The Lady Adventurer

Costuming shenanigans

Petticoat nearly finished!

The majority of the petticoat is done!

(sorry for the really bad picture)

(sorry for the really bad picture)

Please note that in the picture above, my dress dummy is set taller than I am, to hang the skirt before hemming.  I am not that Amazonian.  The skirt is attached except for a tiny part at the side front on either side, where the front piece is attached to the back, and I am planning to put in a pocket.  The bodice is finished except to finish the armholes by hand.

One of the trickier things in making petticoats/ kirtles is to get the front of skirts looking right when you have a pointed or curved bodice.   While round or natural waistlines are probably actually more period for peasants than pointed waists,  I’ve found pointed waists much more flattering on me.  But if you just take a rectangular skirt and stick it on a pointy waist, you get these massively unattractive bulges and ripples down the front, and it will never lie smoothly.  Essentially, you need to make the top of the skirt match the bottom of the bodice in shape.

To make the front of the skirt, I simply took a rectangle of fabric, and cut it on the diagonal.  Then, I sewed the straight sides together to form an isosceles triangle.  Like so:


The finished skirt front will like something like the shaded part  below when all is said and done,  with the top shaped to match the bodice, and the bottom hem curved to lie evenly.


There are two ways to get that top curve correct.  The first is to lay out your skirt flat, put your bodice pattern over it, and trace.  I used a slightly more complex method – I put on the bodice, stuffed the point of the triangle up the front until the front of the skirt looked good to me, and then traced a line around the bottom of the bodice onto the skirt.

Put on the bodice...

Put on the bodice…

And make a chalk line around the bottom edge of the bodice.

And make a chalk line around the bottom edge of the bodice.

I used yellow thread to baste through the chalk line, so that it would not get worn off as I worked.


Fold along the line, and whipstitch, right side to right side.


The points of the triangle can be cut off and finished, and the center seam opened enough to let you get into and out of the darn thing.

Coming soon:  Hems!


About The Author


Leave a Reply