A "Quick" Green Silk Quilted Petticoat

Hi Lovelies!

Today I want to share with you some saucy little details about a silk quilted petticoat I made (kinda) this fall for the Holiday/Red Dunmore photo shoot we did at American Duchess.

A long, long time ago, Lauren purchased a "practice" quilted petticoat panel from Denise at Romantic Recollections. Lauren always wanted to make it into a petticoat, but she never had the time or a specific project that gave her the excuse to sit down and make the panel into a petticoat.

Welp, when we were discussing the photo shoot concept for the Red Dunmores, the idea of a quilted petticoat came up. I was (begrudgingly) willing to make the petticoat, even though I've been in desperate need for a big, fat, long break from the 18th century (but that's an entirely different blog post for a different day). To psych myself up for the project (and minimize my whining....) I decided to construct this petticoat based off the original I studied at the Nordiska Museet back in the fall of 2014. While I can't share the photos I took, I can share the ones that are on Digitalt Museum.

(Side note: For my Swedes out there - can someone please explain why this quilted petticoat is listed as a siddenstubb instead of a kjol? I couldn't even find it when I searched vadderad. Talk about frustrating, and with my (very) limited Swedish language skills - I still don't get the stubb part of this. The sidden..sure...but stubb? Not kjol? I don't get it. /endrant)

Front of Petticoat

Back of petticoat

Detail of interior back of petticoat.

I know that these pictures don't really show you everything, but there are a couple things that I noted when I studied the garment:

1. No signs of being remade. The waistband appears to be of the same silk as the petticoat (discolored, but the same). There are no picked out stitches, etc., that would indicate this petticoat was remade. Trust me. I looked. Hard. So what this means is that the pleating pattern and waistband treatment are probably original to the period - and this changes how I have viewed petticoat construction.

2. It had that fitted waistband that closed with hooks and eyes to one side, though it has pocket slits on both sides of the 'coat.

3. Cartridge pleats at the bum y'all. What is this new and exciting world? AHHHH

4. Big ass pleats. Cause quilted petticoats are full, and you don't need that much circumference to have a fluffy, full petticoat. The wadding is also not at the top part of the petticoat - this is super common - and it's to reduce bulk at the waist.

5. This petticoat is very similar to petticoats in other museum collections, like Colonial Williamsburg, that former curator Linda Baumgarten did extensive research on. Using her research, it fits the hallmarks of a mass produced quilted petticoat from the UK that was sold to either a Swede in the UK or was exported to Sweden for sale there.

Ok. So I have these little nuggets of information, and a deep confusion about how the waistband of the petticoat was treated, and I decided that I wanted to know how it worked and if it was a logical 18th century choice.

Spoiler: It worked.

It doesn't mean it wasn't a bear to deal with, cause it was....but using this basic construction information - I was able to take the quilted panel and turn it into a quilted petticoat. Since it was a just a sample project, I did have a tricky time trying to find the straight lines, and clean up some parts of the quilting. It left the panel at approx. 90" circumference, but like I mentioned, since it's quilted it actually worked ok. I was more concerned about having the most uneven hem of all time because I didn't know where my straight lines were 95% of the time.

I did have to make some changes to the construction that didn't affect the fit of the petticoat - I didn't cut a slit on the other side of the petticoat, because of the quilting, and just left it with one slit that I wore to my right side, where I wear my pocket. So to denote the start of the back from the front, I folded the petticoat in half, and pin marked it. From there I just adjusted my pleating to help clarify the front from the back. The one side seam was mantua-maker hemmed, and I finished the pocket slits with folding the fabric into itself and running stitched it closed.

Since I couldn't cut out the wadding from the sample, I just folded it over and left it raw. It did add a lot of bulk to my gown, and you can see the stress wrinkles from the petticoat in the bodice of my gown. However, if I had been able to take it out, I wouldn't have had that problem. The original petticoat had folded the raw edges into themselves, and shut with a running stitch. This would make for a good, clean, finish. I didn't do that. 

I whipped the petticoat to the waistband, trying to go through all the layers. It worked well enough, but my stitches were very coarse due to the bulk in the top of the petticoat. I also left the extra bit on the end of my waistband so that way Lauren and I can let the skirt out if we ever need to. 
 The waist band was a strip of the silk satin with a double layer of heavy weight linen as the interfacing. It helped add the stability I needed for the waistband, and seems to be how the original waistband was constructed as well.
The back of the petticoat with the centrally located cartridge pleats! 

Detail shot of the cartridge pleats with my ugly ass sewing. Ugh. So gross. 

Finished petticoat! It's so pretty - the camera doesn't do it justice, but when I share the finished ensemble photos later this week!

The other funny thing about this petticoat that irritates Lauren...just a little bit...

It's a little to short for her.

But it's the perfect length for me and my short little legs. Perfect for the photo shoot, but is totally going to require us to get crafty whenever Lauren wants to wear this pretty thing.

So, in summary, the Nordiska Museet's quilted petticoat is cool. The construction totally works for the 18th century, and I don't really want to make one again.

All you crazy kids who want to hand quilt a petticoat...have fun with that...I support you 110% and will cheer you on from the sidelines. :D

Till Next Time...

<3 <3


  1. 'Stubb' was an 18th century Swedish name for a skirt (what we'd call a 'kjol' today), then in the 19th century it mostly signified a quilted petticoat. There's quite a bit of confusion over what things should be called...

    1. AH! Thank you so much for clarifying this. :D

      As for the confusion - yeah...talk about tricky...some 18th century petticoats/garments would come up when I search kjol and others didn't...streamlining the database would be extremely useful...at least allowing things like this petticoat to come up in a kjol search even if it's not listed as a kjol would be incredibly helpful.

  2. I'm curious as to why you sewed the band to the inner edge of the cartridge pleats so the front edge sticks out on the correct side. Is it because you had the bulk of the wadding there? The original petticoat pleats are sewn so the pleat depth is on the inside - which is exactly how you sew 19th C cartridge pleats to a band. Just something I noticed and wondered why you finished that way.

    P.S. I totally want to hand quilt a silk petticoat... someday. ;-)

    1. You know...I have no idea why I did that. I just did or it was a quick look at my photos and not double checking myself . It also could be bulk - the original is not nearly as full as this one since the wadding wasn't at the top, and there are a lot more pleats as well. Who knows.... :)

  3. Oooooh so pretty ! I have been eyeing quilt silk petticoats for some time now but the thought of having to hand sew it to create the intricate design details was already giving me nightmares... So it IS possible to do it with a sewing machine and still having it looking good...
    Any extra advices on creating the drawings ? Thx for sharing all that !
    la bise


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