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 (click on image for more info)
Woman's quilted petticoat (click image for more info)
My favourite is this one:
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. 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.
My best friend thoughtfully sent me “Patterns of Fashion 1″ by Janet Arnold for Christmas. I was very pleased when it arrived as it covers ‘Englishwomen’s dresses and their construction’ from 1660 to 1860, which of course includes the polonaise circa 1770-1785 – in fact it has two between pages 36-40.
The author, Janet Arnold is a well respected fashion historian who has written and illustrated a number of books on period costume. She has been able to study many items which are normally too rare or fragile to be handled often, including burial gowns such as Medici burial clothes from the 16th century.
My friend lives fairly near Snowshill Manor where some of the dresses studied in the book used to be housed as part of the Wade Collection. 2000 costume pieces, plus 22000 other objects ‘invested with the spirit of the craftsman and the age in which it was created’ were collected by Charles Wade from 1900 to 1951, when Wade donated the collection and the manor to the National Trust.
The Wade Costume collection can now be seen at Berrington Hall, Herefordshire where it is on loan.
We started by having a cup of tea in the splendid cafe. The cafe rooms interior decoration is amazing, so I would highly recommend taking a break there. The food looks really good, but is more restaurant prices than cafe, so I didn’t have a chance to try.
On to the British galleries. So many wonderful things to look at from James II wedding suit, a flower pyramid, to the most amazing room installations. It was great to be able to inspect the items of clothing on show so closely; but there are also many other artefacts where we could get inspiration for our costumes including the furniture, paintings and textiles. I particularly liked looking at the Spitalfield silk collection, and there were some lovely examples of printed cotton.
As usual, I turned up just in time. The morning had been going so well, but then there was traffic from Earls court to college and I had chosen to take the bus. Anyway it wasn’t too bad and there was still a space for me in between Lorna and Alex.
Claire, our tutor for the year, gave an introduction about the college, the course, and what was expected. The theatrical costume course at Kensingtion and Chlesea College (KCC) is based on a BTEC in fashion and clothing level 2 certificate, but you also get a certificate from KCC to say it specialises in theatrical costume. Claire gave us a psychometric test, and quite a few hand-outs which contained a list of London fabric shops and museums we were to visit in the afternoon.
In the hand-outs there was information about our first 2 units: developing production techniques (unit 9), where we will make samples to demonstrate our knowledge and skills; and developing pattern construction skills (unit 7), for which we will make undergarments for a polonaise (1770-1785). The course is made up of 4 units (60 hours each), and we will be doing 2 in the first term and then one each term after.
We were also introduced to Eileen who will be teaching us some of the practical parts of the course – samples etc. Eileen showed us log books and portfolios of previous year students. They were very impressive and a lot of work had gone in to the presentation as well as the content.