Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tutorial: Easy Petticoat of AWESOME

If you've noticed, I tend to wear petticoats underneath my dresses pretty often. The reason for this is twofold:

fold 1) I'm tallish, and I like my dresses to hit right below the knee. Often they do not. A petticoat underneath help with this.

fold 2) Dresses that are transparent/tend to cling are made awesomer by an underlayer. Some people would wear a slip to combat this. I wear a petticoat. The reasons for this are twofold:

sub-fold 1) Slips are often polyester, which makes me sweat like an unholy sweating thing. I'm not good with analogies.
sub-fold 2) Petticoats, with their cute little ruffle sticking out at the bottom, are totally cuter than slips, IMHO.

I mean, seriously, see how cute this is?

So, with all those preliminaries out of the way, I made the petticoat pictured above this week, and I wanted to put together a tutorial on how you, too, can join my petticoat army by making one for yourself!

You'll need:
- 1.5 - 2 yds of cotton batiste, muslin, or cheap quilting calico (depending on your measurements, which we'll take below)
- 1-2 yds of 1/2" wide elastic
- 1.5 - 2 yds of eyelet trim - you can go nuts with this, there are tons of options for width, lace type, etc.
- swedish tracing paper, to make your "pattern" (so you can easily duplicate it later if you'd like another petticoat!). This is not a must, you can use any kind of paper, tape together printer paper, etc.

Sewing essentials to have around:
- Cardboard cutting mat with gridlines (not necessary, but makes it easier!)
- a big ruler/straight edge
- measuring tape
- chalk to make pattern
- scissors, obviously :)
- sewing machine
- seam ripper, if you're like me :)

I really owe figuring out the measurements for this to Gertie's fab half slip tutorial. Go check it out, she explains things really well. Since we're doing things slightly differently, I'm typing up my own version here.

The pattern will be a rectangle - it's super easy!

Step 1: Take your measurements
- Measure around the widest point, could be your hips, badonkadonk, etc. Don't pull the tape measure tight. Then, add 3 inches of ease to this number. So, if your widest point is 55 inches, then your number will be 58 inches. Divide this number in half - your slip will be 29 inches wide (I just rounded up to 30". I'm a rounder, what can I say?).

- Measure how long you'd like the slip to be, from where you typically like things to sit at your waist (for me, this is my high waist, not my natural waist), then add 1.5 inches for hem and elastic. Keep in mind that the width of the lace you choose affects this number, as does how much you want poking out of the bottom of your skirt. My measurement was 20", since my petticoat lace was about 4 inches wide.

* It's always better to err on the side of a little bit too long, because you can always hem it shorter and then reattach the lace if it comes out a bit longer than you'd like. My goal for the petticoat was to have the seam where the lace joins the slip to not show, but only the last 2 inches of lace poke out from underneath the dress.

That's it! All the measurements you need!

Step 2: Draw your rectangle pattern
- Draw a rectangle that is 30"x20" (of course, using your own measurements). Add in 5/8" seam allowance to the sides only, so your rectangle will end up being 31 1/4"x20" (with your own measurements, of course).

Step 3: Fold your (prewashed!) fabric in half, and lay the rectangle pattern out. Pin it in place, and cut it out! You should have two awesome rectangles.

(pattern pinned in place over fabric)

Step 4: Stitch up the sides of the slip with 5/8" seam allowance on both sides. You should have a big tube (or a useless pillowcase, as I like to call it).

Step 5: Finish the edges on the side seams. Since this is cotton, and these are the only unfinished seams of the garment, I decided to do a zig-zag stitch, then pink the edges. If you don't have pinking shears, then a zig zag stitch closer to the raw edge of the fabric works well too. Press the seams flat to one side.

Step 6: Make your casing for the elastic waist!
- Fold under ~3/4" from the top of your skirt, and iron it down. Then, fold it again and iron. You should have something that looks like this:

- Stitch it in place close to the bottom of the fold, but be sure to leave a ~2" opening for you to feed your elastic in!

Step 7: You need to cut your elastic to the right length. Wrap the elastic around you where you want your petticoat to sit. Pull it comfortably tight. This is your elastic length. (for guidance, Gertie says it should be about 3" smaller than your waist measurement). My high waist, where I want the elastic to sit, is 42". I cut my elastic at about 39". It's pretty loose, but I like it loose. I'm a loose woman.

Step 8: The casing is hungry. Feed the elastic!

I use a safety pin:

Step 9: Sew the elastic together and close the elastic feeding hole (sounds gross)
- Overlap the ends of the elastic flat and sew them shut using a narrow zig zag stitch. Make sure you haven't twisted the elastic in the process of feeding it through the casing. Then, straighten the gathers and try on the petticoat to make sure everything seems good to you. If the elastic is right, stitch shut the hole where you fed the elastic into the casing.

Step 10: Attach the eyelet lace
- You will need enough lace to go around the bottom of the petticoat. This is basically your first measurement before halving it for the pattern (mine was 58", remember?). Add 5/8" seam allowance to each side of the lace, then cut it. Sew the lace together at the ends, making a big lace necklace/hula hoop/even more useless pillowcase.

- Pin the lace around the bottom, wrong side of the lace to the right side of the fabric. We are going to sew it really close to the bottom edge of the petticoat, so pin it about 1/4 - 1/2 inch from the bottom edge of the petticoat.

- Sew the lace on at the top of the lace using a narrow zig zag stitch and about a 2-3 stitch length. Go slow. I always go too fast and end up running off the lace and having to rip out the seams and start over... so go slow.

- If you'd like, go back and trim the underneath where the raw petticoat edge is sticking out with pinking shears. I didn't :). I was also runnning out of thread:

Step 11: Put it on with an awesome dress and make that dress even awesomer!

I'm excited to make some more - perhaps using multiple layers of eyelet to give an even rufflier look.

Did you find this tutorial helpful? Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments!


Courtney said...

This is great! I saw this over at Fatshionista, and have to give it a try now. I like my skirts to sit right below the knee also, and although I am not tall, I still have issues finding skirts that hit where I like them. Thank you!
Loving The Reflection

neffbot said...

Awesome - I'm glad you like it! Let me know how it works out!

Cannwin said...

Okay... totally love this! I'm going to be posting about petticoats and tutu's on and I'll totally be linking to you!


Anonymous said...

Really helpful! I wish I could sew though or had a sewing machine. Maybe you could make one for me and I'll pay you???

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