final piece of fabric remaining is 5″ tall and and just over 2 yards long. This will be the base for the waistband. You may want to just say screw it and try folding your base waistline down to create a waistband after you’ve sewn your base panels together, but since the base is made up of trapezoids, you’ll likely end up hating life a quarter of the way through. Much easier to create a rectangular waistband and just attach it directly to the base.
Now that we have the layout down, the next step is to start cutting.
*Edit*: Also, to give credit where credit is due, Roo is the one who first walked me through the basic construction and sizing. I’m just putting it down on paper. Internets. Tubes. Whatever.