Monday, September 21, 2009

The Petticoat Disaster

Have you ever designed a project that you thought would be a simple, quick and easy project and then wasted tons of time and money on it to only give up?

That is how I feel about my petticoat. It was such a simple project but I had so many problems along the way. After making 2 different fabric purchases and struggling with netting for 2 days, I've thrown in the towel. It beat me.

A few things I learned along the way:

  • Measure 5 times, cut once.

  • You can machine sew netting material but why would you want to bother.

  • My sewing machine gathering foot does not like netting material.

  • My cats like to chew on netting material.

  • Netting clings to itself, your clothes, the carpet...anything within a 5-foot radius.

  • A layer of netting fabric sandwiched between 2 layers of muslin is much easier to work with but it loses its stiffness.

  • My cats like to sleep on netting material.

  • You can't cut netting material in straight lines unless you pin it to a mat first.

  • After you have calculated how much netting you need, double it. Maybe triple it.

  • Sewing netting to elastic doesn't gather the netting. It just uses up all your spare elastic.

  • I've forgotten how to make elastic waistbands.

  • My cats like to chase the netting material as I run back and forth between cutting table and sewing machine.

  • Hand gathering and hand stitching was probably the most reliable way for me to make this doomed garment but I was too lazy and too short on time.

  • I should thank my mother for making my tutus when I was a ballerina in preschool. She must really love me to have fussed with this stuff.

  • David's Bridal sells full ball gown "slips" full of netting and lined inside and out with crinoline for $59 USD. And they are always in stock in the store. And the sales ladies don't laugh at you for wasting time trying to make one yourself.

In the end I spent $100 USD to poof out my ball gown skirt for my wedding dress; $40 trying to make it and $59 buying it from David's Bridal. My $40 stressed-out tutu looks like an 80's Madonna "Like a Virgin" dress that was put through a shredder.

My original plan for the petticoat: (from

The final garment: (even the cats think it is awful)

This whole thing was just so silly since I could go buy one at David's Bridal. I don't know what I was thinking. I first purchased the "full ball gown slip."

I'm only 5 ft 4 inches tall. This thing overwhelmed me. Once I put the dress on over it, it may have looked like Vogue intended but I felt like an oversized cupcake. I couldn't get through standard home interior doorways without using both hands to scrunch down the skirt!

Vogue pattern 2979

I found this petticoat to be a better option.

David's Bridal Ball Gown Slip

The waistband is an elasticized section that sits just under your bra cups. Sounds weird but this allows less fabric bunched up around your waist and the skirt hangs freely. Two tiered layers of pleated netting are attached to the lower half of the skirt. The netting is sandwiched between 2 layers of nylon lining material. Some fabric stores call this nylon material "crinoline"; it is even labeled crinoline on the bolt. It is important to note that crinoline can mean many different things to many people. With regards to fabric, crinoline could be the nylon lining, horsehair & linen blend or something more closely resembling netting. At any rate, this nylon skirt doesn't breath well. I sweated profusely on my wedding day...well, it was 80 degrees F too but I was inside mostly. The ball gown slip only made it through the first 30 minutes of the reception. I couldn't suffer with it any longer.

Waistband of David's Bridal "ball gown slip"

Tiered layers of pleated netting support

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