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Call for pattern testers for a petticoat (or skirt!) pattern with options from 1890-1920

I’ve been hard at worn on the next Scroop Pattern, and have a fabulous, versatile petticoat (or modern skirt) pattern ready to test.  So, that means I need testers to help make sure it’s absolutely perfect!

If you’d like to help test the petticoat, keep reading to learn all about it, and how to apply…

The Pattern:

Scroop Petticoat Line Drawings

A versatile four-gored petticoat with all the delicious finishing details that make late-Victorian and early 20th century lingerie so beautiful.

With four views based on extant garments and original patterns, the pattern creates the correct silhouette for fashions from 1890-1920, but also looks fantastic as a modern skirt.

View A works perfectly under the Fantail Skirt.  View B is great for the slim silhouette of  1909-1914.  Views C & D are perfect for the Kilbirnie Skirt and other mid-1910s skirts.

Make it in silk or lawn as a historical petticoat, or linen as a modern skirt.

The pattern goes from a 24”/61cm waist to a 50”/127cm waist.

Scroop Petticoat Size Chart


This is an easy-intermediate pattern.  Prior historical sewing experience is not required, but testers should be comfortable with both machine and hand sewing.

The pattern features historically accurate construction details.  It’s been designed as a historical petticoat pattern, but can also be worn as a modern skirt.

As part of the application you’ll need to indicate if you plan to test this as a historical garment or as a modern skirt.  If it’s the first you’ll need have a photo of yourself in a corset that matches the era of the view you plan to make (i.e. if you want to make View B, C or D you’ll need a 1910s corset like the Rilla Corset) that you can send a link for.

To be a tester you will need to:

  • Be able to print patterns in A4, A0, US Letter or US full sized Copyshop paper sizes
  • Have the time to sew up the item. You’ll have 10 days (with two full weekends) to make a finished petticoat, photograph it, and provide feedback (for reference, I can make either view in under 6 hours from cut to finish)
  • Be able to photograph your make being worn, and be willing for us to share your photos on this blog and instagram.
  • Provide clear feedback
  • Agree to a confidentially agreement regarding the pattern

I would hugely appreciate it if testers would share their finished make once the pattern launches, but this is not mandatory.  I’m asking for TESTERS, not marketers.

As always I’m looking for a range of testers. I need a spread of geographical location, body type, sewing experience, and personal style.

Social Media

Having a social media presence helps your chances of being chosen as a tester, but isn’t necessarily a requirement.

I’m significantly more likely to choose testers who have an online social media presence, as that means I can really see and analyse their sewing, and how they think about sewing, when I’m choosing testers.

I do occasionally choose testers who don’t have social media, especially if they fill a less common demographic.

The Timeline:


If you’re selected to test I’ll let you know and send you the materials requirements, line drawings, and the full pattern description by 6pm NZ time on Thursday the 15th of July.  This is Wed the 14th for most of the rest of the world.


An important heads up: this pattern uses a LOT of lace.  Views A & C use just under 10 yards/9 meters (7 1/4 yards/ 6.5 meters of insertion lace, and 2 3/4 yards/2.5m hemming lace) in Size 40.


I will send out a digital copy of the pattern to testers before 10pm NZ time on Friday the 23th of July.

Testing & Reviewing:

This should be a fairly quick, easy sew.  Testing will go for 10 days.

Testers will have until 10pm NZ time on Monday the 2nd of August to finish their petticoat/skirt and provide photos and feedback.

To Apply:

Fill out this form!

Make sure you have a link to an image of yourself in a period-appropriate corset if you plan to make a historical version.

Scroop Petticoat Testers Wanted

What you get:

Pattern testers will get a digital copy of the final pattern, lots of thanks, and features on my blog and IG.

Evening dress by Augusta Lundin, 1913, Sweden, silk georgette with gold, silver and copper silk thread embroidery, lamé, velvet, gold lace, chiffon, satin, Göteborgs Stadsmuseum

Rate the Dress: Edwardian Metallics

I’m  currently choosing fabrics for costume designs in bronze and copper, so this week’s Rate the Dress seemed perfectly in keeping with my mental design board.  Or, mostly in line!  The designs I’m working with are very aged and worn; all verdigris and corrosion.  In contrast, this week’s 1910s evening dress is all crisp and polished, almost bright and shiny as the day it was made.  Will you like it?

Last Week: a pink and black striped 1890s reception dress

A very mixed reaction to last week’s Rate the Dress.  Everything from ‘smitten’ to ‘just no’, and every descriptor from ‘restrained’ to ‘exuberant.

Those who didn’t like it weren’t sure about the pink and black though: was the pink to pale to hold its own? And they definitely weren’t in love with the sleeves (I suspect they were a lot better when they were new).

Those who did like it liked it because it was such a perfect exemplar of the 1890s, or in spite of the fact that it was 1890s…in other words, for every possible completely contradictory reason!

The Total: 7.7 out of 10

A slight improvement on the week before.

This week: A 1910s evening dress in copper and bronze

It’s pretty amazing that this 1910s evening dress is only separated from last week’s dress by 30 years.  The fabrics, silhouette, and design aesthetic are all strikingly different.  In contrast, my students today are all wearing clothes that are basically identical to what was worn 30 years ago (in fact, a lot of them are literally identical – late ’90s ‘vintage’ is all the rage amongst the hip young things who were wearing diapers when these garments were first sold!)

