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Studying Theatrical Costume and other adventures in London - sewing, fabrics and events.

Class 19: Overview of quilted petticoat

There wasn’t too many of us in today, but everyone who made it is going to make a quilted petticoat, so Claire asked us to work on our petticoat designs and explained a bit more about the process.

Overview of quilted petticoat

  • To find the required diameter of the quilted petticoat, put the bum pads and the under petticoat on the stand and wrap the wadding/batting round. You will need to leave additional allowance as after quilting the length will be reduced.
  • Pin together the three layers: Cotton (top fabric), wadding and muslin (bottom fabric); and baste the centre front and quarters.
  • Put additional basting lines to firmly hold the fabric in place before applying the design.
  • There are quite a few different ways to transfer the design, but I think I will either be using dressmakers copypaper, or a quilters pencil poked through the pattern paper to make the outline (more info about these when I have had a chance to try them out). Some people use quilters chalk or disappearing ink, and some even draw freehand. Transferring the pattern, can be done all at once or in stages depending on what you find easiest and if the marker is likely to rub off or disappear.
  • Next step would be the sewing. This can be done by machine or by hand or a combination of both. Claire would prefer us to hand quilt, so that is what I am going to do.Ideally you start in the middle and work out. This allows you to make any adjustments if the pattern gets skewed or the fabric is not taken up by the quilting evenly.

I haven’t quilted before, so I ended up having a look on youtube and found some very helpful videos about hand quilting by amyalamode, the first one is Hand Quilting 1 — Getting Started, but there are many more:

Quilted petticoat design

Last week I did a lot of trawling online to find pictures of 18th century quilted petticoats. Many are very elabourate and others are just diamond patterns. Lots of examples of silk petticoats, but also a few in cotton. Powder blue seemed a very popular colour of the time.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston has three good examples of 18th century quilted petticoats displayed online.

Yellow quilted petticoat

Yellow quilted petticoat (click on image for more info)

Woman's quilted petticoat

Woman's quilted petticoat (click image for more info)

My favourite is this one:

Silk quilted 18th century petticoat - Musum of fine art Boston

Silk quilted 18th century petticoat - Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

You can see in the first draft of my design, it is going to be quite similar.

First draft of quilted petticoat design

First draft of quilted petticoat design. The left side where it is higher will be at the front, sloping down to the sides.

This week I need to finish the design, so I can start in class next week. I don’t have any tracing paper, so this is making it quite tricky.

I feel it is quite ambitious as I have started a small quilted sampler, which has already taken a few episodes of being human and is still not complete. After the first hour, I went online and bought some quilting needles, leather and rubber thimbles.

Hand quilting sampler

Hand quilting sampler

3 Comments

  1. I just found your site and enjoyed it very much. I love what you have done. I enjoy studying about historical costumes. Your entries make it feel like I am taking the class with you. I didn’t think of using the fabrics from Ikea. Good idea.

  2. Hello Susi,

    thanks for your encouragement. I am glad you are enjoying the blog, I will try and keep it up to date.
    I have found linen from Ikea much more reasonable than in many other places, shame they don’t sell online.

  3. Hello. Thank you for your site. I love that you have more than one example of a quilted petticoat. These are rare gems and good photos are even rarer. Thank you and keep up the good work.

    Would you object to featuring other people’s quilted petticoats to futher your collection of photos?

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