To make-do a 1880s Petticoat

And so we start of the new sewing year with HSF14 Challenge nr 1: Make-do/Mend.

As I stated before, I’m determend to try to fit the challenges this year in to my list of items which needs to be made. So with a bit of bending the rules on this challenge, I got to use it for that 1880s ruffled petticoat I desperetly need for my up-coming balgown.

untitledJGI’m thinking something along these line. (pic from Iza of you should check her out to.)

For this challenge I made a petticoat out of a bedsheet.

I started by ripping the sewn hems of it, and throw it into the washer.IMG_4728

I used no pattern – only some diagrams and pictures for reference. IMG_4736And cut the skirt pieces out of half the sheet.

And the ruffeling pieces from the rest, making them bigger and longer further down the skirt.IMG_4740

I sewed gathering thread on all the ruffels using a strong button-hole thread and sick sack stitch, hemming them at the same time.


This technique makes it very easy to gather the ruffels later on.

Then I hemmed and measured the spacings of all the ruffels.

IMG_4742Then I gathered all the fabric and stiched it down on the back piece of the skirt. And lastly I Sewed the front skirt to the back and stiched on a cotton twill tape as a waistband.

And then I tried it on – and I hated it.


It is way to narrow in the front (making me look huge) and the ruffels need to be at least twice as fluffy.

IMG_4829And I do think something is of in the lenght proportions of the ruffels.

Well here it is on the dressform looking a bit better but still way to slim in the pouf department.









IMG_4927With a night to sleep on it, I do think it will work for my purpose, but I know it will probably go straight into the re-make pile once the present event has past.

Just the Facts:

Challenge: 1 (2014) Re-Make.

What: A ruffeled bustled petticoat made out of a bedsheet.

Year: About 1870 – 1890s.

Pattern: None

Fabric: One white cotton bedsheet – 1,5 x 2 m.

Notions: Thread, strong thread (björntråd) and 2 m of 1 cm wide cotton twill tape.

Historical Accuracy: So so. The style and siluett is about right, but I’m sure the ladies of the day knew not to scrimp on the fabric in this kind of grmnent. Maybe 4/10.

Time: 4 hours.

Cost: 90 Sek (10 Usd).

First worn: Around the house for photos (and testing the toile for the gown…) But it will get a proper outing on january 25, for the gran bal at the opera.

Final Thoughts: I think this petticoat was to much of a rush job to begin with. I wish I had taken the time to make it proper and use enough fabric to get a nice ruffeled bustle. Instead I spread the ruffels to whide and gathered them to losely. It’s a good thing it will be hidden beneath the skirts.

7 thoughts on “To make-do a 1880s Petticoat

  1. Remember to set a link to the lovely ladys blog 🙂 age is so talented. I Think Tour bustle looks great!

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