The Making of a Rainbow Petticoat

rainbow petticoat headerDSCN0083

This post is going to detail the maths and engineering behind my rainbow petticoat pictured in construction above. I made it to go with my rainbow corset also pictured above and so it had to be two things;

1) rainbow coloured

2) entirely impracticaldrawing

I debated making a traditional swing petticoat using many different colours, then realised I wouldn’t be able to see half the colours when it was worn so instead decided (in my wisdom) that I would make a 5 layer petticoat- one layer for each colour (red, orange/yellow, green, blue and purple). I then decided that each layer would take on a traditional swing petticoat form (see diagram to the side). My bottom tier was only 2.5 cm wide, my second and top tiers were 16cm wide. I then planned to add a small cotton section at the top of the petticoat for comfort and also so it didn’t add body directly at the waist.cutting outline2

I then planned out how I would cut each of my layers. My top tier (lilac) was 150cm, so each of my second tiers (green/pink) had to be 3m and the bottom tiers (blue/yellow) 6m. My fabric was 150cm wide so I cut 3 strips 18cm wide (1cm seam allowance on each side) and 10 strips  5cm wide. I sewed the strips together using a French seam- you sew together right sides facing out then turn the seam inside out and enclose the first line of stitches. I then labelled each bundle. This was very important, especially with the top two layers which were the same width so I couldn’t tell them apart.

When making a multi-layered petticoat it’s best to cut each layer separately, even if each layer is a different colour. This will stop accidents happening leading to miles of unpicking.

I first sewed one row of basting stitches along the top of my two thinnest tiers (blue/yellow). These were gathered down and pinned two the second tiers (pink/green). I did this using a quarter pinning technique- I matched up the ends, the mid point and the quarter points then gathered between these points. The final job was to gather onto the top tier using the same technique. Once each layer was complete I then sewed up the back seam of each layer, so I had 5 circles of net each with a 1.5m circumference.

I now had to make sure the layers all sat where I wanted them to. I arranged them on my mannequin so that they were slightly staggered and the effect was the same the whole way around the petticoat, then pinned the layers onto a piece of cotton at the seam, half and quarter points. This piece of cotton was 1m long. The top tier was then gathered down to the length of the cotton tier and attached. I created a channel at the top of the cotton tier and threaded through some ribbon. One finished multi-layered, multi-coloured petticoat.


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