Friday, January 13, 2012

Dotted Quilted Petticoat

From the seller:

This charming mid 19th century quilted petticoat is made of black polished cotton (or silk?) printed with organized groups of white dots in two types of patterns. It is lined with black twilled cotton in the upper part and what feels like cotton and wool in the lower part. It is gathered into a black cotton waistband. It appears the waistband is a replacement as it is different material from the rest and it fastens with hooks and eyes instead of a button or ties. There is also a trimmed dart taken in the top of the petticoat opposite to the opening, slightly minimizing the bulk around the hips which would require a change to the waistband to make it fit.
There is no batting in the upper 6.5 inches (16.5 cm). The middle 14+ inches (35.5 cm)
of the petticoat has light batting with only six horizontal rows of quilting. The bottom 15 inches (38 cm) has interlining and light batting and twice as many rows of quilting as the middle section. It is bound around the hem with black velveteen ribbon.
Measurements: Waist: 30 inches (76 cm), Length: 36 inches (91.5 cm), Hem circumference: 96 inches (243 cm).
Condition: There are a few small holes scattered around the lining and a break in the hem binding along with the expected wear along the bottom edge. There is a small patch in the lining near the opening.

From Me:

I think this is later than "mid-century" due to the shaping. It might just be the way the petticoat is put onto the dress form, but it looks like it could accommodate a bustle. Also, it looks machine sewn. I'm thinking 1880's?


  1. From the shaping, yes, I'd put it past mid-century. It looks like there's a gored side seam, too. Earlier petticoats are very round. 1880s sounds good to me; the print looks like the more simple ditzies and shirtings that were popular at that time.

    What intrigues me is the material. Black cotton was notorious for "crocking" badly, in other words the dye rubbing off onto one's other clothes (and even skin). It's pretty much never found in mid-century or earlier garments. Also, although black dye did improve at some point and there were black prints made, they don't usually last. Antique cotton prints in mostly black, or with black motifs, often disintegrate. It's not uncommon for antique quilts in otherwise good shape to have whole patches missing, with nothing but shreds in the seams to show there was once black calico there.

    So I'm heavily leaning toward this being a silk, or wool, or a silk/wool blend. These fibers didn't have cotton's problems with black dye for some reason. And come to think of it, many if not most of the quilted petticoats I remember seeing were either silk or wool. Cotton could be used in the lining, facing, or waistband, but the other fibers were just as likely to be the outer material. The polish could be a finish, or a physical reality produced by literally polishing the fabric with big rollers at the end of the manufacturing process.

    1. I have a quilted petticoat -that I have yet to post- that is both silk and wool...and cotton. Someone added a draw string to it at a later date and added a black cotton waistband using a machine on the upper hand sewn wool part. The bottom part is quilted silk. It funny to look at because it was clearly worn by multple people over a long time.

      But, yes, I'd think a wool/silk mix.

  2. That one sounds a lot like this one! It's no surprise these were used for so long - they had to be a real hassle to make.

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