Wednesday, October 23, 2013


My daughter enjoys vintage shopping and sewing and she prefers to create a similar silhouette when wearing her vintage dresses and skirts. In order to create that look she likes to wear similar undergarments that would have been worn in that era. Lately she has been coveting these super girly and fun petticoats.
Peggy Mays Vintage on Etsy
Some Like it Vintage on Etsy

Sadly these range from $50- $90 and are out of her price range. Lucky for her she has a super sewing mama to make one. At least I think...It really can't be that hard, right?
After looking around at Joann's and other stores I couldn't find the nylon chiffon all I could find was poly chiffon which felt crisp and cheap feeling I decided to search Etsy. I like to support my fellow Etsy stores when I can so I purchased 8 yards of white nylon chiffon fabric from Dream Spun Shop on Etsy. 

I should enough to make two, maybe dying the second one. I have this pattern from making costumes for plays. I also found this great blog post from Sugardale on the subject. 
Simplicity 5006
I decided to use the yoke from my pattern instead of gathering so much fabric like the sugardale tutorial, then add the 2 tiers as she shows. The first thing she recommends is to decide on a finished length. My daughter is petite and prefers to wear most of her skirts at her knees. We measured and she decided 21 inches for the finished length. The sugardale tutorial suggests you take your finished length, add in seam allowances of 1/2" ( easier math). So 1/2 " for the bottom tier, 1" for the middle tier, and then 1/2" for top tier. If you are doing an elastic waistband then you would also allow for a casing. You then take your total and divide it by 3, this gives you the amount for the length of each tier. 
She recommends that you cut the bottom tier the longest using 2, 4 yd parts, then the middle tier is 1/2 the size using 1, 4 yd part cut in half , then the top is 1/2 of that. confused? sorry...She uses 4 yds of fabric and stitches the ends together with french seams to prevent raveling and uses fray check. I am using nylon chiffon which has a nice clean edge when cut and doesn't ravel. I ordered 8 yds to have enough for 2 petticoats so I will not seam mine together but cut the 8 yd for my length instead of 2- 4 yd parts. I hope this is not terribly confusing?
My finished length will be 21" so I am cutting 1, 7 1/2 inches by 8 yd long for the bottom tier. Then 1, 7 inches by 4 yd long for thew middle tier, I am using 4 inches for the yoke (or last tier) and the pattern piece is much longer so I will shorten it. My daughter also would like a ruffle along the bottom from self fabric. I cut 1, 3  inch by 8 yards for the ruffle. 
My  total is 3+7.5+7+3.5+21 inches for my finished length.

Making ruffle using ruffle attachment

Working from the bottom up, I added the ruffle to my bottom tier. 

Working with this fabric is more time consuming than I expected. It doesn't fray but tends to roll on the edge and you have to use one hand to straighten it as you sew.

Next I did 2 basting/gathering stitches along the top of the bottom and middle tier.Then I gathered the bottom tier to match the middle tier and attached it.
 I then assembled the yoke piece together with a this french seam  added a casing and then hemmed it to have a nice finish. I used lining fabric that I had leftover from another project and it ravels like crazy. 

Next, I gathered the middle tier to fit sewing them together with a regular seam. 

Finished...or so I thought. We decided it didn't look full enough so I cut more of the long sections to add another layer to the middle and bottom tier. 

It would have been faster and easier to do this the first time as the fabric is so long and difficult to lay out and cut. I am starting to understand the high price tag for the petticoats above.

The total amount that I cut was 2, 7 1/2 inch 8 yard pieces. 2 7 inch 4 yard pieces, and 4, 3 inch by 8 yard pieces for ruffles. I do not have as much leftover for another petticoat as I had planned originally unless I wish to make it less fluffy, but that's no fun. 

Cost of the fabric: $30.50 with about half the amount needed for another petticoat leftover.
Everything else was from my stash, the pattern, elastic, yoke fabric, and thread.

It took me much longer than I thought to complete this. I will make another and I now know ways to make it easier and hopefully faster. The request is for a red one next.
Vintage vixen has a great post on how to wear a petticoat. For more inspiration and ideas check out my Petticoat board on Pinterest.


  1. Gorgeous petticoat! and it gives such a lovely feminine silhouette :)

  2. Yours is much nicer than the ones I used to wear. Mine were all made of net with a ruffle at the bottom. I wore several a time, sometimes 6 or 7! Mom made me one out of an old sheet. It had several ruffles down it and was heavily starched, was quite heavy to wear! When I was doing the "bunny hop" at a dance, it fell down! Fortunately I had a pin to refasten it with, but never forgot the embarrassment!

  3. She is quite lucky to have you! I love seeing petticoats peek from below skirt hems!