Introduction: Petticoat Tutorial

About: Cosplayer. Gamer. Artist. Photographer. Writer. DIYer. Procrastinator.

Petticoats are a must-have for giving your skirt more body and volume. This tutorial can easily be customized to virtually any length skirt and could even be worn alone as a peasant skirt.

Step 1: What You Will Need

You will need the following supplies: Fabric I needed about 5 yards of cotton fabric for my project, but you may need less if your petticoat will be shorter or less full. Experiment with different types of fabric to get different textures and results. Ribbon or cord This is for the waistband, so you’ll need the circumference of your the widest part of your hips, plus about 6 extra inches. I used much more, in a bright color, to help it show up in the pictures. Elastic This is also for the waistband. I did not have this on hand, so it is not in my tutorial, however I will include a step for it. The elastic should be slightly longer than the circumference of where the petticoat will sit on your waist. Measuring tape This will help with figuring all of your necessary dimensions. Tailors chalk Tailors chalk, fabric marker, or any type of fabric pencil that can easily wash off. Thread It goes without saying, but I’d suggest it being the same color as your fabric. Sewing machine

Step 2: Measurements

You’ll need to know the dimensions of your petticoat before you begin to make it. Measure the length between where you want the petticoat to sit on your hips and where you want it to end. Add 1″ for the fold at the top (that cases the elastic/cord). I tend to sew seams on the thick side and it’s easier to remove fabric than add it, so I add another .5″ for each seam. There’s one between tier 1 and tier 2, and another for tier 2 to tier 3, and the hem at the bottom. Overall, it’s Length + 2.5″. Mine totaled to roughly 34.5″. I rounded up to 35″. Next, you need to divide length by 3. Mine was 32, so I rounded it to 10.5″ per tier. Adding the extra fabric length, I made the top layer 12″, and the second and third tier were 11.5″ each. Next, you’ll need to figure out the circumference of each tier. Although I have heard if a general measurement for a peasant skirt (a tiered skirt that looks a lot like a petticoat) I didn’t use it for this tutorial. Either way, I will list it in case anyone wants to use it for a less voluminous petticoat. Tier 1: waist circumference x 1.5 Tier 2: waist circumference x 2 Tier 3: waist circumference x 2.7 Now, here are the measurements I used for my petticoat: Tier 1: 2 yards Tier 2: 4 yards Tier 3: 8 yards It’s a lot of fabric, so I’d suggest using a light fabric. Although I used cotton and muslin, anything light will do. If you don’t want it as voluminous as mine, I’d suggest cutting down the circumference on the second and third tier. NOTE: If you want it to be more of a peasant skirt, you won't have to use nearly as much fabric for the length!

Step 3: Cut Your Fabric

Now that you know the dimensions of your pieces, use the tailors chalk to mark your fabric and cut. to cut down on cost, piece your tiers together in 2 pieces (cut 2 1-yard pieces for tier 1, 2 2-yard pieces for tier 2, and 2 4-yard pieces for tier three.) with all your pieces cut, we are ready to assemble! You will notice that tier 1 of my petticoat is white. That’s because I only had 4 yards of blue and had to use backup fabric to finish this. No matter, as I intend to make a new one in all white.

Step 4: Assemble the Tiers

Sew each tier individually, so you have 3 separate cylinders. Be mindful to make sure none of the fabric is twisted and that you sew on the same side for both seams, so as not to end up with a seam that faces the wrong way. Although you can use any type of seam you like, be mindful to use one that works well with your selected fabric. Hem the bottom of tier 3 and sew the 1″ hem at the top of tier 1. Don’t worry about putting in the cord or elastic right now.

Step 5: Gather the Tiers and Sew

Depending on your skill and how fancy your sewing machine is, you can do this next step in one of two ways. You need to gather the top of tier 3 to fit the circumference of tier 2. Option 1: If you know how, I would suggest using a ‘gather stitch’ on tier 3. This can be done by using a straight stitch and having the tensions turned all the way up on your machine. This worked about 50% of the time for me, so I had to depend on option 2 the rest of the time. Option 2: Use a basting stitch on the edge of tier 3. By holding onto one thread at the end, manually gather the fabric to the desired circumference. Once you have the top of tier 3 matched up with the bottom of tier 2, sew. It’s easiest to sew with the tier 2 on the right and tier 3 positioned on the left. Just be sure to find a good spot to sew the two together, since not all fabric works well under a normal sewing foot. Once tier 2 and 3 are sewn together, repeat the step by sewing tier 2 to tier 1.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

All that should be left is to cut a small hole in the top casing for the elastic (depending on your fabric, I’d suggest using some fray guard on the opening.) Threat the elastic through and sew the ends together. Make sure the stitches are secure. Next, thread the cord or ribbon through. Tie a knot in either end to keep it from skipping into the casing. Ta-da! Your very own petticoat!