[HNW] 18th century quilted petticoat

Carolyn Kayta Barrows kayta at frys.com
Sun Jan 18 20:05:02 PST 2004

>Carolyn, it sounds like a wonderful skirt you are preparing to make.  The 
>number of stitches per inch is general 12.

That's what I was afraid you folks would say (I got several responses on 
h-costume to that effect).  I can manage 6 without much trouble, but 12 
will be something to work my way into.  I may settle for 10.

>The stitches start from the underside.

Modern quilters make a knot then pop it between the layers so it doesn't show.

>The quilting patterns were either drawn on or a pattern with holes was 
>used and ink pouches "pounced" on the fabric so the ink powder would go 
>through the pattern hole and onto the fabric.

I know about pounce, but I've decided I may do something where I don't need 
to mark the fabric at all, like 'feathers' at the bottom and lozenges 
everywhere else.  Also I will have the grid, such as it is, of the gingham 
check to keep my lines straight.  Nobody will be so rude as to complain 
that my stitches are imperfect if there are several hundred hours of them 
neatly done, will they?

>The quiliting was indeed finished prior to the assembling of the 
>petticoat.  The length and width of the petticoat depend on the dimensions 
>of the intended wearer.  The ankles are NOT to show.

I figure to the bottom of my ankle bone.  Common women seem to be wearing 
petticoats this short in the contemporary images I have seen.

>If this was a common person they would most likely not have a quilted 
>petticoat and since the person worked hard in the kitchen and other tasks, 
>they petticoat would not want to drag in the water nor brush against a fire.

There's a picture of a woman in Nancy Bradfield's book, with mop and bucket 
and pattens and a quilted petticoat.  Her petticoat is quilted in an 
allover lozenge design, with no fanciness at the hem.  I'm using that as a 
justification for having such a garment - she could have bought hers 
second-hand - and for not getting in over my head with an overly 
complicated design.

I would certainly use wool if I was ever going to get near a campfire, as 
sparks only smoulder on wool instead of burning up your petticoat, 
etc.  And I'm only guessing that linen was ever used for petticoats, tho I 
do find it used for those quilted under-vests.  But I don't want to roast 
in California Summer, which I find I am prone to doing in wool.  So I'm 
wearing linen wherever possible.

>The fabric around the bottom should be 104" around the bottom or so.  This 
>should help you figure out how many panels you need depending on the width 
>of your fabric.

Three yards is 108", so my estimate is right on there.  I'm not sure if I 
should fake individual panels, as on the originals which were made from 
narrower fabric, or just cheat and use my modern-width fabric sideways and 
omit the seams.

>Cut the fabric 4" longer than you want the finished petticoat to be; this 
>allows the quilting to take up some of the length.

Modern quilters tell me things like this.

>  Don't forget to leave slits in the sides for easy access to the lady's 
> pocket.

I have one pocket almost finished, and another one planned, so I did 
remember this.

>Let me know if I can help you more!!

Thank you.

        CarolynKayta Barrows
dollmaker, fibre artist, textillian

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