Monday, August 22, 2011

The Easy Peasy Quilted Petticoat

So for quite a while I've wanted a quilted petticoat. One, because not everyone has one, and two, because they look awesome.  I recently ordered a quilting frame and batting, but I just couldn't wait, so I bought a coverlet and thought I'd have a go.

I started off with this. A brick red coverlet from Bella Home Fashions.

For a king it was only $59. And it came with two shams as well. The quality was surprisingly nice, and the pattern looks surprisingly close to some real 18th century quilted petticoats I have seen. The first example is from the Dewitt Wallace Museum in Williamsburg. I'm unaware where the second example is housed.

The plan:

And the process:

First, I measured around my hoops and added a few feet, but not as much as for a thin petticoat, because of the general bulk. Then I measured to the floor, over the side of one hoop, marked the fabric, and cut. I measured up from the edge of the coverlet, so I could retain the binding at the hem. One less thing to do later.

Second, I unpicked the quilting stitches on the sides (about an inch) and at the top (a few inches down).  This was the most time consuming part of the process. The stitches were quite small and hard to pick out, but on the bright side, its quite well made and therefore looks pretty good up close. I did this so I could cut out the excess batting around the seams. Less layers = cleaner seams and a better overall look. To note, I should say I pulled out the seams, instead of ripping them. This left long strings at the end of each row of stitching which I passed back through the batting so that the quilting won't unravel at the edges.

Third, I sewed up the sides, leaving about nine inches open at the top for pocket slits. I folded over the raw edges of the side seams and whipstitched them to the inside. The pocket slits aren't finished yet, because I think I'm going to bind them with tape, since the fabric is a bit flimsy and has a tendency to unravel.

Fourth, from the center front of the petticoat, I cut down about four inches and trimmed away the fabric in a curve. This allows fit over the hoops in the finished product. You can see the curve at the top in the following picture. Very important. Otherwise, the fabric pulls and buckles when its put on over the hoops.

Fifth, I knife pleated the waist.  Previously removing the batting make for much neater and slimmer folds.  From the center back, the pleats go towards the pocket. Same with the center front, with the front most part left unpleated, so as to show off the design when worn, and create a smooth drape.  After pinning, I machine sewed over the pleats to hold them in place for the tape waistband, which is yet to come.

All that's left is binding the pocket slits and adding a tape waistband and voila! Quilted petticoat in less than a week! In the future, though, I can't wait to hand quilt one. Maybe in the winter when I have more patience...

My little helper


  1. Thanks for this post! Super helpful! I just acquired a satin quilt on eBay and I plan to do the same thing, but was unsure. It was really helpful to see you go through it with such a great result.

    1. That's so funny you saw this post, because I'm right in the middle of rehemming this! It was always too long. It looks good though :)

  2. Beautiful! I want to make one also and have been looking for a quilted spread to experiment with. Yours turned out just great!
    No reply expected!

  3. Wonderful!! Thank you for sharing! I can't wait to make one of my own.

  4. Great idea!!! And that is the cutest little helper ever :D

  5. Very helpful post! Thanks for the great idea to remove some batting at waist to reduce bulk!