Goodness, my demi-plié isn't what it used to be....
Oh, you're here!
Friends, I am happy to announce that my crinolines are nearly finished. Yes, you read that right: crinolines -- plural. As I was gathering my 10 yards of nylon net yesterday and realizing I could wrap my entire living room with it, twice, I came to the conclusion that it would make more sense to make two crinolines, which could be worn one on top of the other, or separately. Eureka!
Perhaps you're wondering: what is the difference between a crinoline and a petticoat? Basically, nothing. People often use the word crinoline to mean a stiff net petticoat, or underskirt. And crinoline is often what people call the stiff nylon net fabric (as opposed to tulle, which is soft net). But here in Chelsea, at least, we use the words interchangeably.
Part of the challenge of making the gathered tiers, which a number of you alluded to in your comments yesterday, is that working with a ruffler foot, one can only gather so much. Setting the stitch length down to the tiniest stitch made the gathers much denser, since there's less space between the ruffles, but there's a limit.
Many commenters recommended gathering by hand, and in theory I get why that would create a denser ruffle. The problem is that it's very difficult to put a pin through the net I am working with, so how do you "anchor" the gather once you've pulled your gathering threads, or if you need to adjust it? The weave is so wide that the pin usually falls right out. The other challenge is that the denser (and higher) the gather, the harder it is to fit it under the presser foot of my sewing machine when you're attaching the gathered tier to the next higher tier.
Anyway, I made two crinoline petticoats, and I love them. I still have to bind the seam allowances with ribbon. The seams themselves are very strong, but the raw edges are a little rough to the touch. If the bottom crinoline were worn with the raw seam allowances facing up, and the top crinoline worn with the raw seam allowances facing down, would I have to bind those edges at all? Isn't that basically just for show? Anywho, I will definitely bind the seam allowance where the top net tier attaches to the fabric, since the fabric (sort of a cotton batiste) frays.
Here's the cotton yoke. There's nothing to it, though I did use a piece of the Simplicity petticoat pattern I have, since I had it.
One crinoline has an elastic waistband in a casing. Here's the yoke without the net attached.
For the other, just to keep things interesting, I stitched grosgrain ribbon to the top and ran twill tape through for a drawstring. A drawstring's a little classier than elastic, no?
One short cut I discovered was this:
The tutorial I followed has you close up each tier into a cylinder before gathering and attaching to the next highest tier. This means that the tiers (one gathered, one not) must be precisely the same circumference (like easing in a sleeve). I found that I could get the the same result by attaching the two tiers flat (like attaching a sleeve with the torso still open). That way, if there's a little extra net on one tier or the other at the end, you can simply cut it off.
Then, after all the net tiers are attached, you can simply make a single vertical french seam up the side. Since the net is very flouncy and gathered -- not to mention that it's worn under a skirt (or another petticoat)-- the seam doesn't affect the drape of the crinoline, not in my experience anyway. (You can actually sew the net to the cotton yoke open as well.) It just makes the whole thing easier.
I am so glad I pushed through this, though, like I said, there's still some trim to add, which I hope to put behind me today.
You may be wondering how the crinolines look under the strapless cocktail dress. Wonderful!
In closing, readers, now that skirts for men are taking the world by storm, can the crinoline be far behind? I may have hit upon the next big thing in men's fashion. At least in big cosmopolitan cities and Fire Island.
If you have any questions about crinolines, please feel free to ask. I may not be able to answer them but somebody out there will, no doubt.
I'm a native New Yorker and self-taught sewing fanatic! I've been sewing obsessively since 2009 and today make all my own clothes using mostly vintage patterns and vintage sewing machines. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!