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I'm a textile fanatic.  If it has to do with fiber, it's for me.  I love my almost fourteen year old son, cats and sheep.  I love historical costuming and most days you'll find me researching or reproducing clothing from any one of many time periods that have caught my fancy.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Red Wool Petticoats


My entries for the Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #5: Peasants and Pioneers, are two red wool petticoats.  Well, it was supposed to be two of them, but I had to wait until the 3rd to order the materials (from William Booth Draper), and I ran short of the red silk thread.  I started by fully fulled the wool and the wool twill tape, then brushing the nap to smooth it.  After that I gathered everything I would need, 

starting with the sewing basket I made a couple of years ago at Coggeshall Farm Museum's Harvest Fair.

A good selection of linen and silk threads, from William Booth Draper of Racine, WI, USA.

Bee's wax cakes and size 9 100% silk sewing thread, also from http://www.wmboothdraper.com/

 My small OTT light (purchased at Michael's).  It clips on and is great for close work and lighting for photos.

1/2" unbleached linen tape (for waist ties and reinforcing the bottoms of pocket slits) and 7/8" red wool twill tape (for binding hems and waists).

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 Sharp shears and the fulled wool flannel, fulled and brushed (scarlet wool flannel)

 All set to sew and photograph.

Can't forget the pins.  The arm of the recliner is my favorite pin cushion, since Gizzy likes to knock everything onto the floor.


 This is as true to the color of the wool flannel as I can capture.  It's really got a little more blue to the color.




Seams sewn with a prick-stitch/back-stitch, then felled with coarse overcast catch-stitch.  A bit of linen tape, whipped  into place to reinforce the bottom of the pocket slits





Hem bound with wool twill tape and whipped in place.




Pin pleats to gather in fullness to waist.  Waist has a 4" flat space at center front and no space at center back.

Stitch double lines of tight running stitch to hold pleats in place.

Bind waistbands with wool twill tape.  Turn under end of linen tape ties and whip into position at each end of waistbands.






I'm sorry the last photos are so out of focus.  I'm working with a really cheap web camera, and I can only get sharp focus with objects that are no more than a foot away.  

The Challenge: #5 - Peasants and Pioneers
Fabric:  Scarlet wool flannel, fulled, 5 yards for 2 petticoats
Pattern:  Simple rectangles, full width of the cloth, cut into 4 lengths of 1 1/4 yards each.
Year: spans the entire period of the American Revolution.
Notions: 1/2" unbleached linen tape, 7/8" wool twill tape, 100% silk quilting thread, 35/2 unbleached linen thread, bee's wax
How historically accurate is it?  I'd say this is as close to 100% accurate as modern materials will allow.  Both skirts are entirely hand-sewn, using period construction methods.  Red wool petticoats, as well as red wool cloaks, were extremely popular throughout the period of the American Revolution, especially in the rural areas of New England.  (see:  "Had on and Took with Her"by Sue Huesken and Karen Mullian  and "Wenches, Wives and Servant Girls" by Don Hagist ).  Since my family reenacts with the 2nd RI Regiment, this was something I've wanted to do for a very long time.  The length of these petticoats is above the ankles, as popular length for the working classes.  Longer petticoats would have impeded the work.
Hours to complete: It's hard to say.  I work at home and the interruptions and distractions are many.   So far I have been sewing since Tuesday and the second petticoat is nearly finished, but is on hold until I can order the additional quilting silk to finish.
First worn:  At The School of the Soldier, April 20-21, 2013, New Windsor Cantonment, New Windsor, NY, USA.
Total cost: 5 yds- scarlet wool flannel @ $17.00/yd = $85.00
                           7 yds- scarlet wool twill tape @ $3.50/yd  = $24.50
                          2 yds - 1/2" wide linen tape @ $1.40/yd* = $2.8o
                          2 cards of scarlet 100 % silk quilting thread @ $5.5o each  = $11.00
                         very small amount of 35/2 unbleached linen thread, to finish the ends of the ties - $0, bee's wax cake to wax threads - $0, both are always on hand in my sewing basket.
Total:  $123.30 for 2 petticoats, $61.65 each.
*I purchase the linen tape by the 36 yd roll, at a 10% discount.  All materials and notions were purchased from William Booth Draper of Racine, WI, USA

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