Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Treasury - Corsets & Crinolines

I made up a new treasury of all the beautiful Victorian inspires underwear that you can find on Etsy. Inspired by my sewing this week to get some undies on Mary Shelley.


So far she has on her crotchless bloomers, and it never fails to surprise me that they bothered wearing them as they are just two legs sewn onto a waistband. There must have been a terrible draft!
She also has on her shift, and corset. And a bright red under-petticoat.

Any of you that follow me on Twitter (NatashaDolls) might already know I had a bit of a shock to find that Mary's petticoats need 1 whole meter of fabric each. And she has 6!. She's only 47cm tall, so I never thought it would be so much. But the very early Victorian style of bell shaped skirts that stuck out straight from the tight cinched waist was achieved with a lot of layers, this being before the invention of the hooped crinoline.

After researching how they did it I'm currently working on a corded petticoat that will be the next layer, which is something I've not done before. I had a bit of trouble getting used to this odd technique, but seem to be doing ok now.
I'm adding approx. 20 "cords" to a meter of fabric, which involves sewing string into the fabric to make it stiffer so it's able to hold it's shape, then starching it to help it a bit more. It's hard enough making a petticoat like this for a doll, I can't imagine how labor intensive it would be to make a full sized one, which would have had as many cords as they could manage. And I've read accounts of up to 100 sewn into one layer. It must have taken ages.
Many women of the time wore as many petticoats in varying layers as they could. I've no idea how they sat down.


  1. This sounds amazing! I hope you'll share lots of in process images of her "delicates".

  2. I have them ready, but wrote from work at the day job so couldn't upload :) I'll be adding them on Friday if I don't get chance before. I've been taking them as I add each layer.

  3. LOL - I've no idea how they walked around! they must have had calves of steal!! and crotchless bloomers? I did not know that, and yes, why?!!! crazy dudes.
    Welcome to blog land dear Natasha :O)

  4. Thanks Abi :)
    Still got loads to do on here, but I've made a start.
    Needs more photos I think. And really need to start thinking about what I do so I don't miss out on photos as I go :)