Monday, November 07, 2005

An Edwardian Flounced Petticoat Dress Diary, Part 1: Neat Tips on How They Were Worn

My cool textbook "Textbook on Domestic Art" has given me some key knowledge into how people fitted and wore their underthings. In reference to what they call an underskirt and I call a petticoat, did you know:

  • "An underskirt should be 1" shorter than the outside skirt, as well as narrower, except the flounce."
  • The outer skirt length for the high-school girl audience was set at 4 inches above the floor...that comes to right about instep. The petti would be one inch shorter than this.
  • "The flounce is added for flaring as well as beauty." Note that the flounce was a second layer to the petticoat added towards the bottom: the text's model has a 12" flounce set on such that its bottom is even with bottom of the dust ruffle.
  • "A dust ruffle about 4" deep is generally put on to prevent wear."
  • (The) "width around the bottom (of an underskirt) should be in good proportion to the height and the size of hips of each individual, even when extreme fashions are in vogue."
  • A petticoat could have a gathered back, a pleated back, or a "habit" or straight back. The text recommends a fuller back, as opposed to the habit back, for those whose "figure" needed it to sit well.

By 1913, the situation was a little different. Garment Construction in Schools (also available on teh Hearth site) writes:

  • "(The) petticoat is intended to fit closely around the hip, and is narrow at the lower edge also (2 yards)."
  • "The fulness at the lower edge is supplied by a scanty frill of material..."
  • Embroidery is suggested as being a pretty and effective alternative to a frill. Naturally it wouldn't pouf out the skirt either, in this time of severely vertical skirt lines.
  • The top was faced with a "false hem" cut on the bias, in calico for a cotton petti, and sateen or calico for a woollen one.

Both texts recommend quite a variety of materials. Petticoats could be cotton, either plain or in colored prints with "a deep frill of material", or in flannel. Wincey (a type of wool) was used for summer wear, at least in England.

1 comment:

Beauty Tips said...

Nice post.