(Scroll to bottom to see a progress report of the second style of petti!)
So: corded petticoats. Gorgeous, yet maddening.
I’ve had one on my mind for a while because I had the pleasure of watching Orisen create hers last month (pictured below).
They’re incredibly useful, and had their heyday from the 1830s through the 1850s – the era of enormous skirts. Boned hoops were invented in 1858, but corded petticoats remained good substitutes, if hotter and heavier, until Natural Form styles hit in the late 1870s. Making one yourself is quite cheap; a few yards of cotton and a roll or three of cording, and you’re set – except for the time required. Cording is incredibly time-consuming!
Scene set. I had all of this on my mind, and knew that my ’30s ensemble wasn’t satisfactorily complete until I had at least one corded petti. But I have things to do, so I pushed the thought aside. And what do I find on my most recent thrift store trip?
A corded duvet cover. Examples below:
Yes, yes, nobody is going to spend two hundred plus dollars on a new duvet cover to turn into a petticoat – not when you can buy one at that price! Again, this was thrifted. My suggestion is to just keep an eye out!
The duvet cover that I found was corded with 1/8″ lines about 1″ apart. I neglected to take proper photos of this process, oops. (I can draw a diagram if anyone requests.) The cords only ran across the middle of the duvet (which was obnoxiously block striped in three colors, but what can you do…). I figured out how many lines of cording there were, cut horizontally along the middlemost line of cording to create two halves of equally corded material, and re-lined them up at the sides to make one veeery long corded petticoat. Really. So much gathering.
More petticoat than I needed, really! But there we go – a full corded petticoat for $20 in materials (duvet cost at the shop) and two hours or so of sewing. Honestly, I could probably have left each half on its own as a petticoat, too!
A classy series of screenshots of me putting it on… The colors show that the left side of the petticoat was cut from underneath that right side. And the white waist part, well – that reduces bulk at the waist! The petticoats we had at work this summer were enormous drawstring contraptions, and added quite a bit to the waist with all that gathering. Making the petticoat gather lower down saves a lot of pain!
Aaand for the second petticoat! I hit up a new fabric store and found pre-corded silk remnants for super cheap. Unlike the duvet covers, which tend to be sparsely corded with thicker cord, these corded silks were much more densely corded with thinner yarns. It still gives great body, and meant that I had more to work with (since the duvets were only partially corded, and the silk was corded throughout.)
I made this one full length and pleated it at the waistband. I’ll wear the other one if I’m worried about waist bulk; this one will be great for 1830s stuff and my faux-historical designs.