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Petticoat mania!

 I am feeling a tad cranky this morning, and narrowly avoided martyr behaviour ("I do all this work, and then you dis me?!") by re-writing an e-mail a number of times before I sent it.  I'm also cold, headachey, and just plain all-around bad-tempered (and achy).

No, I don't get PMS.  Not like that, anyway.  This is just me.

But - I have distractions!  People asked me questions, and they (mostly) make the post I was planning on!

We'll start with the questions, because they really are the meat of the post.  We'll finish with a couple of extras, just for the people who can make it that far...

taamar asks:  I adore that hat, where can I find one? All the straw hats I've found are either wall-hanging types (add fake flowers and hang, $1.99 at JoAnne), western, or Victorian. 

The hat was bought, untrimmed, at Williamsburg.  They have the high crowned hats as well as the little flat crown ones, and they're high-quality weaving - mine is at least seven years old, I think.  It's taken on the shape it has because of the constant wear - I can also document the turned-up back to 1600.  

 

aliskyeand  sstormwatchbasically asked the same thing - So, after you pinned all the pleats to the waistband, you were sewing the pleats a half-inch? or so down the pleat and not at the very top edge of the pleat?/where exactly are you sewing the pleats? 

The waistband is folded over, and the pleats are pinned about 1/2" in from the folded edge.  Then, I sew along the folded edge of the waistband, as you can hopefully see in these comparison pictures:

  
Picture #1:  The pins hold the raw edge of the skirt in place about 1/2" in from the waistband.  
Picture #2:  I turn the skirt over and work along the fold line of the waistband (click the picture to enlarge), about 1/2" in from the edge of the skirt edge.

Then,  sstormwatchasks:  And never going all the way through what exactly... the pleat or the waistband?

Never going all the way through the pleats.  Like with cartridge pleating, the pleat is not sewn down flat, but instead of working along the top edge of the pleat, sewing only half of the pleat to the waistband.  I sewed the edge of the pleat on both sides, but only stitching the part of the pleat that touched that side of the waistband, never going all the way through the pleats - unlike sewing down the pleats with a machine.  In fact, this method has to be done by hand.

sstormwatch again (hey, I like the questions!):  ...is it thick between the waistband? Or did the pleats end up getting a little flattened or what exactly?

The pleats did not flatten much as I sewed them, but the waistband was not particularly thick - I think the fine silk helped to keep the band thin, but it doesn't sit as wide or thick as one would think.  After wearing it all day in the heat, the pleats flattened at the top a little, but stayed pretty springy and a lot "fluffier" than they would have been if they were flat pleated:

 

Pic #1:  After sewing, before pins are removed
Pic #2:  After being worn all day.  Note size of waistband; the band stays very unbulky, and the pointing holes help to keep it flat.

isenglass asks:  I'm confused about the lacing holes. Are you pointing to the bodies? Where?

Heh.  Like this:

 

The lacing holes are set up to tie in the front, front sides, and side backs; this helps the entire skirt stay in place like a champion.  It really didn't shift all day.

cbellfleur asks:  You said the skirt had 5 yards of width, but that was silk. What would you recomend for a medium weight linen? And which direction was the fabric running - were the pleats on the selvedge? I'm assuming it was straight and not gored.

I use five yards for most of my skirts, because I like the very late period look of a fuller skirt.  You can create the slimmer 1580s look with about 3.5 yards.  I cut the pieces straight, not gored (that cut is meant to be worn over a farthingale), and I cut them across the fabric - i.e., I measure the length of the skirt along the selvage, and cut across the width, giving me three 45" (minimum) wide panels with the selvage on the sides.  

This means that each panel in a 43" long skirt can be 45-60 inches wide, adding more width and reducing wasted yardage than if I just used the straight 3.5 yards and cut off the hem.  This is particularly good for me, because even 45" wide fabric is too long, and I end up with a very long narrow strip of fabric I can't use, and a skirt that is only 3.2 yards wide (allowing for waistband), as opposed cutting it the other way, which, with 45" wide fabric, means the skirt is 3.75 yards wide.  Go up to a 60" width, and my skirt width increases to almost 5 yards for 3.5!

The 5 yard silk petticoats were 45" and 54" wide respectively, and I get four panels out of that, making the periwinkle one 5 yards around (with room left over for a waistband and a little extra), and the pink one 6 yards around.

A wool skirt and a linen (blend) skirt using 3.5 yards of material:

  

Both are cartridge pleated; as you can see, they have quite a bit of width to them, because both bolts were 60" wide.

And finally,  mistressarafinaasks about the jacket:  Did you add in gores at the waist or did you cut the skirt with the flare in it? 

I used the pattern Janet Arnold took from the Laton jacket, so there are gores in the front and the back.  Interestingly, Alcega shows a cassack pattern that uses a single cut doublet and skirt which could very easily be turned into a jacket by an enterprising seamstress (and I'm willing to bet, was, especially considering how women appropriate men's dress), so the concept of a non-gored jacket is not out of the realm of possibility.  If you do the gores, I highly recommend hand-sewing them - they sit a lot better that way, since the jacket is cut to facilitate hand-sewing.

