attack_laurel (attack_laurel) wrote,

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!): 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)...
Tags: costume, research, sca, sewing
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