Evening dress by Augusta Lundin, 1913, Sweden, silk georgette with gold, silver and copper silk thread embroidery, lamé, velvet, gold lace, chiffon, satin, Göteborgs Stadsmuseum

Evening dress by Augusta Lundin, 1913, Sweden, silk georgette with gold, silver and copper silk thread embroidery, lamé, velvet, gold lace, chiffon, satin, Göteborgs Stadsmuseum

While this dress is radically new compared to the 1890s silhouette, it is nostalgic in its own right; the silhouette and decorations look back to Ancient Greece and Rome.  The sleeves, banded overtunic, and bodice girdle are all re-interpretations of classical dress. It’s characteristic of the 1910s take on Hellenic styles that this dress is coloured, turning its wearer into a goddess in bronze and copper, rather than a marble statue in white.

What do you think?  Would Venus herself have envied the wearer of this frock?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10

A reminder about rating – feel free to be critical if you don’t like a thing, but make sure that your comments aren’t actually insulting to those who do like a garment.  Phrase criticism as your opinion, rather than a flat fact. Our different tastes are what make Rate the Dress so interesting.  It’s no fun when a comment implies that anyone who doesn’t agree with it, or who would wear a garment, is totally lacking in taste.

As usual, nothing more complicated than a .5.  I also hugely appreciate it if you only do one rating, and set it on a line at the very end of your comment.

A recycled 18th century under-petticoat

I’ve been doing a lot of sewing lately: finishing up sewing PHDs (Projects Half Done), both physical and mental.

Physical PHDs are things I actually started that have languished unfinished.

Mental PHDs are things I bought (or was given) fabric for thinking “I’ll just do this project quickly”.  Even though I haven’t actually started the project, it still preys on my mind as an unfinished idea!

Mental PHDs are particularly frustrating when they are really quick simple projects.  Surely I could find the hour needed to make it!

And yet my life has so many ideas and so few hours…

But here’s one I did!

When I was down in Christchurch visiting Lynne last year she gave me a beautifully made nightgown of very high quality fabric which had some wear in the upper half, and a lost sleeve:

Recycled 18th c under-petticoat

The skirt fabric was still in excellent condition, and I thought it would make the perfect 18th century under-petticoat.

Under-petticoats were shorter petticoats tied over the shift, and worn under the stays, pockets, and over-petticoats.  You can see one here:

Bath stays or The lady's steel shapes, Darly, Matthew, 1777, Library of Congress

Bath stays or The lady’s steel shapes, Darly, Matthew, 1777, Library of Congress, PC 1 – 5444

Re-making a modern nightgown into an 18th century under-petticoat means mine won’t be fully accurate of course.

The nightgown iss cotton, which was a luxury fabric in the 18th century, so very uncommon compared to linen and wool (and even silk) for an under-petticoat.  It’s also only 200cm around at the hem, which is a little on the narrow side.   The embroidery designs aren’t typical of the 18th century, but the idea of embroidery is: many extant under-petticoats are decorated with embroidery.

The spirit of my petticoat is definitely accurate though: re-making, saving, and using what you have!

To make mine I measured up from the hem and marked the length I wanted: 85cm/33”

Recycled 18th c under-petticoat

I cut it roughly:

Recycled 18th c under-petticoat

And then tidied up the edge:

Recycled 18th c under-petticoat

Normally I prefer a centre back placket in an under-petticoat, but with two side seams already in place, a centre back placket would only add a point of weakness, and be more work.

So I opened up the left side seam, reinforced the bottom, and hemmed the opening.

Recycled 18th c under-petticoat

Then I cut a waistband, and marked quarters in the waistband and skirt.  I made sure to keep m waistband a couple of inches shorter than my natural waist, so it could always be tied without trying to overlap.

Recycled 18th c under-petticoat

Then the moment when the petticoat starts to look like something: I pleated the skirt to fit the waistband, with all the pleats facing away from the front, towards the centre back.

Recycled 18th c under-petticoat

Recycled 18th c under-petticoat

I pinned on the waistband:

Recycled 18th c under-petticoat

And then sewed it on.

By machine…

Recycled 18th c under-petticoat

The petticoat already has lots of machine sewing, and since it’s winter I need to take care of my hands and limit hand sewing to the places where it really counts.

Like tie hems!  Such a satisfying moment, and impossible to do beautifully by any method but with handsewing.

Recycled 18th c under-petticoat

And there’s my under-petticoat!

Recycled 18th c under-petticoat

Recycled 18th c under-petticoat

And very satisfactory it is!  Works well had its inaugural outing under the chintz petticoat you see behind it.

If you want to make your own, Burnley & Trowbridge have a video tutorial, and the American Duchess 18th century Costuming book includes under-petticoat instructions.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with the rest of of the nightgown.  Oh dear.  Another PHD…

And for the Historical Sew Fortnightly 2021:

The Challenge: The Costumer’s New Look (April): Give an old costume a new look, either by creating a new accessory or piece which expands or changes the aesthetic and use of an outfit, re-fashioning something into a costume item, or re-making an old costume.

Material: An old cotton nightgown

Pattern:  None, based on period methods.

Year: 1750-1795

Notions: Cotton tape

How historically accurate is it?  Not at all in precise techniques, but accurate in spirit.

Hours to complete: >1.5 hours

First worn: For an 18th century dinner, late June.

Total cost: 0!