Seamingly Crafty

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How to Make a Simple Petticoat


Does it look complicated?  If you said yes… I have some good news.. it isn’t!  It is also surprisingly cheap to make!

In my previous post A knock off Rockabilly dress I shared how I made a similar looking Hell Bunny dress.  To finish the look I needed a petticoat.  Petticoats can be quite pricey depending on the length and fullness you are looking for.  I have come up with an inexpensive simple way to create this petticoat.

So here is what you will need:

  1. A roll of tulle 15 yards 4″ wide
  2. elastic
  3. 2 yards of lining material
  4. 5/8 inch  ribbon in matching color approx. 3 spools 18′ come on the Offray spools

Yep that’s it! 4 things!

The roll of tulle was $2.99 Ribbon was 1.97 a roll and the elastic was 28¢ a yard. The lining was $1.99 a yard.

pretty cheap 🙂

 The lining can be anything from nylon to a cotton blend.  Whatever is cheapest for you and won’t irritate the skin.  My lining is a cotton blend with some nylon in it.  I just grabbed the black bolt in the lining section at my fabric store.  There are usually 3 color choices.. white, black, and cream.  If you go with Nylon you can find more colors  but this is not necessary because only the bottom of the petticoat will be visible.

I found the roll of tulle at Joanns in the bridal section. there are several color choices.  If you want to make a really bold statement Hobby Lobby carries a variety of tulle rolls ranging from solids to polka dotted to zebra print in many colors.  Be frugal and go to their websites to print out or save to your smart phone their coupon! It will save you $$!

The satin ribbon can also be found at any fabric or craft stores in a wide variety of colors and prints!  For my petticoat we wanted something simple but gorgeous because we didn’t want to take the attention away from the dress.  The dress as seen in my previous post has many eye catching statements so we didn’t want to take from those.  however I think a dress with less eye candy would look amazing with a black petticoat and hot pink ribbon! 😉  Or even a purple polka dotted petticoat with a bright bold yellow ribbon!  (say that 5x’s fast) lol

Don’t be afraid to bring your dress in to the store with you to match up the perfect tulle and ribbon!  Trust me the ladies & gentlemen in the fabric department LOVE to see what you are creating and share their ideas and get input on yours!  Most of them share your love for sewing and crafting!  In the time I worked as a supervisor in a fabric store I have seen everything from pillows, shoes, to motorcycle gas tanks come in! YES a man brought in a gas tank from his custom motorcycle to get some great vinyl to match!!

Let’s get started!

You will need to cut from the tulle one 8 yard piece and one 4 yard piece.

From your lining you will need to cut a 6 inch by 2 yard piece. You will have plenty left for your next petticoat 😉

Starting with the 8 yard piece fold it in half, set your machine to 1.5 mm stitch and sew the ends together to make a giant tulle circle.  fold down the seam to one side and sew over it close to the edge.  You don’t have to do this it just makes it look prettier when the seam isn’t sticking out.

Follow that step for your 4 and 2 yard pieces.

Grab your 8 yard piece and a spool of ribbon, fold the ribbon over the edge of the tulle and sew into place with your length set  around 3.5 mm.  This gives your petticoat a really polished and finished look!  This is a tedious step and the hardest step.  But don’t stress over it. once you are done go back and check the ribbon and mark each spot that the thread missed and go back and sew it.  No big deal! 🙂 even when pinned I miss a spot or two!  When you reach the end of the ribbon grab another spool and to start it fold the end under a bit and do the same when you come to the where you started.

With your machine set to 5.0 mm stitch around the 8 yard piece on the side without the ribbon.  gather and attach it with pins to the 4 yard piece and baste.  You will have to work the gather to get a good fit.  Open it up and using the ribbon lay it flat over the seam between the 2 pieces stitch the bottom of the ribbon down then the top taking care to fold the ends to make for a polished finish also because ribbon frays! and we don’t want our pretty petticoat to look drab with frayed ribbon sticking out. 🙂

Gather the top of the 4 yard layer just like you did for the 8 yard piece. Attach it to the lining piece by sewing it with a 2.5mm stitch.  Fold the seam up towards the lining and top stitch around sewing the seam down.

Over lock the edge of the lining piece or serge it.  fold down ½ inch or so just enough to fit your elastic sew down leaving an opening at the seam to insert the elastic.

measure your waist and cut the elastic to fit.  Feed the elastic through the top of the petticoat.  Sew the ends together with 1/2 inch seam allowance or more depending on how snug you want it.  Try it on, if the fit is good sew the opening shut. If not adjust as needed.

