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What the items is: Regency under bust petticoat with straps

The Challenge: Under it all

Fabric: Heavy duty muslin bed sheet (vintage circa 1950)

Pattern: None (based on pictures)

Year: 1810 – ?

Notions: Cotton twill tape in white and off white, linen thread

How historically accurate is it? Fairly – There are some extant examples though they are all frilly and see through. However, I had to cheat and machine sew the pleats and back seam because the fabric is so darn sturdy that I would have put holes through my fingers if I had sewn by hand and yes, that would have happened with a thimble because that’s what happened last year.

Hours to complete: Maybe 5? I didn’t really keep track. I kinda whipped it together because I need it asap!

First worn: Will be worn in less than a week: June 13 – 15 at Years of Napoleon (pics to follow in upcoming posts).

Total cost: 0 – my mom picked up the box of sheets at a church white elephant sale about two years ago, the twill tape is left over from other projects. Score!

Regency petticoat 3

I needed fast photos so I’m not modeling it nor is the mannequin (Bartholomew as my husband has christened it), instead sadly it is just on the floor. Pardon the fold wrinkles….it probably won’t be ironed before I wear it because this is meant for my first person interpretation of the Ox Bow tavern keeper’s daughter. We are a middling class family who run a tavern, offering meals and beverages throughout the day to the weary living historian who happens upon the tavern in their daily work, travels, and life. Because we are constantly around the fire and what not, I wanted a heavy duty “I don’t care if this gets dirty and gross” type under garment. As much as I would have loved a froo-froo lacy petticoat, that was not going to happen.

There are no “in progress” photos because I was sewing as fast as possible; this is also another reason for the basic style/design. Overall, it goes together like a standard 18th century petticoat and here is what I did:

1. Cut rectangle of fabric. Salvaged edges will form the back seam. The bottom already had a hem so I used that as the bottom and I measure from just under my bust to the floor and added some because I knew I wanted tucks.

2. Pin tucks and sew. I don’t like how mine pulled on the machine, but I’m not complaining/worrying too much because this is going under my gown.

3. Double running stitch for side gathers. I like gathers on the side for my regency gowns/petticoats because it adds a nice fullness without being ridiculous and I keep the front straight. I don’t have an exact measurement, just to the sides of the bust (almost at the start of my armpit). However, I did not put quite enough gathers in so I have two pleats.

4. Bind waist band with twill tape. Because the fabric is so hard to puncture with a needle, I did a whip stitch on the front side of the twill tape first and then on the back. Across the front, where the fabric is not so thick, I did a back stitch to secure it. I’m really proud of myself because I re-used old twill tape from another petticoat. Hurray for upcycling!!!!

Regency petticoat 3 strap and waistline detail


In this photo, at the edge of the opening, you can see where the waist band is only so long and I had to attach another piece. I’m a genius.

Regency petticoat 1



5. Measure and attach shoulder straps. These are genius for me because I have a super tiny under bust and everything slides down to the top of my hips (the widest part of my body at 40 inches; there is a 9 inch difference between my under bust and my hips).

6. Sew back seam. Leave enough of an opening so it can be pulled on.

Regency petticoat 2


Voila that’s it!!!!!

I will post more pics later once I attend the event.