Petticoat Dilemma

by AdornVintage on November 9, 2012 · 9 comments

in 1950s,1960s,Dresses,Vintage Sewing

Hello Friends!

 

I have been a long time reader but I’ve never actually posted before but I finally need some collective advice!

I found this pink ballgown at a vintage shop and I whipped up a pretty substantial petticoat for this dress. I knew the pink “bustle” in the back would need some significant support so I designed the petticoat to have about a dozen shorter, thicker, fuller layers of netting in the back and the front has a flat  panel and then two layers of support around the bottom. The effect I was trying to achieve was that the front would lay relatively flat with just a little support and the back would have that gorgeous bustley look to it and the pink fabric would drape well.

 

Well, the petticoat was ok…but not really what I wanted. The pink fabric is really quite heavy and kind of droopy. As you can tell from the front I got that gorgeous bell shape but I am just not getting the back to work out.

Suggestions? Do you think I need to stuff the bustle itself? Add bones to the petticoat? Has anyone experienced something like this?  The fabric itself loops under to make the bustle shape.

 

There are a few more pictures here though I don’t think I have any detailed construction photos at the moment.

Thanks for your help!

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Katherine November 9, 2012 at 9:12 pm

ooooooooooo I’ve seen this dress before here http://www.etsy.com/listing/92169560/1950s-white-organdy-pink-floral-flocked?ref=usr_faveitems
They seemed to have gotten the bustle to sit out, you might have to stuff if or gently tack it into place. Seriously adorable dress!

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EmSewCrazy November 9, 2012 at 11:42 pm

LOVE THIS!!
Sorry I have no useful advice.

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Jayne November 10, 2012 at 6:35 am

Perhaps a more structured bustle petticoat would work. Harlots & angels have one, that is still frilly but also has a boned section
http://www.harlotsandangels.co.uk/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=42_52&products_id=194
Maybe even a bustle pad would work to support the outer flounces, but I think stuffing it will look to heavy & unnatural.
Here’s an example
http://www.pastandpresentcreations.com/galleryindex.php?&g2_itemId=726
Good luck

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Julie-Ann November 10, 2012 at 6:44 am

You might want to try adding horsehair braid . It is the secret to adding structure without stiffness.

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Jessamyn November 10, 2012 at 10:49 am

I agree with Katherine: At this point I think you need to address the pink overbustle itself. Stuffing it gently with tulle is the simplest approach; next in difficulty would be horsehair braid tacked to its inside hems; followed by fully lining it with stiff tulle or organza, which it probably should have had from the beginning. I wonder if the pink fabric was originally sized or starched.

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life is stlye November 10, 2012 at 11:35 am

this is amazing :)

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WendyBee November 10, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Okay, first, I loooooove the dress. I am green with envy that you: a) own that dress, and b) have such a lovely, slim figure to dress with such a confection.

I can’t quite envision the structure of the pink bow bustly thing. Is it possible, (Perhaps using a tailor’s ham and/or a steamer) to finish it with some spray sizing? Part of the problem seems to be that the fabric is too limp, not enough body. I often use sizing when I iron clothes made of fabrics without enough “backbone” to hold a pleasing shape. And then, if that isn’t enough (which it probably won’t be) I would be tempted to underline it with tulle and horsehair the edges. And then of course, at the ball, don’t be a wallflower — dance the night away, as sitting will crush the effect you’ve worked so hard for.

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Housewife Betty November 11, 2012 at 10:29 am

I can’t believe you found that dress! What a score!

I agree with the other posters that you need to address the bustle, and I also agree that stuffing it with stiff lightweight tulle is a good bet. I also think the horsehair braid is a good idea.

On a side note, this dilemma made me think immediately about the American couturier Charles James. He was known for doing dresses with elaborate understructures. I’m specifically thinking of the “Butterfly” and “Four Leaf Clover” dresses. If you’ve never explored the Costume Institute archives at the Met, it’s a definite treat:

http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/80097243?rpp=60&pg=1&ao=on&ft=charles+james&pos=36

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AdornVintage November 11, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Thank you all for all the lovely advice! I think I’ll be stuffing the dress and maybe putting some horsehair braid in it – my personal policy for vintage is “First do no harm” so stuffing the bustle and using larger tailors tacks seems to be a good solution because it can be gently removed. I have a significant amount of over the top or really old clothing in archival storage and this looks like a candidate for that one in a year or two so I’d like it to be semi permanent solution.

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