A Skirt is a Skirt

A skirt is a skirt by any other name…

Petticoat or not to petticoat – that is the question…

Ok, enough silliness.
Last weekend I’ve made a 18th century petticoat/skirt.
Here in Sweden “Petticoat” means – “under skirt” or hoop-skirt if you’r talking wedding dresses, and a skirt is just a skirt – nothing else.
But in historic sentence these two seems to be interchangeable (at least to me, since I’d always had a bit trouble keeping the two apart in English).
But I then I read in “Cut of womens clothes” that after 1660s “the underskirt was always called a petticoat”.
Does that mean you can call the same garment “skirt” or “petticoat” deepening on the way it is worn at the moment?

German maid, evidence of patterned jacket worn with solid skirt - kopia
I’t was such an easy and quick project even though I made it by hand.
One day in front of the computer watching series, and it was done.

IMG_5108I bought this brown fabric for a steal from an online fabric sale – convinced it was a striped cotton twill (as the website claimed).
But once delivered it was more like a heavy polyester made for suits and pants. Darn it.
Well, the price of sending it back would be more then the fabric itself, so I decided to go ahead and make my skirt anyway.

It worked surprisingly well, if you don’t count the bump in my fingers from pressing the needle through, and the heaviness of the fabric gives the skirt and hem a nice drape.

The construction is really simple using two width of fabrics and cartridge-pleating them to a narrow waistband.

I also made sure to hem it quite short, to mimic the length of the fashion plate.IMG_5099










Fabric: 2 m of brown polyester “twill”

Notions: thread, Hook and eye.

Cost: about 40Sek (6 Usd) all and all – I told you, a steal 🙂

Time: About 5 hours of hand stitching.

Final thought: I like the drape of the skirt and the pleating looks really nit, even though I would have wished for a thicker fabric.
I think the skirt will look great combined with the new bodice/jacket and accessories I’m working on, for the “peasant fiest” I’m hoping to attend in about two weeks.

4 thoughts on “A Skirt is a Skirt

  1. Great job on the pleats! I’m also finishing up my gear for the tavern night. Guess who’s also wearing stripes..? 😛

  2. A petticoat literally translates to a ‘lower garment’ going waaaay back in history. To use the term, petticoat, to reference an underskirt (or slip in modern terminology) happens in the 19th century when gown construction changes. A petticoat worn underneath petticoats in the 18th century is, quite literally, an underpetticoat and a petticoat is usually used to described the outer layer. To add to the confusion, often times in period documents they are just shortened to ‘coat’. 🙂

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