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Making an 1840s Dress Part 2: the Stiffened Petticoat

Back in the day, a woman would wear up to 6(!) petticoats under her dress, to archive that bell-shaped silhouette. Crinolines were not yet invented, they would make their debut in a few years.

Meanwhile, women solved this problem with wearing a lot of petticoats, some of them stiffened, either through quilting several layers together, of by inserting endless rows of “cording” between two layers of fabric.

All this had to be done by hand, I dread to think of the time they needed to sew one petticoat like that. I’m fortunate enough to have a sewing machine, but even so, I was not prepared to go to such lengths.

So I decided to go with horsehairbraid instead of cording, inserting only four rows in total. I’m quite pleased with how this turned out, though of course it’s not historically accurate.  Below, you can watch the construction video. Enjoy!

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