The Underskirt

Elizabethan women would have at least one petticoat, or worn multiple petticoats for warmth if necessary. Since keeping warm was the last thing on my mind and I just wanted one for swish and color I only bothered making a single one. It’s made of plain rust-red quilting cotton from Joan’s – 3 yards for the skirt plus a bit for the interfaced waistband.

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  • I used a definitely non-period Simplicity skirt pattern 2226 for a wide waistband, so as to drop the gathered part of the petticoat safely below the level where the kirtle will be gathered. I wanted to avoid having all that fabric right at my waist, if possible. I hand-stitched down the inner panel of the yoke on a four-hour drive to a job site while the intern took the wheel. (Thanks, Lydia!)
top row = nice neat machine stitches. bottom row = lazy long hand- sewn stitches.
top row = nice neat machine stitches. bottom row = lazy long hand- sewn stitches.
  • hem cheat – used the closed side of the selvage at the bottom, so I didn’t have to double-fold the hem.
  • I initially just did one eyelet on each side to lace the skirt closed, but I might add one more on each side if I have time. Or just do skirt hooks, because the lacing is a pain.
  • I hand-sewed a tuck in the hem to take 1.5 inches off of the length, which did wonders for mobility and not dragging it through the dirt. Authentic petticoats can be as short as mid-calf, which would probably help even more with walking.
  • Cotton stretches with wear and sweat even when interfaced, as I’m finding out – you might add in some extra hooks to make adjusting your skirt mid-day easier.
Detail view of the hand-stitched tuck I added to shorten the shirt
Detail view of the hand-stitched tuck I added to shorten the shirt after I had already hemmed it.
Detail view of eyelet that close the skirt
Detail view of hand-sewn eyelets that close the skirt
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Petticoat under kirtle
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