Vintage Fashion: How to Make a Petticoat

Vintage Fashion: How to Make a Petticoat

Are you looking to add a touch of vintage charm to your wardrobe? A petticoat is the perfect way to achieve that classic retro look. In this article, we will guide you through the process of making your own petticoat, from selecting the right fabric to sewing the perfect hem. Follow our step-by-step instructions and soon you’ll be twirling in style with your very own handmade petticoat.

History of Petticoats

Petticoats have a long history dating back to the medieval times. They were initially worn as an undergarment to add volume to skirts and dresses. Over the years, petticoats have evolved in both design and function, becoming a staple in women’s fashion.

Origin of Petticoats

The origin of petticoats can be traced back to the Middle Ages when women wore underskirts made of linen or wool. These petticoats were worn to provide warmth and to add fullness to the outer garments. As fashion evolved, petticoats became more elaborate and were often decorated with lace and embroidery.

Evolution of Petticoats in Fashion

In the 18th and 19th centuries, petticoats became a symbol of wealth and status. They were worn by women of all social classes and were often made of luxurious fabrics such as silk and satin. The Victorian era saw the introduction of hoop skirts, which were worn over multiple layers of petticoats to create a dramatic silhouette.

Petticoats in Different Eras

Throughout history, petticoats have remained a versatile and essential part of women’s fashion. In the 1950s, petticoats were worn under full skirts to create a voluminous look, while in the 1980s, they were worn as outerwear as part of the punk fashion trend. Today, petticoats are still a popular choice for vintage enthusiasts and can be styled in a variety of ways to create a unique and feminine look.

Types of Petticoats

When it comes to vintage fashion, petticoats are a key element in creating the perfect silhouette. There are several types of petticoats to choose from, each with its own unique style and functionality.

Crinoline Petticoats

Crinoline petticoats are made from a stiff fabric called crinoline, which helps to give structure and volume to the skirt. These petticoats were popular in the 19th century and are often associated with the full, bell-shaped skirts of the Victorian era. Crinoline petticoats can be worn under dresses and skirts to add volume and create a dramatic silhouette.

Hoopskirt Petticoats

Hoopskirt petticoats, also known as hoop skirts or crinolines, are petticoats with a circular frame made of hoops or wires. These petticoats were popular in the 19th century and were worn under dresses to create a wide, bell-shaped silhouette. Hoopskirt petticoats were often made of lightweight materials like cotton or tulle and were designed to be lightweight and easy to move in.

Tulle Petticoats

Tulle petticoats are made from a lightweight, sheer fabric called tulle. These petticoats are often worn under dresses and skirts to add volume and create a soft, ethereal look. Tulle petticoats are versatile and can be worn with a variety of outfits, from vintage-inspired dresses to modern ensembles. They are a popular choice for adding a touch of romance and whimsy to any outfit.

Overall, petticoats are a fun and versatile accessory that can add volume, structure, and style to any vintage-inspired outfit. Whether you prefer the dramatic silhouette of a crinoline petticoat, the wide shape of a hoopskirt petticoat, or the soft, ethereal look of a tulle petticoat, there is a petticoat style to suit every vintage fashion enthusiast.

Choosing the Right Fabric

When making a petticoat for a vintage fashion look, choosing the right fabric is essential to achieve the desired silhouette and style. Consider the following factors when selecting the fabric for your petticoat:

Factors to Consider

  • Stiffness: The fabric should have enough stiffness to hold the shape of the petticoat and provide volume to the skirt.

  • Weight: The weight of the fabric will impact how the petticoat drapes and moves. Lighter fabrics may provide a more delicate look, while heavier fabrics can add more structure.

  • Durability: Since petticoats are often worn under dresses and skirts, the fabric should be durable enough to withstand regular use and washing.

Recommended Fabrics

Some recommended fabrics for making a petticoat include:

  • Tulle: A lightweight, stiff netting fabric that is commonly used for petticoats to add volume and fullness to the skirt.

  • Organza: A sheer, crisp fabric that can provide structure and volume to the petticoat while adding a touch of elegance.

  • Cotton Sateen: A smooth, medium-weight fabric that drapes well and is comfortable to wear under dresses and skirts.

Fabric Care Tips

To ensure that your petticoat stays in good condition, follow these fabric care tips:

  • Hand wash: Some fabrics, such as tulle and organza, may be delicate and should be hand-washed to prevent damage.

  • Air dry: Avoid using a dryer for fabrics like tulle and organza, as heat can cause them to lose their shape. Instead, air dry the petticoat flat to maintain its structure.

  • Store properly: To prevent wrinkles and damage, store the petticoat in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Consider hanging it up or laying it flat in a drawer to maintain its shape.

    Making Your Own Petticoat

Vintage fashion has made a comeback in recent years, and one staple piece that every vintage-loving fashionista should have in their wardrobe is a petticoat. Petticoats not only add volume and shape to skirts and dresses, but they also add a touch of femininity and whimsy to any outfit. Making your own petticoat is a fun and rewarding DIY project that allows you to customize the length, fullness, and color to suit your personal style.

Materials Needed

To make your own petticoat, you will need the following materials:

  • Tulle fabric in your desired color
  • Elastic waistband
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Measure your waist and decide how long you want your petticoat to be. Cut the tulle fabric into strips that are double the length of your desired petticoat length.
  2. Sew the strips of tulle together to create a long, gathered strip. The width of the strip will determine how full your petticoat will be, so you can adjust this based on your preference.
  3. Attach the gathered tulle strip to the elastic waistband, either by sewing it directly onto the waistband or by using safety pins for a temporary fix.
  4. Try on the petticoat and adjust the length and fullness as needed. Once you are happy with the fit, secure the tulle to the waistband permanently by sewing it in place.
  5. Trim any excess tulle and elastic, and your petticoat is ready to wear!

Tips for Customization

  • Add layers of different colored tulle to create a multi-dimensional petticoat.
  • Experiment with different lengths and fullness to achieve the perfect silhouette for your outfit.
  • Embellish your petticoat with lace, ribbons, or sequins for a unique touch.
  • Consider adding a lining to the petticoat for added comfort and coverage.

Making your own petticoat is a fun and creative way to add a vintage flair to your wardrobe. With a few simple materials and some basic sewing skills, you can create a one-of-a-kind piece that will make you feel like a true vintage vixen.


In conclusion, creating a petticoat for your vintage fashion collection is a fun and rewarding DIY project. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily make a custom petticoat that fits your style and size preferences. Whether you’re looking to add volume to a skirt or dress, or simply want to embrace the timeless elegance of vintage fashion, a petticoat is a versatile and essential wardrobe piece. So gather your materials, get sewing, and enjoy the satisfaction of wearing a handmade garment that reflects your unique personality and creativity.

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