costuming · Hers · Sewing · Work Basket

Flannel Petticoat and Introducing… Pixie and Walther

Two years ago I stumbled across a blog, The Dreamstress.  Within the blog was a sewing challenge, The Historical Sew Monthly Challenge.  It grabbed my imagination immediately!  I began to sew my new wardrobe pieces to be within the challenges for each month.  Only as a lurker, mind you.  I think that I am about ready to come out of my self imposed sewing closet.

No one knows my happy secret! Loving my American Duchess “Gibson” shoes)

At work it is frequently COLD.  Many afternoons the air-conditioning will turn on, even in winter.  My co-worker and I get cold enough that it begins to put us asleep.  In the summer the air-conditioning is on FULL BLAST all day long.  My poor legs get super cold, especially when I wear skirts, which I frequently do.  Sometimes I wear two skirts at the same time.  I have this lovely linen skirt that I wear a full knitted skirt underneath.  It not only keeps the wind from whistling through as I walk

Angora knit skirt under full skirt

to the building from my car, but it also makes the overskirt have a wonderfully graceful movement (I have actually had strangers comment on the lovely skirt movement). Recently I started pairing a straight knitted skirt made with Angora under my fuller skirts.  The Angora feels super-duper on my legs all day!

This works GREAT!  But I would really like a proper petticoat in a fabric that is easily washable.  The February challenge for this year is: “Re-Make, Re-Use, Re-fashion”. This is a perfect challenge for making my Edwardian petticoat.  I have a flannel duvet cover that has seen better days and was due for retirement.  I have always liked the colors of it (probably why I chose it in the first place),

Plaid flannel duvet cover all cut apart

liked the fact that it is plaid, and liked the feel of the flannel.  This would be perfectfabric to keep my cold legs warm.  Oh, and, wearing a flannel petticoat under my skirt that no one would see is probably more socially acceptable than dragging my whole duvet and cover to work with me to drape over my lap at my desk each day.  First thing that I did, after making the decision, was to cut all the buttons off and stitching out of the duvet.

petticoat pattern

Then I ordered the pattern.  I know… wrong order silly.  But, that is just the way it goes.  The pattern that I ordered was this one.  The Folkwear Edwardian Underthings.  I ordered it from Amazon Drygoods.  I like to support them, when I can.  They were my first exposure to any kind of historical type patterns when I was in my teens. That was many years ago, as I will be 50 next year.  Then I had to wait until the pattern arrived…

Introducing Wally! – He is peeping out from behind

I wasn’t too worried about matching the plaids because no one was going to really see the petticoat except for me.  I did pay attention to the fabric though.  One side was much more smooth than the other side.  I wanted the smooth side to be the one that was touching my skin.  The main part of the petticoat was pretty straight forward. A couple of vertical French seams, casing and a back flap. The hole for the ribbon to exit the casing, I hand finished.  I have not taken the time to learn how to use the button hole attachment on my treadle machine yet. The ribbon was some pretty light blue ribbon that I had in my stash.  For the ruffle, I wanted the plaid to be on the diagonal so I had to cut the fabric bias-wise.  I also wanted to use the ruffle attachment for the treadle for my first time.  I wasn’t sure how much the ruffle would take up so I measured the pattern piece length for the ruffle, but didn’t use it for width of the ruffle.  I made  A LOT of ruffle.  Before I was able to use the ruffler, I had to put the tucks on the ruffle. 

Ruffle with tucks, rolled hem and ruffler made gathers

My plan was to use the tucker attachment to do this, but I couldn’t quite figure out  how to use it.  So I measured, folded, ironed and sewed each one according to the marks on the pattern.  Then I did get to use the rolled hem attachment! I am not very proficient at it yet.  I had to go back afterwards and do some handwork to make sure that the whole hem was as it should be.  Finally it was time for the ruffler!  FUN, FUN, FUN!  I really did giggle out loud.  Pixie and Wally heard me, just ask them!


I probably did things out of order, but I get excited about things like sewing machine attachments and couldn’t help myself.  Since the dust ruffle would be even less seen that the other ruffle, I really didn’t worry about matching the plaids.  I just measured the pattern for the height of the dust ruffle and cut lengths of fabric that tall and seamed them together.  I did a running stitch, by hand, while watching TV along the hemline of the dust ruffle.  I had not been careful when seeming the pieces together and it was frightfully uneven.  Using the weave of the fabric as my guide for the running stitch, it was my intention to end up with a straight and even hemline. Then using the running stitch as my guide I turned up the hem and turned it up again for a 1/4 inch hem.

first turn along running stitch


I ironed the heck out of it, along with Mary Ellen’s Best Press to make sure that it would be ready for when I got around to sewing the hem.

dust ruffle ready for hem stitching

My next dilemma was how to mark the main body of the petticoat for the placement of the larger ruffle.  At first I tried pins.  The kept falling out and poking me.  I didn’t like that very much.  Then I got out the trusty tape measure and measured the ruffle placement on the pattern.  From there I measured the placement on the actual petticoat, folded it at that point and ironed a crease.  I slowly worked my way around the petticoat measuring, folding and ironing until I made it back around to the start point. With this very definite placement line on the petticoat, I slipped it back on my ‘silent partner’.  Because this is my petticoat, I can be fiddly if I want to.  I carefully pinned the large ruffle onto the placement line.  I wanted the thread from the ruffling to be exactly on the ironed line.  I pinned and pinned it around and then began sewing it on with a running stitch to hold the ruffle in place.  After a couple of evenings of only getting a few minutes of being able to work on it and feeling as if I would never get it done, I went back to the sewing room and attached the ruffle on the machine.  Just a straight stitch, but I didn’t want any exposed raw edges. So I folded the fabric around the exposed raw edge of the ruffle (kind of made it a petticoat-ruffle sandwich with the ruffle as the filling) and top stitched the whole thing around.  No raw edges and looks great. 

Now onto the dust ruffle. Yaaaaaaaahhhhh… remember how I hadn’t made it even when I sewed all the shorter pieces together?  That was the start of my, let’s call it an adventure.  I top stitched the hem in place, good.  Then I proceeded to try and logically make the ruffle the same size all along the length.  I didn’t want to ‘just cut it’!  Oh no.  I was going to pull threads and then it would be perfect.  No one was ever going to see it, but I had to be a perfectionist right this moment.  When I fiiiiinally got to the end it was pretty obvious that the beginning was much wider than the end.  (heavy sigh and a huge eye roll inserted here)  NOW I got out the ruler, measured twice and cut once.  I could have just saved myself about an hour of fiddliness to begin with.

narrow little dust ruffle hiding under the tucked bias ruffle

Now the dust ruffle is really narrow, but I am fine with it.




I am Done!