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supplies for a hooped petticoat

Evie | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

I would like some help in deciding what to do about a Civil

War dress I will be making for my grand-daughter.  I already

have the pattern for the dress but I don’t know how to go

about finding what I would need in order to either buy the

petticoat or to make it.  Are there any patterns for this type

of thing or are there any websites to order either the real

thing or the supplies and instructions to make it with.  Does

it require ribbing (like for a corset) or does it require

horsehair stiffening?  Thank you in advance for the help.


  1. ElonaM | | #1

    I'm not really into this sort of thing, but I have seen patterns in both McCall's and Simplicity that purport to be camis, corsets, and petticoats from the Civil War period.

    1. Evie | | #6

      Elona, thank you for the information you sent about finding patterns in the pattern

      books.  I feel this endeavor is going to take

      a lot of my time for my grand-daughter, but

      I will put the time in gladly for her.  I'm

      afraid that if I do it for her I will have to say

      yes to further requests from my other 5

      grand-daughters.  I will check it out. Thanks.

  2. carolfresia | | #2

    Check out this site: http://www.elizabethstewartclark.com. There's a lot of info. about period costuming (I haven't noticed if she talks about hoops, but there's a question and answer section).


    1. Evie | | #4

      Thank you very much for your reply.  I shall look

      into this website,


  3. lbishel | | #3

    I've generally had good luck using bridal hoops, as long as they have 6 to 8 hoops in them.  Make sure you adjust them so that the silhouette is bell or hay stack shaped which are appropriate for the period.

    The real key to getting an authentic look is to (a) make sure she's wearing a corset so she stands and moves correctly and (b) fit the dress smoothly to the corset. 

    Check out http://www.americancenturies.mass.edu/activities/dressup/index.html

    This is an educational site done by Old Deerfield Museum which shows each layer of clothing and tayloring details for the 17th-20th centuries.  It's fun and will answer some questions.  Hope this helps!

    1. Evie | | #5

      Thank you very much for your kind response to my

      inquiry.  Lynn, I shall look into it and check it out as soon

      as possible.

    2. rjf | | #9

      "Check out http://www.americancenturies.mass.edu/activities/dressup/index.html"

      That's a really good site.  Almost like paper dolls!  Can you imagine putting on all that clothing at one time?  Especially in July?  I think they needed the corset to keep themselves upright under all the stuff they wore.          rjf

      1. Jean | | #10

        That's fun. Thanks.  One day soon DD and I will be making a period dress for her  to wear as Docent at the Capon House,  circa the late 1800s, early 1900s. That will be a fun project.

        1. rjf | | #12

          Hi Jean, Will you post a picture when the outfit is done?  I don't know Capon House but I spent a year in Williamsburg where the guides (I don't think they had docents then) wore farthingales. At least, that's the name that comes to mind.  Strange looking, but easier to wear than the hoops and corsets, I think. 

          Have you done sox yet?                rjf

          1. Jean | | #14

            Yes, but don't hold your breath, she's had the pattern for over a year. LOL  the Cappon House is in Holland, MI. Check it out.


            The socks didn't get started.....vacation was too much fun.....I didn't even get bored enough riding to start them. Well, it's nice to have  a project just in case I sprain an ankle or break a leg. :-/  I might just have to haul out that article in Threads on making them on the machine.

      2. lbishel | | #11

        I have worn all those layers for a week at a time in July!  You can take off  alot of weight easily; there's no room to eat.  The only plus is that there are so many layers to absorb the sweat.  With the corset, you sometimes feel like your bones are moving -- very odd!

        I'm glad you liked the online paper dolls.  I'm 1900 Woman.

        1. rjf | | #13

          I was surprised to read that the corsets were buttoned in the front and laced in the back but it makes sense.  The buttons were easier to undo and do while the lacing made it the right (or desired) size.  Clothing today is much more sensible for comfort even if I don't always agree with the styles.  I was just looking in my closet for something to wear tomorrow (Easter Sunday).  Thank heaven I'll be in the choir loft playing hand bells where no one will see me.  Maybe I should start sewing again.   rjf

        2. carolfresia | | #15

          Lynn, is that really you in the photos? You look just perfect--and not uncomfortable at all in those layers of underpinnings!


          1. lbishel | | #16

            The corset is not actually too bad -- until you take it off and realize the difference!  I find 1890's-1900's corsets more comfortable than Civil War era corsets because they compress my waist, where I'm squishy, rather than my ribs, where I'm not. 

            The layers of clothing are pretty nice during the winter, but I've done a number of shows in 100 degree heat and humidity.  Ug!  I feel like laundry right out of the washer's spin cycle.

            I have VAST respect for my great-great-grandmother who bore 24 children while wearing all of those layers and a corset.  We all have a lot of strong women in our families to be proud of!

  4. Barbaran8 | | #7

    Amazon Drygoods has patterns for hoops, and they have the steel tape embedded in buckram that you need to make proper hoops.


    1. Evie | | #8

      Barb, Thank you for the website you sent me.  Like all the other suggestions from such

      kind people I would like to study all the


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