Petticoat Waistband

When we make petticoat waistband, it is difficult to rely on extant garments - plain petticoats are not common in museums collections and waistbands are very often later altered. It is better to use period prints - usually showing petticoats gathered or pleated into a narrow band and tied rear by a pair of ties. There is slit at the back of the petticoat allowing putting it on.

Petticoat Government petticoat for the Princess of Wales, 1762

It seems that both waistband and ties are usually made from one piece of tape. Some aprons had narrow self fabric waistbands from leftover scraps - but no fabric is left when cutting petticoat so I suppose it was not common. Tape was cheaper than linen or linsey-woolsey.

Queen Maria Theresa´s petticoat, 1742 Queen Maria Theresa´s petticoat, 1742

Few pictures show slits on the sides (from the waist down about 10 inches) to allow access to pockets worn under petticoats, but waistband is in one piece.

Flannel coats of mail against the cold, 1793 Petticoat held aloft, Hogarth, 1725

A lot of reenactors sew petticoats with waistbands split into two halves (tapes on rear half tied in the front and vice-versa) because they like they can change their waist measures. I tried it once, but it was not very handy - petticoat hem gets dirty from ground when dressing up, waistband slack while wearing. I can not say that this method was never used, but I consider it rather unlikely because of the absence of visual or written evidences. For example: book Instructions for Cutting out Apparel for the Poor... 1789 mentions only 1.5 yard tape for one petticoat and this is not enough for bot front and back ties. Also some quilted petticoats have slits on the sides and two pairs of ties - but short, so probably they were tied at the hips and not front and back.

There is another way how to make petticoat with adjustable waist circumflectin: MET Museum has 18th century petticoat with fabric pleated into tape waistband, but first and last circa 12 inches is gathered by drawstring and tied (similar 19th century one here). But most pregnant women probably do not mind about growing belly and pull the petticoat up.

Petticoat from Met Museum Pregnant girl in Rake's progress, Hogarth 1735

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