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Making a Petticoat

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A lot of material can be needed to get the desired fullness you want under your skirt. This guide is about making a petticoat.


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

February 11, 20131 found this helpful

In making a petticoat for a tea-length dress that has a skirt of 6 yards around, how many yards around the bottom tier should I make it in order to get a semi-fullness (not like square dance ones)?

By Sharon F.


February 17, 20130 found this helpful

'Rule of thumb': For a nice full balanced ruffle the ruffle fabric should be three times the measurement of the fabric it will be attached to before it is gathered. Try it that way first, you can always remove a little fabric and re-distribute the ruffles and re-pin it until you like the results.

As for square dance skirts, they frequently have several layers of ruffles, sometimes a mix of fabric and crinoline ruffles, and sometimes even ruffled bloomers for the visual effect they achieve; you would need yards and yards of fabric and layers and layers of ruffles to get the petticoat that fluffy. Start with three times the measure, it is easier to loosen it and remove some fabric than it is to add and re-ruffle fabric.

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June 11, 20130 found this helpful

The square dance clubs idea for petticoats is a great one. Think also about getting two or even three and combining them to get the fullness that the bride will need. Adding a new top-part could be monogrammed with the bride & grooms initials and date etc, lots more forget-me-not, and more and more.


It is so wonderful of you to do your sister's wedding dress. Good luck.

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December 24, 20180 found this helpful

I am strictly Uniformed 24/7. For various reasons I often have to wear Petticoats made from layers and layers of Crumpley-Crackling NEWSPAPERS! I make them myself, with all the sheets of paper perfectly folded and pleated and neatly taped together into a huge pyramide or bell shape to really Puff out my huge sticky-out Skirts all round my Rear End. It is a bit embarrassing because they are really Stiff and Bustling and I Rustle noisily with every step but I find Newspaper is ideal and very cheap. I do get a lot of unwanted attention and wandering hands!

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July 12, 2012

As some of you may know I am working on my sister's wedding gown. She wants a mega-full ball gown type dress and wants a petticoat made completely out of netting, no hoops whatsoever. The thing is I've never made a petticoat that huge and I need some help. How many yards of fabric will I need for the underskirt? The petticoat is for a ball gown constructed out of 8 yards of fabric. Thank you!


By embroiderylover from New York, NY


July 13, 20120 found this helpful

All I can say is it is going to take many layers of netting to get the fullness your sister apparently wants. Netting is usually 72 inches wide, so you could use the width to go around instead of up and down.

Take it from somebody who was a teenager in the era when girls wore can-cans (as we called them back then) you will need many, many layers of netting. We wore numerous layers of the can-cans under our skirts, depending on how full we wanted them.

Real full skirts aren't the most comfortable things to wear, it isn't that they are too heavy, but then again in your sister's case it will depend on the type of fabric the dress is made out of. It is just sometimes you have to get into an area that isn't quite wide enough for the width of the dress.

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July 13, 20120 found this helpful

I just looked at the David's Bridal web site and they have ready made petticoats with a strapless bra type top attached for $59.00. They might not be as full as your sister wants, but it wouldn't hurt to look at them. They were described as being for a full ball gown type look.

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July 13, 20120 found this helpful

@ Redhatterb: yes, I've gone to David's bridal to see if I could possibly find a full petticoat and no luck. I went literally to every bridal shop but they do not carry netting petticoats as for they are too "expensive" to sell they only carry hoops. We do not want hoops because it makes the dress appear hollow and the crinoline gives it a more flattering shape.


I understand about the many many layers we're gonna have to use we so far ordered two hundred meter of petticoat netting (hopefully that'll be enough), enhanced with fishing wire at the hem of each tier. The dress is made out of heavy Italian duchess satin she loves challenges and she says that she wants her dress to weight at least 75 lbs. Yes I know she's insane. LOL add to that the 50 meter long train by 4 meters wide.

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July 16, 20120 found this helpful

A crinoline - which is usually worn under the wedding dress is usually made in 3 parts - part 1 - an aline skirt of any fabric - usually something similar to taffeta - it needs some stiffness. Then, layers of netting starting at the bottom and going up - then, a top layer of the same fabric underneath are used to cover it - giving the dress a smoother look.


If the entire crinoline is made of netting -with no 'lining' it's gonna be uncomfortable. i'd say you could probably make one without the top layer - based on just looking at the undergarments for ball gowns.

I agree with you on the hoops; unless the dresses are multi-layered as they wore in the 1800's - hoops just make the dresses look funny - this from a former medieval renactor/costumer.
I think this may be what you're looking for - the pattern anyway!  ue-patterns.html

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July 18, 20120 found this helpful

Just a quick thought - have you checked with any square dance clubs. They have those very full skirts that are held out by very full petticoats that are light and often homemade. Once you have directions, all you'd have to do is lengthen it, or possibly just lengthen the top layers.


Keeping the inner layers short would add the fullness without the weight. Anyway, whatever you decide to do, good luck (I made my sister's wedding gown too).

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