Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Corded Petticoats

I've been looking for images of original pre-hoop corded petticoats (inspired by my "Ladies' Layers in Detail" series over the 4th US blog), and here's what I've found so far.  Unfortunately, there aren't many closely dated ones, especially for the 1850s.

There are two main ways of cording a petticoat: one is to use fabric which has cords woven into it; the other is to sew cording between layers of plain fabric.  This may be accomplished by making small "tucks" in the petticoat, or by extending the hem facing to provide the second layer of fabric.

Genessee Country Village and Museum has two blog posts up about weaving corded material for petticoats. The first shows the fabric and the original it was based on; the second post has the finished petticoat.
1840s or 1850s corded petticoat from The Met.
Cotton corded petticoat with drawstring waist, c. 1840-1860.
I think this example has the cords woven into the material
rather than sewn in, but it's hard to tell from the picture.
The FIDM museum has an 1830s corded petticoat photographed on their blog (with the corded stays and sleeve supports of the era).  Like the Met original below, it appears to have individual cords sewn into small tucks all up the skirt.  The cords are set closer together near the hem and further apart towards the waist.
1830s Corded petticoat from The Met.
Petticoat with cords sewn into small tucks.
From The Met. 1830s..
Here's another that I wish I could see in person; it has a yoked top and lots of fine cords run parallel to the hem.  Again, I can't tell from the picture whether these are woven or sewn, though the final effect is consistent with petticoats I've made using the "sandwich" method of sewing cords into a deep hem facing.
Victorian corded petticoat with yoke, 1840s or early 1850s.
Linen corded petticoat, c. 1840-55,
from Corsets and Crinolines
Finally, it's important to remember that corded petticoats aren't the only pre-hoop option for fluffing one's skirts. Quilted petticoats are also important (though I won't be wearing one in the summer anytime soon), and flounced petticoats also add a fair amount of loft.  There's also the original "crinoline":
Horsehair crinoline petticoat, 1840s, from The Met.
Horsehair ("crinoline") petticoat, 1840s.
From The Met.
[Edited: For completeness, there's also this 1820s corded petticoat at the VAM; it caught my attention, in part due to the wrinkles between the cord sets, which happen on all of my corded pettis.]

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