Category Archives: underthings

HSF #4 – The Bedskirt Petticoat

I finally managed to finish the overdue HSF Project, Under It All. I’ve been slowly building not just my own 1860’s wardrobe, but also those of my sister and mother.

After reading about dresses made out of curtains and petticoats made out of curtains I’ve been keeping my eye out when I go thrifting. Because while curtains are a cheap source of embroidered fabric, thrift stores are an even cheaper source. So far I’ve found several awesome fabrics (which you’ll probably see in upcoming projects), but no curtains or even white sheets that were suitable have turned up. However, about two or three weeks ago I found a bedskirt with a lovely eyelet ruffle. My mom fell in love with the eyelet, so I decided to use it on her petticoat.

I took my inspiration from a combination of the following petticoats.




I didn’t use a pattern. I just measured my mom’s waist, the circumference of her hoop, and her waist to hem.

I unpicked the eyelet from the bedskirt because I wanted to keep all of the embroidery possible. Then I used my shirring foot to gather the bedskirt, sewed it the hem, and added two tucks so the petticoat would be the right length. Then I gathered the waist to fit her measurements and added the waistband.

The finished product:


Here’s a closeup of the eyelet so you can get the full impact.


I admit, it doesn’t look its best not on a person. But my mom wasn’t available for pictures tonight. At some point I’ll have saved up enough to buy a dress form. But for now the petticoat on a hanger will have to do.

The Challenge: Under It All

Fabric: white 100% cotton muslin and a bedskirt of unknown fiber content (but I assume mostly cotton)

Pattern: none

Year: 1860’s

Notions: white thread, eyelet ruffle, and two hooks and eyes

How historically accurate is it? I’d say pretty close. I sewed it on a modern machine and the eyelet is machine made, probably from somewhere in China.

Hours to complete: I’d say about 6 hours?

First worn: Saturday to the Nature Coast Civil War Reenactment

Total cost: $4 for the bedskirt and $18 for the muslin

HSF #3 – Pink – The Pink Tasseled Garters

After the difficulties I had last challenge, I was determined that this one would go easier. That this would be a small, easy project. One that I could work in the midst of my frantic preparations for Olustee. And I achieved a modicum of success. I know the last post was a bit monstrous in length, so I’m going to try and keep things fairly succinct.

I was inspired by this picture of a knit pair of garters.

Civil War Garters

Those garters were knit by World Turn’d Upside Down and are based on an 1862 pattern from Godey’s pattern.

Godey's New Style of Garter

Starting out this project I had a few limitations. Such as the fact I don’t actually knit. However, after consulting with the great and all knowing internet gods I was able to come up with a plan of attack. I dug around in my yarn stash and came up with a hot Barbie pink and two very soft pastels. I went with the soft pink that was thin and most likely a wool/cotton blend of some sort and an appropriately sized D crochet needle.

After I finished, I again consulted the internet gods and found a lovely tassel tutorial.

For those interested, here’s the pattern I used.

Row 1: ch 7
Row 2: turn, skip 1 ch, half double crochet 6 times, ch 1
Row 3-54: turn, 6 hdc in the back loop, ch 1 (it took me to row 54 to get the length I needed to fit around my healthy lower thigh, add or subtract from here as needed)
Row 55-62: turn, 3 hdc (continuing to crochet in the back loop for the entire garter), ch 1
Join the end with the empty place that was created when you switched to 3 hdc. Weave in your end bits, follow the instructions for making a tassel, attach it, and tada!




While they’re not exactly the same as the knit versions. They’re about as close as I can get without learning how to knit. 


I currently don’t actually have anything for them to hold up, so I’m postponing modeling them.

The Challenge: Pink

Fabric: A pale pink wool yarn.

Pattern: Based on an 1862 pattern from Godey’s.

Year: 1862

Notions: Self made tassels in matching pink yarn.

How historically accurate is it? I’d say pretty accurate, if you ignore the fact that most women knew how to knit in 1862. But let’s pretend that there were some women out there who were so terrible at knitting that they preferred to crochet instead. In that case it’s wonderfully accurate!

Hours to complete: I’d say about two hours.

First worn: I wore them to make sure they’d stay up well enough. But I’ll wear them for real this weekend.

Total cost: I purchased the yarn when I was living in South Korea a few years ago, if I remember correctly I bought two skeins of this yarn for $1.00.