Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pellon as a Petticoat Substitute

My muslin made it clear that a bit of oomph was needed to make this dress resemble the pattern envelope.

And while I adore petticoats (and, to be honest, I will probably wear one with this dress, just because . . .) I thought I would try something different.

Using a shortened version of my skirt pieces, a layer of interfacing is layered on the upper portion of the skirt pieces, basted in place, and treated as a single layer.

This helps to give more body to the hip area that is later pleated, gathered, or tucked into the waist measurement.

As a bit of an experiment, I used a sew-in Pellon.  After all, this silhouette is supposed to look exaggerated!

I had the pleasure of examining the insides of this Ceil Chapman dress in person.   The entire skirt is underlined in Pellon, and was my original inspiration.

For a nicer finish, I layered cotton over the Pellon, and finished the lower edge with seam binding.

This particular skirt is pleated and gathered, so I basted the pleat lines to keep the interfaced Pellon yoke in place during construction.  Actually, the basting is still in the dress at the moment.  Until I am completely finished and do not have to keep turning the dress inside and out, I thought it was best to keep those layered pleats in place.

This is the skirt volume on a dress form (prior to gathering).  All in all, I would have to call this experiment a success.  And  yet another way to achieve an extreme vintage silhouette without the added layers of a petticoat - great for warmer climates, I think!


  1. That's a really nice technique. I am making a party dress (own pattern) myself, and I was planning to do something similar with my lining - glad you posted this, I think the idea of cutting the same pieces as the skirt, but shorter, is great, and I'll incorporate it in my design.

  2. I really like the oomph! I'm not familiar with the brand Pellon (there are other brands here in Sweden ) and when I googled it a huge amount of Pellon-products appear. May I ask what sort you are using?

    (Sorry if I'm posting this multiple times, I think my Google-account is playing tricks with me!)

    1. This is a non-woven, non-fusible interfacing product. It is quite stiff (I believe it was categorized as "mid-weight" on the bolt, but it feels more sturdy than my definition of that word). A heavier hair canvas would also work, although it might get itchy if not lined with something. Basically anything that stands up by itself will work!

  3. Is a crinoline sewn in and a petticoat worn underneath?

    1. I am embarrassed to say that I don’t actually know the formal answer to that question.

      Crinoline can actually refer to a stiff material used to make a petticoat. And cage crinoline refers to what I think of as a hoop skirt from the Victorian era (to help relieve the weight of wearing layer upon layer of underskirts made out of crinoline in previous years).

      A petticoat was not originally used exclusively as an undergarment (think 1700s), although it was a separate skirt garment, which then morphed into underwear in the 19th century. But vintage Victorian and Edwardian petticoats were certainly worn as outwear in the 1970s.

      These days, I would say the two terms are interchangeable for a separate underskirt made to exaggerate a silhouette. Or it can refer to a specific textile.

      How is that for a convoluted answer!?