Saturday, July 17, 2010

Petticoat Tutorial

 For the last day of the Anne of Green Gables Fashion Week, I hope you can use a tutorial on making your own petticoat to make any outfit instantly "Victorian" and feminine and romantic. This is a modern petticoat, quick and easy, and it will require you to spend some money and buy a specific fabric, unless you find some soft eyelet curtains with a pretty border to "upcycle."

I did this petticoat in about an hour; that counts in many interruptions, having to wind a new bobbin (make sure you have a full bobbin before you start!) and take care of dinner. This project can be done in close to  a half an hour though.

 First, you will need to go to the fabric store and buy some eyelet material that has a fancy border on it. These embroidered fabrics with decorative borders may or may not have places to weave ribbon. You will need about 2 yards.

Wash and dry the fabric. Even up the edges of your fabric if it was cut crookedly. You are going to use the entire 2 yards and simply fold it in half, selvage at the top and border at the bottom, and sew one side seam. I did a french seam on mine.
 To do the French Seam (my way), fold the fabric right side out (you can tell the right side of eyelet from the wrong side this way: the right side embroidery is smooth and shiny, and you can see a rougher stitching on the wrong side). Sew 1/4 inch away from raw edge all the way from selvage to border. Then turn fabric around wrong side out and press the edge of that seam.
 You can see the pressed edge of the seam on the right. Now sew down that edge again, wrong side out, and take up a 3/8" seam. Press. Usually when you do a French seam, you trim the edge after the first step. I am in too much of a hurry to do stuff like that, and most likely would cut right through the seam trying to trim it. This way, I take up a total of 5/8" for the seam.

Hold the fabric up to yourself, and fold down the top for the waistband casing. You may want a narrow drawstring, or an elastic waistband. Right now fold down an estimate of how much you will need. Then check the length. You may like it ankle length, or tea length. However you like it, you will need to take enough tucks to get the border up off of the floor to the length you prefer.
  In the above photo you see my petticoat on the ironing board. If your embroidered design is straight (mine was a bit crooked, so I had to fudge a bit on some of the tucks), you can fold the material along one of the designs and keep your tucks in the same place. If you need to, use a ruler and mark them. I decided to make a fold along one of the rose rows. I have the wrong side up here.

 Above, I have folded the material along those roses, wrong sides together, and pressed the edge.

 Sew the tuck, keeping the folded edge at the 5/8" seam line. You can take a deeper tuck if you would like. I am needed 3 tucks on my petticoat, each took in 1-1/4 inches.

 Ta-da! One tuck is completed. You can decide to take your tucks close together, or far apart; make them fat or thin, do whatever you like. Make as many as you need to get the petticoat the right length.

My tucks are close together as you see in the photo, and are above the ribbon trim. I added green ribbon, because it was Anne's color. It isn't my color, but it is a petticoat so it does not much matter!

 When you have the tucks done, you can do the waistband. I use waistband elastic, but one could do a drawstring waist just as easily. In the above photo I have folded and pressed the selvage edge along the embroidered design; if your design is strait, you can do that, but if it is crooked like mine was, use a ruler to help get it even.

Fold down the selvage edge, press, and sew, leaving an opening for inserting the waistband or drawstring. If you want to wear this with a skirt, all the gathers can be a bit bulky; I wear mostly dresses so it does not bother me, but one could make it looser so it sits on the hips instead of the waist.

 I added a bow and rosebud. It may not be seen, but life is short so why not sew ribbon roses to your slip?
Here the petticoat is under a regency drawstring gown made by Rebecca of Baker Lane. I'll bet Anne would have worn a dress like this, if it had been in style at the time!
Anne probably would not have shown her petticoat on purpose, but I think it is very pretty nowadays to have a lacy edge to the hem of a dress.

By the way, if anyone is interested in a timeline of Anne, you can see one here. The link has a lot of ads, I'll warn you. However, it explains Anne's life and times plainly and I will offer it to my readers and spare everyone my lecture about how upsetting it was to see Sullivan Entertainment take Anne out of her time context in the third Anne movie, which story and time ought to have been Rilla's. It makes my blood pressure go up just thinking about the subject!
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