Sunday, April 10, 2011

1950's Petticoat... Chapter 3

 Gathering the Waist
Skirt Sections 
At this point in the game we should have 3 skirt sections ready for waist gathering. Just like all the gathering in this project... do this in the method that you prefer. I'm using a long straight stitch and tight needle tension. When your done the skirts waist length should be the same as your waistband, i.e. 10-12" longer than your real waist measurement.  So just to reiterate, 3 skirt sections, 3 separately gathered waist, at a measurement that is 10-12" longer than your waist


Cut your waistband  10-12" longer than your actual waist measurement and 3" wide. You can use whatever fabric you like. I chose a matte swimwear knit... but it's your petticoat! do as you choose! You will also need to cut a 1" wide piece of elastic 2" shorter than your waist measurement.  

Sew your elastics ends together into a continuous loop. 
Sew your waistband ends together into a continuous loop.

Fold the waistband in half horizontally, inserting the waistband inside the fold. Using a scant 1/4" seam allowance make a casing for the elastic. Move the excess waistband fabric around the elastic loop as you go. Be sure not to catch any elastic in the seam

At this point all of the waistband extra fabric will be pushed to one part of the elastic loop. Push around the extra fabric on the elastic and evenly distribute the excess.  Now using a 1/2" seam allowance just barely catch the elastic in the seam. As your sewing you should stretch the elastic so that you have a smooth surface. 

Your completed waistband should look something like this.

Attach the Waistband to the Skirt

 Find all the center seams on the skirt yokes, and pin them together.

Find the center seam on your waistband and pin it to the seam on the skirt yokes. This will be the petticoats center back. As usual with fitting a gathered piece to an ungathered piece, find and match the back centers, center fronts, and the side centers and work all of the excess fabric evenly throughout the waistband. The most tricky part of this is making sure that all the layers of tricot are even and that your not leaving a bit of the skirt out. You could of course sew all three layers of tricot together, and gather them all together, but I've found that you get more volume if the layers are gathered seperately. You could also sew each layer to the waistband seperately. But, why? If you are careful, and pin heavily and watch carefully as you sew, you'll catch all the layers and your petticoat will be awesome! :) You'll use a 1/2" Seam allowance to attach the waistband to the skirts... just follow the same stitching that secures the elastic inside it's casing.

The last thing you'll do is to try the petticoat on. Make sure it fit's right before you finish off the raw edge where the waistband and skirts are attached with a serger.

It's a nice fluffy petticoat... if you would like an even fluffier one add more layers! :) Shorten the skirt by shortening the lengths of the yokes and main ruffle.

Have fun Sewing! :)

** edited to add...
If you'd like a shorter petticoat, For every inch shorter subtract 1/2" from the yokes and 1" from the main ruffle. So if you'd like a 15" petticoat, subtract 3" from the yoke and 6" from the main ruffle.**


  1. Wow! Thank you so much for doing this! Please post more tutorials, your end result looks so professional!

  2. I'm really glad you guys like this tutorial! If you do decide you use it please send me pics! I'm super curious! :)