|Well shoot, this didn't work....|
I threw together my 1720s-1740s Robe Volante petticoat this weekend. It went so fast - I measured, I shaped the top, I knocked out the hem, I pleated and bound and was so pleased, so very pleased. Then I put it on only to see an ill-shaped lump of skirt hanging in all sorts of weird ways. What had gone wrong?
|A big lump o' petticoat with an uneven hem - what went wrong?|
There are precious few resources for just petticoats from the first half of the 18th century, but I found a couple that showed the fullness over the hoops at the top being controlled either by gathering or pleating horizontally out from the waist. This presents a challenge with pocket slits - they simply can't be put in-seam the way we're all used to because they're part of the problem with the petticoat collapsing on the sides.
So...what to do?
You're probably familiar with this image from The Met:
|The Met, petticoat from a Robe a la Francaise, c. 1760-70, 2009.300.903a,b.|
|I made my drawstring sections 15 inches long on each side but they could have been longer. I'm not entirely sure what the right ratio of drawstring-to-pleated-into-waistband should be.|
|If I'd made my drawstring sections longer I might've had more hole for my pockets - I didn't get this construction exactly right but it's better than it where I started.|
|I didn't include measurements here for how to pleat into the waist, how much for the drawstrings, how much to dip the waist front and back, because these all depend on your panniers.|
|Before on the left, After on the right - you can see it's got a much, much better shape. I didn't get it exactly right at the top with the drawstrings but it's a big step towards better.|