18th Century

Crewel Work petticoat

I just love this petticoat.  I love the crewel work: how bright and colourful it is, the combination of flowers, the mix of realism and stylization.

Petticoat, American (New England), mid-18th century, MFA Boston

I also love the idea of recreating the aesthetic of this petticoat with just a thin strip of exciting fabric on a less interesting top.  Not entirely historical, but charming and effective.



  1. Elise says

    This makes me thing of a skirt I had that that I got at Wet Seal in 1997. It was long and grey with red and green flower embroidery on the bottom. There were tiny mirrors in the center of the flowers I loved it! Does 1997 count as historical?

  2. It wouldn’t take forever to embroider a border like that… It’s fairly open, and crewel goes quickly.

    I like the fabric border idea, too.

  3. I have a length of red and gold striped taffeta that fairly screams POLONAISE at me every time I open the cupboard. It needs a pett like this one under it. Now I can see that I feel a 2012 project fulminating…

  4. How charming it may have been to wear this kind of secret embroidery cloth !

    • I think charming is the perfect word! The petticoat wouldn’t have been totally secret though. It would have been meant to be visible at the open front of the skirt – the term petticoat is used to mean ‘under-skirt’, not in the modern sense of undergarment.

  5. I like crewel work too–it’s so bright and cheerful. If I liked the idea of doing embroidery more, I’d teach myself to do crewel work.

  6. Oooh love! And a petti with a strip of exciting fabric on the bottom would be historical–there’s an extant white petti with a strip of block print on the bottom! (It’s photographed in Fitting and Proper, I think…) I hope to see a Dreamstress original soon!

    • Oooh, thank you! Even better than pretty and easy is historical and pretty and easy! I must find a copy of fitting and proper!

  7. Now that’s a project I’d like to do. Embroidering a petticoat. Would suit my love of design and hand sewing.
    I’ve not done crewelwork before. And my embroidery with silks is…self taught.

Comments are closed.