A simple Regency petticoat

I’m still catching up on my historical sewing from 2018, but don’t get too excited, because the bits I haven’t blogged really aren’t that exciting.

A Regency petticoat thedreamstress.com

Like this petticoat. It’s useful, it’s helpful, it’s generally nicely made, but exciting? Not really.

A Regency petticoat thedreamstress.com

I based the pattern on the width of my fabric + the dimensions of the skirts in a couple of dresses ca. 1810 in Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion and Cassidy Percoco’s Regency Women’s Dress. I figure petticoat dimensions couldn’t have been that different to skirt dimensions.

A Regency petticoat thedreamstress.com

I have a problem with anything with narrow straps sliding off my shoulders because I have sloping shoulders and scoliosis, PLUS I’ve had a problem with Regency petticoats wanting to pull down in the back with the weight of gathers, so I solved both with this one by angling my straps to the centre back of the petticoat.

A Regency petticoat thedreamstress.com

The drawstring gathers, while I have no idea if they are accurate, allow it to be a little more adjustable to the person wearing it.

A Regency petticoat thedreamstress.com

I intend to wear this petticoat under my 1813 Kashmiri dress, so I sewed 6 lines of tucks into the hem, to help it to support the slightly heavier wool fabric.

A Regency petticoat thedreamstress.com

The tucks, while not exactly exciting fabric manipulation, did mean that I could enter it into the October Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge, because that’s when I finished the petticoat!

The Challenge: #10 Fabric Manipulation

Fabric: 2m of cotton lawn, found at an opshop

Pattern: None, based off of skirt patterns

Year: ca. 1810

Notions: thread, cotton tape

How historically accurate is it?: The shape is accurate to a Regency skirt, but I made up a number of the construction techniques, including the back gathers, so maybe 40%

Hours to complete: 3 hours – a bit more time for tucks and flat felled seams

First worn: by a friend during out Sew & Eat Historical Retreat, 20 October

Total cost: NZ$6 or so

And here it is, under a dress and apron, at the Sew & Eat Historical Retreat:

NZ Sew & Eat Historical Retreat Food thedreamstress.com


  1. How many petticoats have survived from that era? Not many I should think. I suspect that someone else made a petticoat exactly like that for similar reasons. People have always innovated with what they have according to their needs; not everyone dressed in what was exactly the fashion or style of the moment. Just like today! I think your petticoat is lovely. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Grace Darling says

    Uh duh… I never knew tucks in petticoats were made to support outer garments….I thought they
    were purely decorative.

    • Yep! Functional AND decorative! Anytime you double fabric you make it 2x stiffer and more structural. Like quilting, which strengthens fabric as it holds it together.

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