Revolution Dress – Undies!

This is just a quick post on underwear, in all its glory.  As you know, I’ve started this latest 18th c. gown project with the basics, a proper set of proper undies.

My usual mode was to wear stays over a tanktop, and pull the straps down if they would show.  I have my skirt supports, and one single full-length petticoat I wear for everything from 1560s to 1860s.  And this time I didn’t even have stays, on account of selling the gold pair.  But never again!

This pair of stays fits my body much better than the green ones – they’re higher in front, over the bust, and the strap tabs come up much higher on the sides and have a strip of boning in them to help with side-boob issues.  I’m trying out the ribbon straps to see how I like them.  I don’t expect they’ll lend the same kind of posture support as proper built-in straps, but we’ll see how they feel, and if there are problems with slipping or cutting.

The petticoat is made of lightweight cotton muslin, but I can’t believe how heavy it is!  It is 5 yards in the skirt itself, pleated up to two waistbands (front and back), with pocket openings at the side.  The flounce is 10 yards, gathered on a cord (MUCH easier than thread gathering), and rather painstakingly arranged onto the skirt.  In truth, I hated making it, but I love the result.  If you want to make a petticoat like this, I recommend following The Dreamstress’ tutorial on making a flounce petticoat, mashed up with my tutorial on making an 18th c. petticoat.


  • Anna

    April 29, 2011 at 3:06 AM

    I love 18thc underthings! Too bad it's not proper to run around in them. Do you remember width-wise how many inches your petticoat is? I made one the other day and it doesn't have nearly the floof that yours does so I'm wondering if that's just sheer amount of fabric…or is the Ugly Puffer hiding under there? And I really dislike you for how quickly you got the stays done 🙁 I agonized over mine for weeks and they still have something strange going on.

  • Lauren R

    April 30, 2011 at 12:58 AM

    Hi guys, thank you so much!

    Annabelle – the Ugly Puffer is indeed hiding under the petticoat, along with the bumpad, and it really helps it to stand out. The petticoat is 5 yards in total, pleated into 27 inches at the waistbands, and the flounce is about 20" deep, and 10 yards long.

    ZipZip – the fabric for the chemise is cotton voile from Dharma Trading Company. I cannibalized the skirt of an old Regency dress and used the fabric to make the chemise, so it had been washed at least 3 or 4 times, which made it very nice and soft.

    The chemise has rather large gussets under the arm, and I made it short sleeve for comfort's sake. Short sleeve shifts did exist as well as the longer, fuller sleeved examples. The neckline is cut into a very broad curve, then turned with bias of the same voile, with a drawstring through it, and that's the gist of it 🙂

  • The Dreamstress

    May 2, 2011 at 5:52 AM

    What a fascinating pair of stays. I must go back and read your posts on them and then pester you with dozens of questions.

    Also, thanks for the linky 🙂

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