Elizabeth Stewart Clark & Company

Dressing Girls Sew-Along: Petticoat Evaluation

DressingGirlsI do have a small stack of petticoats the girls inherit from one another. Because each was made with period techniques and decent fabric, I have some evaluation to do, to see if I can recycle any of the Inheritance Stack for this season’s use.

Three that came easily to the top of the pile include:

Inheritance Petticoat #1: Waist 26″; length 17″ max (there is a single 1/2″ tuck still in place); circumference 106″.  The circumference is great for a small girl, but even with all the tucks dropped out, this petticoat will be 5″ short of the smallest length I need, and I’d need to re-set the waist to be 5″ smaller, too. Too short, too wide. This one is a good candidate for selling off to another family, or donating to the loaner closet at our local historic site.

Inheritance Petticoat #2: Waist 26-27″, depending on moving a button; length 21.5″ max; circumference 86″. Again, the circumference is good. It’s going to be a bit short and wide to work for my youngest, so my time is probably best used making her something she can wear for a few years going forward. This will be another that gets cleaned and pressed to pass along or donate.

Mend1Inheritance Petticoat #3: Waist 24″; length 22″ with a single 1″ tuck remaining, for a potential max length of 24″; circumference 84″. This petticoat has one small mend, and one larger mend (2″ long vertical rip) that will need mending.

I can re-set the waist to suit my youngest girl, who needs a 22″ band over her stays. I could also potentially just add a second buttonhole and button position, and save myself the re-setting time, as the waist difference is a meager 2″. The length will drop out to 24″ by simply taking out the remaining growth tuck; she needs skirts of 23.5″to hit her mid-calf, so I will leave the length as-is (it’s 22″ long with the tuck in place).

Just a few minutes measuring and inspecting this petticoat, and with a short 20-minute session to mend the rips, and I’ve saved myself the entire process of making one petticoat for her! I’ve also identified two potential re-sales or donations that can save other families some time and effort.

Taking stock of clothing at the end of each interpretive season, and again a few months before each interpretive season, saves time and effort. What do you have? What do you need? It’s the same process as done in the 19th century: practical, frugal, and functional!

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About The Sewing Academy
With a focus on the 1840-1865 era, The Sewing Academy is your home on the (internet) range for resources to help you meet your living history goals!

Elizabeth Stewart Clark has been absorbed by the mid-19th century for over 20 years. She makes her home in the Rocky Mountains with her husband, four children (from wee to not-so-wee), far too many musical instruments, and five amusing hens.

Email Elizabeth Or call 208-523-3673 (10am to 8pm Mountain time zone, Monday through Saturday)
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