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

Tag: gathers

Class 24: Fitting Eva’s quilted petticoat, and quilting

Eva had finished quilting her petticoat, some by hand and some by machine, and it looks beautiful.

Claire had explained previously that once the quilting was finished, we should:

  • sew up the centre back seam leaving an opening at the top (so we can get in and out during fitting)
  • temporarily gather and tack the waist on to a petersham waistband for fitting

As Eva had done this too, I got to help fit the petticoat to check the hemline is even and at the correct length for the period silhouette. The quilted petticoat is fitted over the bum pads, under-petticoat and corset. Ideally, shoes with the correct heel height should also be worn during fitting.

Front of Eva's quilted petticoat during fitting

Front of Eva's quilted petticoat during fitting

Back of Eva's quilted petticoat during fitting

Back of Eva's quilted petticoat during fitting

Using a meter ruler, I checked the evenness of the hemline. Generally the hemline was good, a little lower at the back where the bum pads don’t push out so much, but this is common and looks ok.

However, we decided that the length was too short by about 8cm. Luckily, Eva had left a large seam allowance at the top, so there would be enough to let the petticoat out, but only just enough.

After the fitting, Eva will take petticoat of the waistband and pleat it on to another waistband, making the petticoat opening at the  sides rather than the back, so she can have accessible pockets under the petticoat.  She will also finish the hem using either bias binding or petersham.

I spent the rest of the class quilting – there is still so much to do. Started on the bottom border, but you can see between the first and second photo below, I didn’t really manage to get much done in class.

Starting the bottom border of the quilted petticoat
Starting the bottom border on the front left of the quilted petticoat
Bottom border of quilted petticoat

Bottom border of quilted petticoat

Class 23: Draping the quilted petticoat and top fabric to check yardages

Draping the quilted petticoat and top fabric

I couldn’t wait to drape it on the stand to see what it would look like. The tree design came up a lot higher than I was expecting. The stand would not go down as low as my waistline, so in the photos she is sitting a few inches taller than me. The petticoat appears longer as I have left a good 75mm seam allowance at the hem, although I am planning to put three lines of stitching on the hem 1cm apart, and the bias binding needs to be added.

Draping the quilted petticoat on the stand

Draping the quilted petticoat on the stand

I also draped the top fabric over the petticoat to check the fabric yardage and formula Claire and I previously worked out was still correct to get the period shape.

Top fabric draped over the quilted petticoat

Top fabric draped over the quilted petticoat

Pleating and gathering

While the petticoat was on the stand, I practised my pleating and gathering.

Pleating at the back

Pleating at the back

Gathering on the stand

Gathering on the stand

Replacing eyelets

One of my eyelets had come off a little while ago, and a few others looked loose, so I used my prym eyelet tool at home to push them together. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the right sized attachment for the 5mm eyelets, but I thought it would be close enough. It wasn’t and so a few of my eyelets were deformed before I realised what was happening as it only disfigured them on the side I couldn’t see.

Deformed and replaced eyelets

Deformed and replaced eyelets. You can see one deformed eyelet I can't get out.

Eyeleting tools: hole punch and pliers - I wish I had a grommet/eyelet machine

Eyeleting tools: hole punch and pliers - I wish I had a grommet/eyelet machine

Class 5: Petticoat – Gather and sew on frills.

Aim for today was to set frill on to the bottom of the petticoat. It ended up looking like this:

Knife pleats with gathering underneath

I did this by:

1. Finishing the hem of the gathering fabric:

  • Sew gathering drops together (about 7.5m)
  • top edge: turn 6mm (1/4″) and then 6mm (1/4″) again, and sew.
  • bottom edge: turn 12mm (1/2″) and then 25mm (1″), then sew.

2. Put in the gathering stitches:

Using 2 rows of longest machine stitch. The top row was 20mm (3/4″) below the hem, and the second row below was the width of the sewing machine foot 12mm (1/2″). At each seam, I pulled the threads loose so I would have something to grab on to when I was gathering.

3. Gather sections of the drops.

As the petticoat circumference was quite long it was best to do the gathers in shorter sections to reduce the risk of threads breaking. I had 5 drops, so I just did it in 5 sections, but we could have done it in 4 quarters.

Using pins to secure the threads at one end, I pulled the drop sections to the desired length. I divided the circumference of the petticoat by 5 so that I knew how long each gather length should be (250cm / 5 = 50cm).

I found that the gathers were too tight and so had more gathering material than needed. I used Kate awl to run back and fourth along the gathers to try and get them even.

Pinning gathering to petticoat. You can also see the pins securing the the gathered sections.

4. Pin gathers to petticoat.

Started at the back seam and worked round to front. I marked the half and quarter points on the petticoat and the gathering so that it would be even all around, but as I had too much material, in the end, these points did not match up and I just had to cut off some material at the end and then close the gathers with a seam at the back. This was a shame as I had originally made a loop when finishing off the seams for the frill. If you did not have too much excess when pinned, then you could just ease in the difference.

5. Sew on the gathers to petticoat.

Starting at the back, I tried to sew in the middle of the gathering stitches. I had to remove the pins holding the gathering threads at each seam as I went along.

Close up where I attached the gathers to the petticoat. The attaching stitch was meant to be in the middle of the gathering stitches, but as you can see it is a little wonky.

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