Silk petticoat
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I made a Victorian silk petticoat out of old curtains!

Victorians loved silk petticoats and even those that couldn’t afford them tried to mimic the sound of the rustling silk by using other materials. Like many Victorians, I couldn’t really justify using hundreds of euros to buy expensive silk taffeta to make a petticoat that doesn’t even show. However, there are cheap silk curtains available at thrift stores if you just keep looking often and keep your eyes open. I found a pair of cream silk dupioni curtains that were perfect to make some Victorian underwear. I also added a lot of lace even if it meant using food items to dye them to match the colour of the silk! And I got to sew the whole project using the antique Singer 15 sewing machine that I recently restored!

For the pattern, I used the Victorian Underwear pattern by the Black Snail Patterns. I have already used that pattern before to make a cotton petticoat, so I knew that the pattern was fine, just a bit too long and that was an easy thing to fix.

Here is my video on making the petticoat:

Besides silk, I used cotton lace and cotton tulle with a lace border. I was lucky to find cotton tulle that matched the colour of my silk perfectly. However, the narrower laces were white. Thus, I needed to dye them.

I didn’t have a specific recipe but I knew that yellow onion peels give yellow dye and tea reddish beige. I thus figured out that mixing them both would create a shade pretty close to my cream silk. If I failed, I could always bleach my lace and start over or dye over. In fact, I had to dye over and use more onion peels to get a shade that was closer to yellow than my first attempt. However, the result was a perfect match! I used apple vinegar to fix the dye and then ironed my lace dry while stretching it slightly into its proper shape.

The effect of dyeing and starching cotton lace.
Before dyeing and starching and after. What a difference!

For the narrower eyelet lace, I also needed starch. For that, I used 2,5 dl of water, 1 teaspoon of potato starch, and half a teaspoon of salt. I mixed everything together and kept stirring until the mixture boiled. The result was a smooth goo. I dipped my lace in and then ironed it dry. It was amazing to see how the starch turned my crumbled lace into a smooth and crisp lace.

My finished silk petticoat.

I have been wearing this silk petticoat a few times since I finished it and it truly works well. Since the silk dupion is stiffer, it doesn’t stick to my legs and it holds the skirts up nicely.

I hope you enjoyed this post. See you soon and happy sewing!

Katja

I am a mother of two. I sew, knit and create and blog about it.

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