An ongoing goal of mine is trying to achieve full 1950s floofy skirts. I love the full-skirted Dior New Look style, and I’ve always found it very interesting, in part because it so clearly hearkens back to fashions of around a century earlier, with the dropped shoulder, nipped in waist, and full skirts. There are some interesting social and cultural components that go along with that, but as much as I enjoy looking at such things in an analytical way, I also just really enjoy fluffy skirts.
And to have fluffy skirts, 1950s style, one needs petticoats. So I have been experimenting with petticoats! My first petticoat, the 1950s style petticoat of soft ivory netting, wasn’t as fluffy as I would have liked, so my second attempt, the 1950s style petticoat of stiff white netting trimmed with bows, used stiffer netting and lots more of it. I still have further adventures in petticoat-fluff planned, but I’m quite happy with the second petticoat, and the first has its uses as well (including layering with the second for Extra Fluff). Using the stiff net (as opposed to the softer netting available from JoAnn’s) definitely works well, and I’d like to experiment with a crisp synthetic organza as well – and, of course, silk organza would be lovely, but prohibitively expensive.
I gleaned information from a variety of sources in devising how to cut out and put together my petticoats. These are the sources I consulted:
- The tutorial that I took the most inspiration from was “How to Make a Petticoat” by Trista Roland at Sugardale Clothing. There’s also a follow-up mini tutorial for a slightly different style, with an eyelet fabric overlay: “Petticoat Tutorial: The Really Fast Version…“
- There’s an introduction to the “Layer Cake Crinoline,” and then there’s “The Layer Cake Crinoline: A Multimedia Tutorial” by Gertie at Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing. This petticoat isn’t terribly fluffy, but it’s a nice, vintage-inspired, and Gertie’s tutorials are always great.
- For an authentic 1950s tutorial, “Alice Lon Models and Tells You How to Make Those Petticoats” is an article from Reader’s Digest in 1956, available online, complete with pictures, at Petticoat Pond. I love the ribbon edging!
- A lovely, lacy “Big Poufy 50s Petticoat” by Lauren at Wearing History. Not a full tutorial, but inspirational and very seriously fluffy.
Vintage Petticoats Online:
- A very expansive black synthetic net petticoat, dated “circa 1955,” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It appears to be made of a seriously impressive quantity of very fine netting, with stripes around the hem. I want one.