I have received some questions from you guys asking what I wear under my petticoats to give that super-poof shape. Well…it ain’t pretty. I don’t have picture-perfect panniers, or layers and layers of ruffled, pintucked, or embroidered petticoats. While I would like to, in the end i’m kindof lazy when it comes to the under things – I go for the overall look and tend to use whatever means possible to achieve that. Here we go:
Layer 1 – Bumpad.
This goes on first (over chemise, stays, anything else closest to the skin). It’s a crescent shape with three partitions, and ties around the waist.
|Bumpad (this is showing the side back)
Layer 2 – The Puffer. (technical term)
This ugly thing works wonders. Seriously, it makes all the difference. It’s cheap pre-quilted fabric gathered into a waistband and tied around the waist. It’s a short length for no particular reason (could be longer, could have a massive ruffle attached), and it *really* adds the volume to the upper part of the skirt, to give that nice full shape. I also wear this over my hoop skirt for mid-Victorian, to help achieve the bell shape of that period.
|The Ugly Puffer, but this thing WORKS
Layer 3 – Petticoat.
This is a basic muslin petticoat, made just like the one in this tutorial. It’s floor-length, although I do pin it up sometimes if I’m wearing a walking-length skirt. I wear this petticoat with pretty much everything, including over my mid-Victorian hoop skirts.
|Pretty basic – ties on front and back with shoe laces
Layer 4, 5, 6, 7 – More Petticoats, if I had them.
I love the massively puffy skirts of the 18th c., so when I get off my lazy bum and make another petticoat, I will pile that one on as well. Stack on the the ruffles, the cording, the pleats!
Top Layer – Your Skirt(s).
The last layer is what shows on the outside. I almost always wear taffeta for 18th c. (or cotton), and this material also adds fullness to the overall look. If you are wearing heavier materials, I recommend more petticoats or underlayer supports so that heavier skirt doesn’t smoosh down your poof.
|The taffeta skirt – might be a petticoat itself, for an open-front gown, or might pair it with a jacket.
And that’s it. It’s about as paired down as it can be, and even when I look at photos now I think “I need to make more petticoats!” Don’t be afraid of the super-poof, ladies, it only makes your waists look smaller! I hope this has been of some help, and as always, comments are welcome 🙂