A close-up of the gores:



They're sewn in slightly contrasting thread, so barely visible.

Lastly, I just wanted to revisit how cool the new (to me) pleating method looks - it really looks like the picture and the extant pieces:

   
Picture  (Jan Steen)                                             My petticoat                                                    1660s petticoat

...Okay, they're not identical, but they do bear a significant passing resemblance (ish).

And this is a close-up of the stitching:



As you can see, you end up with a tiny ridge of silk (this happens on fine fabrics), but it doesn't show at all from the front.

And, as a reminder, the difference between gathering and pleating:

 

It's subtle, but it makes a definite difference.

Love the petticoat, pet the petticoat, but don't loooooove the petticoat (it's dry clean only)...

Comments

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maricelt
Jul. 16th, 2008 02:35 pm (UTC)
Lovely. Thanks. Interesting looking at your pleated petticoat and comparing that to how I hung the pleats on my canary pleated petticoat. I might be asking to see it in person at Pennsic.
bantiarna
Jul. 16th, 2008 02:41 pm (UTC)
Another question and one I bet you get frequently. In the picture of you in the pink and green, how many layers are you wearing from the skin out?
attack_laurel
Jul. 16th, 2008 03:11 pm (UTC)
I am wearing a shift, two linen under petticoats, the pink petticoat pointed to a silk pair of bodies, and the jacket. :)
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mistressrhi
Jul. 16th, 2008 02:43 pm (UTC)
Oh, I dig the up close photos of the hat! It's so hard to find a decent one... Or in my case, not manage to destroy one after you find it.

Yep, I totally agree that pleating is sooo much nicer, but you are so much more patient with handwork than I (and more willing to hand-sew).

But keep inspiring! You stir possibilities within me! ;-) Maybe one day, you can say, 'yep, I inspired her to give up her machine...'.

Mucho love. And I'm having a cranky myself, so I know how you feel!
heatermcca
Jul. 16th, 2008 02:56 pm (UTC)
If I may, let me weigh in on abandoning your machine for all but the rushest of rushed garb: I actually finish it *sooner*. For one thing, I can take it anywhere, which creates more opportunities to work on it (especially for items like bodies and sleeves and whatnot). For another thing, I'm far less likely to make a mistake because I'm focussed better and going a bit slower; and even in the event of the rare mistake which exception proves the rule, well, they've yet to invent a sewing machine that can take out its own stitching. I'm pretty firmly convinced that a machine just lets you make mistakes that much quicker - and there you are, slowly picking out stitching. And I like to set the machine for smaller stitch lengths for strength in the final garment....
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Straw hats - strawberrykaren - Jul. 17th, 2008 03:39 am (UTC) - Expand
kass_rants
Jul. 16th, 2008 02:44 pm (UTC)
Gorgeous! And thank you for the lovely photos.

You know what I find funny? This is exactly how I pleated the skirts onto the bodice of my very first attempt at reconstructing the Shinrone Gown, before I saw the original. (it's not actually how the original was done) I had no idea how it was attached or how things were sewn in period. I just knew that I had an inner bodice and an outer bodice and a whole lotta wool skirt to pleat between them. So I put one on one side and one on the other and didn't sew through them all because I was afraid it would make a bump.

I knew nothing whatsoever about period sewing at that point. I didn't know anything about modern sewing either. I just sewed what made the right shapes. I just did what seemed logical to me.

Hee! =)
attack_laurel
Jul. 16th, 2008 03:12 pm (UTC)
Hee! :) I has a logic.

Logic. I haz it.
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roswtr
Jul. 16th, 2008 02:46 pm (UTC)
Fascinating!
So let me add to the list of questions:

Do you point the petticoat to the bodies on both sides, or one side only? Is one of those points also your skirt opening? (I think that's what I'm seeing in the very last picture.)

I think you mentioned before that you finish the edges of your skirt panels first, and then sew the panels together. So looking at the picture of the stitching, you've used a running stitch to sew down the edges, and then whipstitched them together?

Thanks so much for the pics and descriptions! I've had people try to describe this to me before, but, well, it just seemed too easy to be true.
attack_laurel
Jul. 16th, 2008 03:14 pm (UTC)
Re: Fascinating!
1. The pettiocats are pointed all the way around - I use the lacing points laid out on the pfaltzgrafina bodies.

2. The opening of the skirt is where I lace it into the lacing of the bodies - I had a previous post about this technique. No-one knows for sure how they fastened their skirts.

3. Yes. I turn under the edges, and then whipstitch.

:) It is super easy.
heatermcca
Jul. 16th, 2008 02:52 pm (UTC)
"As you can see, you end up with a tiny ridge of silk (this happens on fine fabrics), but it doesn't show at all from the front."

I've found that you *can* flatten it out by hand a good bit while preserving the outward appearance, FWIW. Involves a little pulling and hand/finger pressing. My camera's out of juice, but once it's recharged, I'll see if I can get a picture of one seam where that happened. Sorta.
attack_laurel
Jul. 16th, 2008 03:15 pm (UTC)
Yes you can - I don't mind the tiny ridge, so I don't bother (it doesn't even sho when you're making something fitted - it's that tiny).
vom_schwarzwald
Jul. 16th, 2008 02:52 pm (UTC)
Whew! All that and you don't bleed all over the material from needle pokes? Talk about patience and talent!


