A petticoat is an underskirt worn under skirts to give it a definite shape and structure. There are basically two types of petticoats – a petticoat with boning and a petticoat without boning. The petticoat without boning uses stiff fabric to look full.
Ideally for the basic petticoat you should be using the same pattern of the skirt. It should be appropriate for the skirt or dress you are wearing it under. For a fitted skirt a gathered petticoat will bring unwanted bulk. But at times a full look is desired like for a cup cake petticoat, which is shaped like a bell.
The petticoat pattern given here is a simple petticoat skirt which I usually wear under lots of clothes – long maxi skirts, lehangas, saris , long gowns. It is a fitting skirt from the waist to the hip and then panels flaring slightly to the hem. Being fitted near the waist makes it a life saver in that no added unwanted bulk of the usual gathered underskirts.
This pattern is a ‘suits-all’ underskirt with a fitted waist band with button and zipper opening –Not a full on frilly petticoat skirt like the picture below .
PETTICOAT/ PETTISKIRT -Materials needed
Cotton Fabric ( muslin) or silk taffeta or Satin – Double the Length of skirt needed . I am using a thin satin cloth here. Always choose a light weight or medium weight fabric which is comfortable next to your skin.
Crinoline or stiff nylon netting ( optional only if you want fullness at the hem) – How much crinoline you need will depend on the ruffles you are going to sew on the crinoline and this depends on the fullness you need. An average petticoat will require a minimum of 2 yards netting . A very full petticoat will require about 4 – 6 yards. If you donot have crinoline you can make a flounce with the same fabric of the petticoat
(Crinoline is a stiff net which is used to give the petticoat a nice volume and flounce. It is usually attached to the hem of the petticoat but you can also attach the crinoline to the whole skirt in a tired fashion for a very full look. Now-a-days many use crinoline as a substitute word for petticoat which is wrong. Infact if you use crinoline to make petticoats you will be scratching all over the body. The material is stiff and scratchy . Hence the crinoline is attached to the face (outside) of the petticoat.You can totally skip this layer if you donot want the fullness or flounce)
Panels – For the bottom panels you need to cut 6 of the below pattern on fold – 3 for the front and 3 for the back.
How to sew a Petticoat
Cut out the pattern pieces – The skirt pieces and bias strip for the waistband and the crinoline pieces
Join the seams of the 3 panels together – each for the front and back ; I have made a flat felled seam along the panel seams.This seam finish with a parallel line gives a strength to the seam line and looks good from the outside.
Join the front top portion to the panel portion. Do the same for the back portion as well.
Join the front and back pieces at the sides to make the skirt.Ensure that the side seams are aligned when joining the front and back pieces together.Leave 7 inches at the top of the left side seams open. Join that area with a basting stitch ( long length stitches). This is for attaching the zipper
Attach the zipper on the side seam.
Keep the zipper face down on the seam allowance where you have made the basting stitches. Pin in place. Sew the sides. For better explanation check the tutorial on sewing zippers.
Remove the basting stitches.
Make the waistband.
Measure the top of the skirt edge. The waistband should be this length + 2 inch. width 4″
Fold the bias strip half lengthwise . Press . Stitch the edges right sides together with a 1/2 inch allowance.
Keep the bias strip along the outside of the waist with the fabric edges together. Stitch with a 1/ 4 inch seam allowance. Turn under the the other side and pin in place. Stitch in the ditch from the front or top stitch making sure that the turned under edge is caught in your stitch.
You need an extension of 1 inch on the front piece for fastening – you can sew buttons or hooks and eye to fasten the skirt.
Hem the skirt by turning under the edge twice 1/4 inches first and then 1/2 inch
Sew the netting to the skirt
Hem the net first – turn under the fabric long edge once and stitch .
Join the net pieces on the short edge to form one long piece. Mark 4 equal divisions of the net. Gather the frill using 2 basting stitches along the edge. Distribute the gathers among these 4 divisions
Press the gather.
Stitch the frill into a tube. Adjust the width
Keep the frill upside down around the outside of the hem with right sides together, the gathered frill on top of the skirt. Pin the frill in place, ensure that the gathers are distributed evenly. Stitch the frill to the petticoat equal distance from the bottom edge as the frill. If you want more frills add upper layers of crinoline netting.