November 8, 2022

When in Doubt, Add Another Petticoat

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single petticoat must be accompanied by at least a second petticoat, if not more, to provide the proper support for a fashionable overskirt.  When we last left off, I had completed an 1880s flounced petticoat, and decided that I needed a second, shorter petticoat to complete my Bustle Era undergarment set:

Completed 1880s petticoat with decorative flounce, intended to be worn under a bustle.

Construction Details

My "underpetticoat" is constructed very similarly to the flounced petticoat of my last post, so I won't go into too much detail here.  I based the pattern on Truly Victorian's 1885 Four-Gore Underskirt, pattern TV261, adjusting the hem lengths of the front and side-front panels.  For the back, I did cut two narrower panels, which were seamed and flat-felled for a center-back opening.  The rest of the panels were French seamed to encase any raw edges, and I finished the waist with bias tape.  

After looking at a few original examples, I chose to add a drawstring across the back to gather the fullness.  This allows for a more adjustable fit, and I can hide some of the bulk by wearing it slightly lower than my natural, corseted waist. 

Waist detail with bias tape finish and drawstring across the back. 
The sides and front of the petticoat are shaped with darts to sit flat against the wearer.

Once the top was finished, I turned by attentions to the hem.  I finished the petticoat with a 1" turned hem, and used the same cord gathering method as before to mount a shorter, more proportional flounce.  Lastly, I covered the raw edges with eyelet beading lace, and ran a blue satin ribbon through the eyelets.

Flounce detail featuring a scalloped whitework hem, eyelet beading lace, and blue satin ribbon.

While not the most impressive project, I am very happy to have a complete, matching set of 1880s undergarments, including this underpetticoat, lobster tail bustle, and flounced petticoat!


Completed Project Pictures

Finished 1880s "underpetticoat" with decorative flounce.

Side view of petticoat.

Other side view of petticoat.

Side back view of petticoat.

Back view of petticoat with drawstring and center back closure.
Notice the gently shaped hem, which is longer in the back than front.

If you've been following on Facebook, you may know that I recently had the chance to sport my Bustle Era undergarments for the "Ladies of the '80s" gallery presentation.  This included modeling each layer of an 1880s reproduction ensemble for the live "getting dressed" portion.  Here's what the petticoats looked like in action:

Modeling the first petticoat.

Adding a second petticoat over the bustle for maximum volume!

Now onto making some dresses so I can live my best Victorian lady life...


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