A Mid-to-Late 1860s Elliptical Hoop Skirt

Jan 23, 2015 7 comments
One of the things that became obvious with my purple 1860s gown was that my underpinnings were no longer doing the job.

Due to shortage of fabric, I cut my 1860s skirt in gores, perfectly period for the second half of the 1860s, but what I didn't do was make the correct hoop skirt for the job - an elliptical hoop, rather than a basic round cage crinoline.

This lack of correct hoopage caused the skirt to drape funny, and also resulted in horrible lampshade skirt, since my round hoop didn't have a flounce at the hem, nor did my petticoat. All of these added up to one verdict: it was time to make a proper hoop.

So I fissed and fussed around on the internet for awhile, too stubborn to just order the right pattern, and came up with a plan for making my own. (ladies, just order the Laughing Moon Lady's Hoops and Bustles Pattern - 1856 - 1900 pattern and save yourself the pain). Luckily it appears to have been a success:

Elliptical hoop, needing a bit of adjustment still for a smooth silhouette

I can see where I need to adjust the hoops a bit to create that nice smooth line. And as always, the Ugly Puffer makes an appearance to help create the right shape:

Tonight's project (before tomorrow's event) will be to make a proper floor-length flounced petticoat to further fill and puff and smooth. The one here is not long or flouncy enough, though it does the job in a pinch:

A stand-in all-purpose petticoat, soon to be replaced with a full-length flounced petticoat
The final output is nice, though, and the issues appear to have been solved. I'm still not 100% sold on this particular silhouette, but at least it's looking more like it should now...

...but it all works together!


  1. Interesting, as I have never worn a puffer. I only used to wear multiple petticoats over the hoop.

    1. I know it's make shift..but interesting idea nevertheless.

  2. Eye candy at it's best!


  3. Such nice pcitures, showing how it all comes together. I was also to stubborn to buy a pattern when I made my hoop skirt for my wedding, and second the notion of buying a pattern! I just hope I remember that before I try doing the same with the bustle.

  4. Awesome! I've got to make me one of them there "ugly puffers." ;)

  5. Awesome. It was fabulous deign for the women.


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