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A 1900s petticoat – the sewing process

Edwardian Skirt with white lace

It has been my dream for a very long time to sew a skirt that, typical for the 1900s and therefore for the Edwardian Era, is overloaded with lace ribbons and appliqués. While this skirt was originally and primarily intended as a petticoat, I plan to wear it visibly as an overskirt as well.

Bobbin lace for a 1900s petticoat

As fabric I used a yellow cotton batiste, which I got hold of last year at a fabric market in Kerkrade in the Netherlands. The lace is partly self-made, partly bought. I will make an additional blog post about the lace that I made.

As a basis for the skirt I used a sewing pattern from 1908. I had to make some adjustments at the waist and hips to fit my own measurements. Also, the skirt length was adjusted to my height.

Details of 1900s petticoat
Details of 1900s petticoat
Details of 1900s petticoat

The lower part of the skirt, where the lace alternates with the yellow fabric, was completely redesigned. Tucks have been incorporated into the yellow fabric, but they open up towards the bottom, giving the skirt a little more width around the hem. It is typical of turn-of-the-century skirts that they are relatively narrow at the hips, but open slightly bell-shaped towards the hem. Tucks are a great way to create this typical silhouette!

Back closure detail
Back closure detail

The narrow waist is also a typical feature of the 1900s. While corsets, among other things, contributed to this narrow waist, the optical illusion also plays a major role. By making the hips appear wider with hip pads, the waist appears all the narrower. Therefore, the waist bands of skirts should also be as flat as possible without creating any bulk.

In this case, the waist band was created as a facing and sewn onto the inside of the skirt.


The seam allowances of the skirt were partially finished by hand: Here, one side of the seam allowances was cut back to about 5 mm, and the other side was folded over and felled down. The seam is only minimally visible from the outside and created a nice little detail in my opinion.

Edwardian Skirt with white lace

The sewing process of this petticoat was a lot of work, even if I had only worked with store-bought lace. Especially the continuous sewing and ironing of the tucks took a lot of time. But it was also great fun for me! If you enjoy such “puzzle work”, sewing a 1900s petticoat might be the perfect project for you!

Architectural details
Architectural details, a Green Man
Kunstverein NRW

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