Sunday, 14 July 2013

A start to a scalloped petticoat

There seem to be a lot of scalloped hems in late 1780's fashion. Most of the ones I found are from 1787. There are a variety of colours and scallop sizes.
1787, (source)
 A white petticoat with big scallops.
cabinet des Modes, August 1786 (source)
 A pink petticoat with minuscule scallops.
This one didn't come with any information but I'm guessing late 1780's. (source)
 Another white petticoat with medium-small scallops. Please note that this gown has BUCKLES across the front and that they are a design feature of significant awesomeness! I will most certainly be making a late 1780's something with buckles on the front someday (Once I find the right buckles).
Magasin des Modes, April 1787 (source)
 Big scallops again, and this one has a bit of a train.
Magasin des Modes, December 1789. (source)
A matching scalloped gown and petticoat.
Magasin des Modes, July 1787. (source)
 More tiny scallops.
Magasin des Modes, April 1787. (source)
 And more tiny scallops.
Magasin des Modes, August 1787. (source)
 And even more tiny scallops.
Magasin des Modes, August 1787. (source)
These ones look more like zig-zags, but it's the same general idea.

I adore the white petticoats with the small scallops and have wanted one for quite some time. The "White" challenge provided the perfect excuse to make one.

The fabric is a nice white rayon. It's soft and drapes beautifully, which of course makes it extremely annoying to work with. I divided the length into a 1.95 m section and a 1.54 m section. The longer one is for the back so that it fits over my overstuffed false bottom. The cut edges frayed like crazy so I put narrow hems on them.

Making narrow hems.
 I tried to make them with the hemming foot on my sewing machine, but I have yet to use that thing successfully and it mangled the samples just like it always has.
The one on top is the one that the foot wrecked, the one below is the one I made by folding the edge myself.
 The hems came out a bit wobbly but they kept the edges from fraying.
The inside of the seam, the fabric is thin but the lines aren't too obvious.
 I made pocket slits the same way I made the ones for the purple petticoat, except I didn't have to turn the edges in.
Lots of little pleats. I just love itty bitty pleats!
 Unlike the thick cotton of the previous petticoat I made, this thin, shifty fabric required a waistband. I used a fine but tightly woven off white cotton from my Grandmothers stash.
My stock of twill tape has all but dried up. I had to piece the longer section of tape together out of two pieces with different widths. I had hoped it would end up inside the waistband but it was too far off center.
The tape works just fine and isn't visible when the petticoat is being worn so it doesn't bother me all that much.
I have split this project into two posts because there are a lot of pictures. The next post is about the hem.


  1. Good luck making the scallop edges. I would be at a lost on how to make them unless they add another strip of fabric and sew the scallops and turn the hem and press the fabric and then hand hem it under. I'm looking forward to see how you will do the scallop edge.


  2. Neat idea! I've never noticed the small scallops before.

    FYI, a lot of French plates from this period are dated by the French Republican Calendar.
    "2 Annee" indicates Year 2, but unfortunately the new year numbering was not consistent. According to Wikipedia, at first Year 1 was 1789, which makes the "2 Annee" plates date 1790. In 1792-3 the Convention changed it to reflect the beginning of the Republic (Sept 1792), instead of the revolution. So there can actually be two different Year 2 dates: 1790, or 1794-5. I think the Year 2 plates in this post are actually 1790.

    1. Thank you, I had no idea! What a messed up calendar, it's like they were deliberately trying to confuse people. That would make all but the second one from 1790 and the red gown from 1789 because the date looks like a 1 with a smudge. Very interesting. What were they thinking, doing that to a perfectly good calendar?

  3. I guess the "2ième année" has nothing to do with the revolutionary calendar. These fashion engravings are from 1786/87, from the Ancien Régime period. The "2ième année" refers probably to the second year of the existence of the magazine. So the first year of the Magasin des Modes must be 1786...

    1. That certainly makes it less confusing. I just looked it up and I think you're probably right. The publication did exist before that but it changed it's name to Magasin des Modes in 1786.