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Friday, January 18, 2013

Making a Tucked Petticoat - Part 1

Note:  This is entry is being re-posted from an old history related blog I used to write, but no longer have the time nor the energy to keep up.

Oh what, dear friends, have I gotten myself into?  I have been in what I will call a "winter funk"  for some time now, compounded by the fact that this is the off-season at the museum so I have not been working since Christmas.  Last week I decided it was time to pull myself up by my shoelaces and force myself back into some activities which normally I enjoy, but have been too depressed to participate in as of late.  To alleviate my melancholy I set myself to working on a sewing project that will not only keep my hands and mind busy, but also provide me with a beautiful yet functional garment to wear once I return to work.

Having purchased 7 yards of beautiful white 200-thread count Robert Kaufman 100% cotton Kona fabric last month with a coupon from Jo-Ann's, I went to work making an over-the-hoop petticoat.  I started my project by visiting Elizabeth Stewart Clark's website "The Sewing Academy.com" to print out her instructions on how to make petticoats.  I found the guide to making a basic petticoat under the section called "The Compendium", where you can also find several other how-to guides for historical sewing projects.  All the instructions are in PDF format, and while I was there I printed out all the other guides to set into a binder for future use.

Next I perused Mrs. Clark's historical sewing forum to see what other hobbyists had to say on the subject and to pick up any tips and tricks before I made my first snip.  Here, among all the wonderful conversations of a truly knowledgeable group of people, I came across this picture of an original petticoat now displayed on the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection database:


Oh.  My.  Word.  Here is a closeup view of the tucking and embroidery at the bottom:


Lovely is the only way to describe it.  Even though I hadn't planned on making a tucked petticoat, after seeing this I knew I had to. I wanted to try and recreate the tucking on the original, minus the embroidery in between. Tucks weren't something I had ever done before, so I knew it would be good practice.  Unfortunately I must leave you at that.  I need to get back to work before I head off to bed, so the rest of this petticoat adventure will have to be continued another time!

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