Monday, 2 November 2015

Victorian Ball 2015 - Crinoline/Petticoat

The next layer in my 1850s ensemble was the crinoline, which is possibly my favourite part.  I really enjoy making structural pieces, and I was very pleased with the bell shape I was able to achieve here.  I'm indebted to the tutorial by 'the Laced Angel' on how to draft a round hoop skirt.  The method involves drawing out the shape you want, and then scaling up to get the measurements for the hoops.  You can see my workings out below.

I decided to give it a very modest circumference (241cm for the bottom hoop), as I am quite petite and didn't want it to overwhelm me.  The Ball would also be my first outing in a crinoline so I wanted to play it safe a little bit.  For the next one I'll be more adventurous!

Construction was very simple.  I used narrow gauge steel boning from Vena Cava for the hoops.  I'd bought a 10m roll of plain white cotton at the start of the project from Empee Silks (a massive fabric warehouse in North London) and used it for most of the undergarments, including my chemise, my petticoat, and Becky's petticoat.  To add a splash of colour, I dyed some of it yellow for the crinoline.

The cotton was just a rectangle of fabric wide enough to take the longest hoop.  I hemmed it and made a channel at the top.  The boning channels were made in cotton tape, applied to the underside of the fabric before sewing up the back seam.  Each hoop was pre-cut to size, slotted through, and secured with a brass joint.  The top is gathered to the waist with another length of cotton tape slotted through the channel.  Finally I gathered a long length of cotton on a piece of cord, and handstitched it to the lowest hoop to create the frill.

I am really pleased with the gentle bell shape I achieved, and with how easily it all came together.

And here it is with my petticoat over the top.  The petticoat was very simple.  Two widths of cotton sewn together with fell seams, and gathered to a waistband with a hook and bar closure.  It was all machine sewn and came together very quickly.

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