I vaguely remember you using herbs as part of your apparel at an event...or it could just be not so advanced senility.

I am growing rosemary and provincial lavender...do you need any?
attack_laurel
Jul. 16th, 2008 03:15 pm (UTC)
No, thank you - I have a ton of dried both from the farm.
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sewloud
Jul. 16th, 2008 05:23 pm (UTC)
i can highly recommend their hats as well. Mine's taken a beating and held up remarkably
gwynubis
Jul. 16th, 2008 03:45 pm (UTC)
Are you pointing all 3 of the petticoats (2 linen and 1 silk) to the bodies?
attack_laurel
Jul. 16th, 2008 03:53 pm (UTC)
No, just the top one. The others are self-fastened at the front pointing holes. Since the object is to prevent gappage (as far as I can tell), only the top skirt needs to be pointed to the bodies. The under skirts are shorter, so there's no hem showing.
chartreusekitty
Jul. 16th, 2008 05:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! Do you have a close up of the inside of the waist of the petticoat? I was assuming that the inside of the pleats are "free" like in cartridge pleating, but I have a feeling that I'm wrong. Are they stitched to each other or is the waistband folded over and sewn to just the inner portion of each pleat? Thank you!
attack_laurel
Jul. 17th, 2008 10:08 am (UTC)
No, if you read the post again, you'll see that I stitched on both sides of the pleats - this is the point of this style of pleating - it produces the cartidge pleated look (which leaves the insides free), but is stitched in place on both sides.
(no subject) - chartreusekitty - Jul. 17th, 2008 04:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
peronel
Jul. 16th, 2008 05:04 pm (UTC)
Hi,

I'd be fascinated to know if you have any evidence for linen underpetticoats for this sort of period. My impression from the Essex wills is that petticoats are typically wool (often russet, sometimes say, at least for the lower sort) and frequently are upperbodied. I've rather assumed that the linen petticoat on a waistband is a reenactorism, and would be interested if you have any evidence to the contrary.

Secondly, have you tried stroking your gathers? I've found since I've started doing this that my gathers look rather more like your right hand example than they do the left, because everything lays much neater. Problem is, it's terribly tedious!

Thanks for posting this - it's always interesting to see how other people (particularly other hand-sewers) do things.

maricelt
Jul. 16th, 2008 05:27 pm (UTC)
Let me go find my citation from QEWU'L. I have seen in the inventories petticoats of linen, and one gathered one, I could swear.
And... - maricelt - Jul. 17th, 2008 12:05 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: And... - peronel - Jul. 17th, 2008 08:54 am (UTC) - Expand
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Linsey-Woolsey.... - myladyswardrobe - Jul. 18th, 2008 08:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
sewloud
Jul. 16th, 2008 05:25 pm (UTC)
facinating...and as I'm stuck at my parents with a broken car and a pile of linen and nothing else to do I may have a go at this method. I'm very very curious to try it out.
Thanks!
taamar
Jul. 16th, 2008 05:52 pm (UTC)
Oh, I went to the Williamsburg site and they show a picture of a market selling all the hats I want, but don't say which shop or give the option to buy online. GRR!!! That does me ne good here in Denver! The Jas. Townshend will have to do (wish they had the low-brimmed!)

http://www.history.org/visit/shopping/inAndAround/
mistressarafina
Jul. 16th, 2008 06:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification. I am beginning to really love gores. I am totally in love with this jacket. I've gotten a pretty good method to sew them in by machine. I'm just faster by machine. I think I may go back and put a decorative top stitch when I get done. I think these jacket are my new favorite thing to make ever. WOO!

elizabethankat
Jul. 16th, 2008 07:36 pm (UTC)
Lace-Braiding
I am very interested in creating my own trim for my Elizabethans and I noticed in a previous post about the jacket that you lace-braided your own trim for it.

What is lace-braiding? I've done fingerloop braiding before (of a simple style) but I've never heard of lace-braiding.

My husband and I have done most of our clothes on machines (except for sleeves and the shoulder wings as we use the bias-tape method and whipstitch those on) and we are starting to get into handsewing. Unfortunately about the only handsewing techniques we know are cartridge pleating and whipstitching. So it's been excellent seeing your handsewing.
elizabethankat
Jul. 17th, 2008 12:27 am (UTC)
Bodies and Jacket
And to add more questions... although I wear Elizabethan I have a small frame and no chest so I haven't worn bodies under my bodices and doublets (and I'm also in Arizona so I appreciate not having that layer of clothing). However, I plan to change that in the next year so that I can have a more period look. I know that you tie the petticoat into the bodies to keep the petticoat from gapping but how do you keep the jacket/bodice/doublet from moving up and showing the bodies underneath? How do you prevent that sort of gapping?
Re: Bodies and Jacket - attack_laurel - Jul. 17th, 2008 10:21 am (UTC) - Expand
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