Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Look at a c. 1900 Petticoat

I have kind of a thing for petticoats. Whenever I see a good one on eBay I like to treat myself.

To be good, they don't necessarily have to be pristine or fancy. I actually really like the messy ones. The home made ones. The ones that have patches and darning and messy stitches.

Of course, some pretty whitework never hurts...

I'm guessing this petticoat is about 1900 or there about. The shape of it doesn't allow for a bustle, but it is quite long to the floor, so skirts were still about floor length. The construction is interesting, almost like it was pieced with strips of fabric. They do get wider toward the hem, which makes sense to support and shape a skirt that widens at the bottom, like a gored skirt. I get the impression the whitework started life on an older petticoat, but I'm just guessing. The rest of the skirt is pretty haphazard; I can't imagine someone taking the time to embroider all that for this skirt.

Above you can see another strip at the hem that creates a ruffle. Behind the ruffle, on the inside of the skirt, is a tuck, which is shown below. There are a few tucks on this piece. Petticoats often have lots of tucks, both to create shape and the raise or lower a hemline. Usually the tucks in the lower half of a skirt add shape to the hem, and tucks up high, like around the thigh raise the hem. I have seen loads of these in antique petticoats.

It fastens at the side with a placket and vertical buttonhole.

The hip is shaped with a series of darts, front and back.

Ah, and my favorite part. I love to see alterations and mending. Below are a few darned patches. I love how antique clothes have darned bits where they were torn. Today we just toss things that get damaged. The mending adds so much character!

And I also love to see wonky stitches. They kind of show that a real person made this. I think it's cool. Kind of like how the mending shows that a real person actually wore it.

And one last interesting thing: the side seams are unfinished.

In my own sewing, I waste a lot of time finishing seams in undergarments because I think they will unravel in the wash. Obviously not. Now, granted, if you're working with a particularly loose weave, its good to address it, but most often, even if the edges do unravel a bit, such as in the wash, they tangle together, finishing themselves off, much like a pair of cutoff jeans. Also, seams that happen to be cut along the bias won't unravel.

So, my new mid-spring sewing resolution: don't waste so much time on seams!

Now, off to make a petticoat!

1 comment:

  1. Yes, it's true that seams finish often finish themselves. I'm impressed with your resolution, because despite knowing this, I still cannot resist the urge to finish all my seams in some nice fashion... :) even though it takes time!