I think the undergarments for Ninon’s dress are just fated to not be historically accurate.
It’s a complete contrast to the dress, which is nitpickingly so.
The problem is that there just isn’t enough research and evidence and extent 17th century undergarments, and I’m not willing to put a huge amount of effort into a garment that might not work. So I’m doing quick and dirty prototype undergarments to go with Ninon’s dress, and later, when I’ve worked out all the details, I’ll make proper historically plausible versions of them.
For now though, quick and dirty will have to do. So for my quick and dirty skirt supports I made a quilted petticoat. We have lots of examples of quilted 18th century petticoats, and there are quite a few mentions of quilted petticoats in 17th century writings, so the idea is sound even if we don’t know exactly how they were constructed.
For my petticoat I used a few metres of yellow polished cotton that I picked up cheap at an op shop (not that cheap though – they carefully folded a bunch of faded bits into the middle to hide the flaws), and for batting some plain white cotton flannel.
My yellow fabric was 54″ wide, so I folded my flannel to 18″, with a bit of double fold at the bottom, and folded 19″ of the yellow fabric up over it, so that my finished petticoat would be 35″ long. I used two 75″ lengths of fabric for a full width of 150.”
I made the mistake of sewing both my side seams together and then quilting the petticoat in the round. Not the best idea. Somehow I ended up with a big fold in the side seam. Next time I’ll quilt the front and back separately, and then sew them together and finish the seams with tapes on the inside.
I made up my quilting patterns based on vague recollections of 18th century petticoats and the limits of my sewing machine’s capacity. Yeah. Impressive.
If I get really ambitious later on I might hand quilt an organic pattern along the space at the bottom so that it looks a bit more historical.
I gathered the two sides of the skirt by knife pleating them to fit Isabelle.
I made two lengths of waistband out of the rest of my yellow cotton and hand-stitched all the pleats to it. I find that some things are just as easy hand stitched or machine stitched. And they look better if you hand stitch them, so why wouldn’t you?
The petticoat looks pretty good when it is finished. The quilting really helps the folds to stand out.
I’ve kept the front flat, and concentrated the volume at the sides and back.
It may not be the prettiest thing ever, but it provides lovely volume under Ninon’s skirt, which is very important.