Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Countess' New Clothes- Quilted Petticoat Part 1

Before I really get into working on the mantelet itself, I need to start with the quilted petticoat. I'm cheating a little bit because I bought pre-quilted fabric a while ago, for just such a project. Buying an old quilt with some variation in the quilting motif would have been nicer, but we live and learn.

I also have been collecting lots of pictures of extant petticoats in museums and private collections, and in so doing I've come to a realization; nowhere can I find an example of one with a ruffle on the bottom. Hmm.
Hooded caraco and quilted petticoat, 1775
Mid-century quilted petticoat
1753 quilted silk petticoat, the Met
This example from the Met is really interesting for its stripes of different fabric. It's also a really useful for pointing out the bunching of the fabric around the waistband. If you don't want to add that much bulk, what do you do with a quilted fabric? This red petticoat from Williamsburg has the answer; a band of thinner, unquilted fabric at the top which can accomodate either a waistband and ties, or even a drawstring channel without adding much thickness.

So I think I'll be leaving the pink ruffle off of my petticoat, and save it for an upper petticoat or trim on something else. I'll also be using the thinner fabric and an applied waistband to close. If anyone has seen illustrations or garments contrary to my research, I'd love to know about it.


  1. This outfit is going to be soooo cute! I love the colours you are using.

    I've never seen a quilted petticoat with a ruffle. The striped Met one has also intrigued me. It's so striking. I wonder if the stripes were totally a design feature, or because the seamstress was short on fabric...

  2. I had a little conversation with myself about it and we decided that if a petticoat was to be worn under another one, of course you wouldn't put a ruffle on it to kick the hem out; you'd save that for the upper petticoat.

    My bet is that given the lack of self-made horizontal striping elsewhere it was a necessity on that petticoat. Maybe the seamstress had two small or partially-ruined ones and needed to make one big one. Inventive!