"Becoming Victoria"

I am honoured and excited to have been invited by the Llandrindod Wells Victorian Festival committee to appear as a young Queen Victoria at this year's festival from 22nd-28th August 2016. In preparation for this role I will be designing and making the costumes for the young queen over the coming months. These will be authentic reproductions of the fashions of the early years of Victoria's reign and will include a range of 1840s women's garments from corsets and petticoats to day dresses, ball gowns and bonnets. This blog will document and share my progress as I research, design and stitch each element to reveal the secrets of "Becoming Victoria".

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

The first petticoat

53 days to go and the first petticoat is complete.

A total of 31 rows of cotton cord have been sewn into petticoat to stiffen the hem and create this shape. The petticoat will also be heavily starched to help it stand up under the dress. A deep, shaped waist-band helps to minimise bulk at the waist. Although this is not common in extant petticoats, I have seen some examples with a deep yoke and when wearing multiple layers this helps immensely to preserve the line of the figure created by the corset.

The skirt is cartridge pleated and hand-stitched to the waistband. Cartridge pleats are formed when evenly spaced gathering stitches are drawn up to pull the fabric into pleats like a concertina. The back of each pleat is then secured with a stitch through the waistband. At the back, the pleats stand away from the waistband three-dimensionally and this helps to give the pleats a little extra kick to make the petticoat stand away from the body.

Cartridge Pleats in progress
Over this petticoat, a second flounced petticoat will help to add softness to the silhouette and bulk out the skirts, before a final, lace-hemmed petticoat is added to smooth over all of the layers. By the early 1850s, women had to wear multiple petticoats to support the increasingly large skirts that were fashionable - sometimes as many as twelve. The invention of the cage-crinoline, as oppressive as it may appear to modern eyes, was therefore undoubtedly a relief to many women as it was certainly lighter, cooler, less-restrictive and more hygienic than the huge quantities of petticoats they were used to wearing.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to share your comments and questions here