Well, we all know why these petticoats were needed, and one of the reasons was, of course, to hold the shape of the actual dress. The petticoats were made of cotton, linen, sometimes even flannel and were, of course, starched. During the course of the 19th century the shape and general look of petticoats were changing. For the period in question, i.e. 1830s, they were bell shaped, gathered around the waist and usually had a number of tucks which were supposed to help with stiffening it and also make walking easier.
Ladies wore somewhere between three and six (!!) petticoats at a time.
I decided that two petticoats would be enough for a doll otherwise the waist area would become too bulky. Also, I placed these petticoats on difference levels (the first one being lower than the second one). I made both of them in a similar way. Both are 100% hand stitched, of course.
For the first petticoat I chose unbleached cotton, for the second one – quite thick white cotton fabric. I decided not to starch petticoats as the fabric is quite thick already.
I took the measurements of the doll on top of the corset. The waist circumference is 20 cm. The length of a skirt should be 37-38 cm.
So, I cut out straight pieces of fabric: 80 cm x 43 cm for the first petticoat and 85 cm x 60 cm for the second one. The basic idea is that a petticoat is never as wide as the main skirt, so every next petticoat is getting a bit wider (and the main skirt in this case will be 90 cm wide).
I also cut two small strips of fabric (about 23 x 4 cm) for the belts. For the lower petticoat the belt would be 21 cm long, for the second one – that would sit a bit higher on the waist – it is 20.5 cm.
I started by folding the hem inside and stitching it with an catch stitch. The hem is supposed to be quite wide. Mine is 4 cm (+1 cm tucked inside).
Next, I did one tuck for the first petticoat and three for the second one. Each tuck is 1.5 cm wide.
Then I stitched the back seam, gathered the pleats at waist, stitched the belt on, rolled it over and stitched it to the inside. The last step was to sew on a hook.
And here is the result – both petticoats on Jane.
The first petticoat.
The second petticoat.
More photographs are in the gallery below: