18th c. Red Petticoat Re-Fashion

Woot! The first project of 2015 is complete, and piece #1 of my Robe a la Turque is ready.

Refashioned red petticoat with apron
This petticoat was once a sad, sad tube. It was too narrow and looked utterly ridiculous. What to do?
Rip it apart!
Here’s what it originally looked like – way WAY too narrow
I removed the dagged flounce from the hem, cut the dags off, and used the panels to add more width to the petticoat. What was once a meager 75″ hem (how the hell did I ever think that would work?) is now a proud 114.5″.
Two panels on each side added plenty of fullness to the back
Of course, this came with caveats.
The panels I filched from the hem flounce are cut on the opposite grain from the skirt panels, which means the light hits them differently than the other panels in the skirt. In total I added 5 panels, two on each side seam, and one down the center front. And the panels have extensions on them too, at the top, so this is one pieced out petti…
The panels weren’t quite long enough, so I added extensions at the top. I chose the top because they would be better hidden by gowns or jackets than if placed at the hem.
…but beggars can’t be choosers.  
I would rather fix something and have it usable than have wasted the time, money, and fabric on something that just sits in my closet. So pieced out the wazoo on whatever grain, I don’t care. It’s now an excellent petticoat for use under a gown, as a foundation petticoat, or even on its own, worn with a skirted caraco and an apron to cover all my sins.
Plus it feels good to have accomplished something. Now on to the more complicated stuff!


  • Caroline

    January 9, 2015 at 5:08 PM

    Looks great! And don't let the different direction of the fabric bother you at all. You know how that 18th century use-every-scrap-of-fabric and piecing mindset works. You're totally good 🙂

  • Jeni B

    January 9, 2015 at 5:09 PM

    Well I think it looks great, and historically accurate too. People were always chooping up and moving bits a fabric round on the clothes to make the most of the fabric, which at the time was a lot more expensive than it is now for us. So what's a few slubs between friends! As you say you can always hide them if you think they look too conspicuous, but frankly not many people will be getting that close to notice which way the grain runs back there!
    Looking forward to your next project!

    • Lauren Stowell

      January 10, 2015 at 12:19 AM

      Very true! One of my favorite historical examples of piecing is from a 16th century doublet that pieced in two different designs of cut velvet, and if it hadn't been pointed out in the picture, I never would have known!

  • Anonymous

    January 9, 2015 at 7:36 PM

    Love the whole idea of this project, and the outcome is spectacular! Piecing like this is so satisfying, and you can just hear all our ancestral sempstresses quietly applauding our efforts. Good job! and thanks for sharing!

    • Lauren Stowell

      January 10, 2015 at 12:20 AM

      Thank you! It feels great to make something finally useful. I had only worn this petticoat once before and it was so embarrassing that I shoved it in my closet for two years, until now 🙂

  • Sarah W

    January 9, 2015 at 9:20 PM

    Much, much better – skimpy petticoats are not nice! Agreed on what the others have said regarding the period practice of piecing. I think it adds a certain charm to be honest…

    I once made a mid 1800's lower class dress from 1,5×2,5 meters of plaid fabric – that took an *insane* amount of piecing, and involved adding another fabric into the front of the skirt, where it would be hidden by the apron – as found in extant dresses: http://amostpeculiarmademoiselle.blogspot.se/2013/05/swedish-mid-1800s-commoners-dress.html

    • Lauren Stowell

      January 10, 2015 at 12:21 AM

      I agree, it does seem to add character.

      I LOVE your super-pieced day dress. Wow, that is intense! It feels awesome to end up with just the teeniest scraps left, too. No waste!

  • C

    January 12, 2015 at 7:47 AM

    Wow that's kind of crazy… I remember this being made originally and it didn't even occur to me how columnar it really was! I love it now, and the piecing makes it more interesting in my opinion.

  • Kara

    January 16, 2015 at 10:31 AM

    Great seeing that even the best of us will "cheat" when it comes to grain and extra seams. I'll have to remind myself that this is actually period accurate the next time I want to give up on a project because it can't be perfect.

Leave a Reply

Discover more from American Duchess Blog

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading