This will be a much larger update than I originally intended. Every time I’m finish a step and debate making an update I’d want to do just one more thing so it doesn’t feel incomplete. One more step led to another and I’m now mostly done.


First things first – cut the body pieces.

The first piece is cut on the straight edge of the fabric and it will be one of the half pieces. First, I measured half the waist (10″ total at the top, so 5″ for the half pieces), added 1″ for a 1/2″ seam allowance on each side, and marked the fabric first with a pen and then with a pin. Then, I did the same at the bottom at the 19″ mark (each bottom is 36″ wide, half of that is 18″, plus 1″ total seam allowances).

I’m really terrible at cutting straight lines and don’t have a yard stick, so I make due with the table edge. Line up each pin along the edge of the table, which should drape the fabric at a diagonal. Weight it down with whatever you have handy (jars, scissors, and a cat in my case) and either mark the line for cutting or just get right to do and cut along the line if you don’t mind some jagged edges (which I don’t).

You can either continue using this method for the remainder of the pieces, or you can fold the next length of fabric in half, pin your half pattern piece to it along the fold (adjusting for seam allowances as needed) and cut, and then you have the first full body piece. That made sense in my head anyway.

In the end, you should have 5 full body pieces and 2 half pieces.

Even more annoying than hand gathering the ruffle is pinking all the edges. It’s not particularly difficult or time consuming, but it is painful. I have yet to find a pair of pinking scissors that is easy to open and close and actually fits my hand. Inevitably, my right hand knuckles are covered in blisters by the time I finished. However, I did learn than covering my knuckles in bandaids gives it a nice padding against the scissors.

I leave the top and bottom raw at this point. The top will be encased in the waistband and the bottom will likely be hemmed, but now until all of the pieces are sewn together.

The gap in the back is probably not necessary considering the waistband will be 60″, but I’m trying something new and if it works then great, and if doesn’t then I’ll be using this as my base petticoat anyway and it won’t really matter if there’s a gap.

Now that all of the pieces are attached, we pink the bottoms. You could hem the base as usual, but I just don’t see the point in hemming something that will be hidden. I may eat my words the first time I wash this, but again, it’s all a test. Some of those pinked edges are obviously a little thicker than others. I have no idea how or why this happened seeing as they were all the same length. I think I may just be cursed with uneven edges. Also, I wasn’t sure exactly how long this would be with the ruffle attached, so I didn’t want to go through the time of hemming it only to have to rehem it later when it was too long.

I skipped past the waistband and jumped to the ruffling. No real reason other than I figured I should do all of the hard parts first.

I pinked the short edges of all of the ruffle pieces and then sewed them together. One last time, I picked up my pinking scissors and cut all the way along the edge I would be attaching to the base. Either it will be a cute detail no one will ever see along the top of the ruffle, or it will be hidden underneath if I sew the ruffle and base right sides together. I did, however, break down and actually hem the bottom of the ruffle.

Yes, I do actually own an iron and an ironing board. I folded the hem twice, ironed it and the rest of the fabric, and then sewed it down.


Wrong side.

Right side.

I highly recommend heavy duty upholstery thread for the gathering. I’ve tried it using a ruffle foot attachment for my machine, but this seems to keep jamming on me. I’ve tried using my longest stitch length with standard thread and it keeps breaking part way through the gathering (which is maddening). The only thing that has been consistently simple and easy to work with is upholstery thread. It’s thicker and smoother, which means the fabric just glides along it.

Rather than hand sew the gathering stitch (which is effective, but slow), I popped the thread on my sewing machine and kept my bobbin as the same thread I’d been using. I wasn’t sure if it would work with the bobbin thread, but I found it works pretty well. My last hand gathering attempt went like a dream after sitting through hand sewing the gathering line, but I also had the problem that the gathers moved a lot in my lap because the thread was so slippery. By keeping the bobbin thread filled with regular thread, it stabilizes the ruffles a bit more and they don’t move around after I’ve gathered them.

I decided to start by gathering the ruffle as much as it would go rather than estimate how big/small it needed to be to fit the bottom. It gives you an idea of just how much you can pack in if you try.

Next step is to attach the waistband and put it on over the hoop to test the length. Once that’s decided on, I’ll adjust the ruffle as needed, sew it down, and then it’s done!

Petticoat Instructions (White cotton, silver china silk, gold silk satin)

  1. Cut 6 base panels (60″ waist, 6 yard hem) [white, silver, gold]
  2. Cut ruffle pieces (min 12 yards). [white, silver, gold]
  3. Overlock Pink base pieces [white, silver, gold]
  4. Sew base pieces together, leaving a small gap int he back seam at the top. [white, silver, gold]
  5. Cut rectangular waistband and attach to base. [white, silver, gold]
  6. Overlock ruffle pieces and sew together. [white, silver, gold]
  7. Hem ruffle edges. Embroider if desired. [white, silver, gold]
  8. Hand gather ruffles [white, silver, gold]
  9. Attach ruffles to base at desired length. [white, silver, gold]
  10. Thread shoelace through drawstring. [white, silver, gold]