Cut any hanging threads, and if your cat is like mine and MUST lay on everything you are working on use a lint roller to get the fuzz and hair off of  it.  The lint roller also works great for little pieces of thread..I find that thread is highly attracted to tulle.  🙂

You are done!  Put it on and admire the beauty! 🙂

It just looks so amazing with the ribbon! and when it sticks out of the bottom of the dress slightly it is so adorable!


Some additional options..

If you would like your petticoat to be even fuller you can simply repeat the steps for the 8 and 4 yard pieces omitting the ribbon between the pieces but making sure you still fold over ribbon on the bottom of the 8 yard piece and you will want to fold the seam up and sew it down between the pieces where you leave off the ribbon.  This piece you make will be gathered and attached to the lining piece with the first piece you made but underneath it.  So you will have 2 layers of the 8 and 4 yard piece but the top layer will be the one with the ribbon between the 8 and 4 yard piece.

If you would like your petticoat to be longer you can do this by making the lining piece wider than 6″ or adding another layer to the bottom making this layer 9-10 yards long.  You can also achieve more length by making 2 4 yard pieces and sewing them together before attaching one end to the 8 yard piece.

You can also leave out the ribbon all together 🙂

Until next time!  Happy Sewing!!


A knock off rockabilly dress

This has been a dreadful month with all the upcoming events and holidays not to mention the glitch which has caused a great delay on our tax refund. I have been under tremendous stress which leads to panic attacks. I don’t like taking my meds for it because I’m not a medicine person. I’d much rather find relief a different way. For me, being behind my sewing machine helps! So that is where I have spent a majority of my time this month working on random things.

Recently my daughter came to me with a photo of a rockabilly dress she found on google that she must have. I looked into it and the cost was too high for our budget so I decided to try and make the dress myself.  So I hit the internet, pinterest and fabric store pattern books to try and put together a dress for her.  After much debate and consideration I finally found the perfect match ups for the dress.

The original dress she found is a Hell Bunny Motley 50’s dress.

The dress is gorgeous!  I must say I’m so glad my daughter and I share the same taste in clothing 😉

I am going to share with you the way I made my version of the dress. My version of the dress is quite different from the Hell Bunny dress.  For starters the bodice is longer.  The band goes all the way around to the back instead of stopping at the sides.  The back of the bodice is not smocked, instead the dress is fitted to fit her I also made sure it can be taken out in the waist.  The pockets and the collar are not rounded I found it much easier to make them square.  And finally because I could not find the embroidered anchor for purchase I hand painted them on the pockets instead.

First I came across this awesome tutorial on how to make a simple circle skirt on .  The pattern can be found here.  I used this method to make the bottom of the dress.  I did not cut the seams in the skirt. I only cut one seam to allow for the zipper.

For the top of the dress I used New Look pattern #0168 Dress A

I chose this pattern because it had the band (collar)  I also used the thick straps.  To make this work for the way my daughter wanted the dress I did not use the midriff, instead I carefully cut each piece of the bodice 5″ longer.  This pattern comes with many mix and match options 🙂


There is a flaw in the directions of this pattern!!

When you are making dress A the directions will tell you to baste the straps onto the bodice front, then your next step is the band. DO NOT DO THIS! Although I knew better I had a total brain fart and followed the directions only to have to remove the entire band and straps! The  band must be basted before the straps or the straps will end up under the band flipping it up.

I used satin ribbon for the stripes for the collar I used heat n bond to attach the ribbon before sewing it down.

I also did not sew the straps to the back of the bodice and I made them longer so they can tie in the back like a halter.

Once the bodice was complete I attached it to the skirt.  the top of the bodice has a hook and eye and a 14″ zipper that goes down about 4 inches into the skirt.

I had my daughter put the dress on for about the 10th time so I could cut the skirt to the length she wanted.  I find that it is much easier to use bias tape on the hem of circle skirts.  Trying to hem it would have taken me an entire day and it would still be wrinkled, so instead I made bias tape out of the same material I used for the dress and attached it to the bottom hem of the skirt.

For the top of the pockets I used some scrap white satin and cut it asymmetrically then just cut a basic square pocket.

I hand painted the cute anchor design on the pockets.  And finally attached the white satin ribbon to the bottom.

My final step was the bow for the top left of the bodice.

We wanted the dress to have some poof at the bottom so I whipped together my simple petticoat. ( view the tutorial here)

photo ©Stacey Austin

And here is the final result!

photo ©Stacey Austin

photo ©Stacey Austin

photo ©Stacey Austin

This was my first time piecing together patterns to create something.  I am pretty pleased with how it came out and Caitlin couldn’t be happier!!

If you love vintage looks and for a wide variety of amazing dresses and clothes I urge you to check out  more awesome designs by Hell Bunny Check out their facebook page by clicking the picture below!


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