Skirt Supports

I've finished the undergarments for my new robe a la Francaise! I decided for this project I needed a new pannier. After a few attempts to craft something from scratch, I got over myself and pulled out Simplicity 3635 and some VERY yellow linen I've been sitting on for a few years. It's not my first choice in colors, but I didn't want to buy new fabric, so I went with it. The pattern is great and goes together really nicely, but you definitely do need to add a hoop to hem, as most everyone advises. To make the actual hoops, I first tried to use some plastic tubing from the hardware store cut to the full length given in the pattern.

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Ummmm....
Well that's not quite what I had in mind. It was too big and the tubing definitely wasn't stiff enough to support the shape. I've used the tubing before for a different kind of hoop, but it was clearly not the right option for this particular project. For the next try I settled on a period correct option - split cane - and I made the hoops smaller than called for to get a shape I'm happier with.

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MUCH better
I also added little pillows to the top edges just to give it a little more omph where the skirt falls. To give the skirt even a little more poof, and to avoid hoop lines, I made a quilted petticoat. These were SUPER common in the 18th century, and there are plenty that were clearly made to go over hoops. Good enough for me! I definitely wasn't going to hand quilt a whole petticoat right now, so I bought a really inexpensive quilt and pleated it into a skirt. I removed the batting from the top few inches and stitched it to a cotton waist tape.

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POOOOOOOF
And finally, I started on the actual gown underskirt. I used one panel of the gown fabric, backed with some synthetic organza I had on hand to act as interfacing. The back is two widths of a nice crisp cream linen I picked up, which will all be covered by the gown later. Because my skirt was getting so big, I decided to do something like this to handle all the fabric at the top, rather than trying to pleat all of that into a waist band. The skirt panels are just rectangles.

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To make this I attached the center front and back ten inches or so to a waistband, completely flat. The original had some pleats, but I couldn't get that to look right. For the draw string sections I folded over the seam allowanced to make a casing and stitched the linen tapes down at one end. In the middle there is a slit where I can pull the strings tighter. I can make them tighter or loser and spread the pleats out as needed, while keeping the front fairly flat. I'm really happy with this style!

Soon I'll start draping the bodice! 

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