Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Layer Cake Crinoline: A Multimedia Tutorial!

Here's how to use this tutorial:

1. Watch the video for an introduction.
2. Look at the pattern diagram for the measurements on my crinoline (yours might be different depending on your hip measurement and the length desired).
3. Follow the sewing directions.

The video!

The pattern diagram! (Click to see it full-size.)

The sewing directions!

**Note: finish all seams with the method of your choice.

1. Cut your pattern pieces out. Cut two of pattern piece 1 in Rayon Bemberg or another slip fabric like charmeuse or china silk. Cut pieces 2 and 3 out of a sheer fabric with lots of body like cotton organdy or silk organza.

2.Sew the upper portion on the crinoline following the instructions on this tutorial.

3. Sew pieces 2 and 3 together at the side seams. Press seams open. They'll now be large circular pieces.

4. Gather the tops of pieces 2 and 3. I prefer to gather by sewing a large zig zag over a piece of sturdy cotton string or cord, and then pulling the cord up to gather.

5. Pin gathered piece 2 to the bottom of piece 1. Distribute the gathers evenly and pin together. Baste, and then stitch. Press seam upward.

6. Pin gathered piece 3 to the bottom of piece 2. Distribute the gathers evenly and pin together. Baste, and then stitch. Press seam upward.

7. Sew lace to the bottom of piece 3 using a very narrow zig zag stitch. Trim the excess fabric from the back of the lace.

8. Add a bow to the waistband.

9. Slip your crinoline on under a full skirt.

10. Sashay about!

Please let me know if you have any questions!


  1. Wow!
    You made that so simple to understand.
    I also love your blouse.

    I am always amazed how you find time to work, blog and sew. You will have to blog about your time management skills for the rest of us!

    I am really enjoying your blog and also the comments from your insightful readers.

  2. Ignore the raw edges of the seams between the layers?
    5 1/2 inches plus seam allowance?
    And most importantly, where are the cats?

  3. Oops! Yes, you finish the raw seam allowances with the method of your choice (I serged mine.) I added pressing instructions into the directions. You need to add seam allowances to all of your pattern pieces.

    The kitties are busy! They just got new toys!

  4. This comes in really handy at the moment, as I am just sewing my first 50s dress with a huge skirt...and it will need a nice ruffly slip to go under...Thanks for posting

  5. Yay! And that will be my next project.

  6. Yahoo! Thanks so much for posting this!

  7. Oh my gosh! That skirt is super cute. I think I need to make one. :)

  8. I have made four of the half slips using your tutorial and found them to be super easy and quick and I can whip one up in under half an hour. Glad to see you have added this on to the basic pattern. Even better because Anthropologie won't ship their crinoline to Australia!

    Also, what lipstick do you wear?? It's a lovely shade that suits you well.

  9. Dear fellow seamstresses,

    I've been following this great blog for a while but never dared to comment. I'm so sorry that the first time I write here has to be to ask for help!

    I need a FREE sewing pattern to Make a cowl neck sweater (like THIS ONE). I have a fancy dress (costume) party on Saturday 12 December 2009. I must go dressed as Velma from Scooby Doo.

    Unfortunately orange is not in fashion this year and I can't find an orange cowl neck sweater in shops.

    I've thought of finding some orange fabric and sewing this sweater myself, but I don't want to spend money on a pattern (I never wear cowl neck sweaters). But I can't find any on the web and I'm running out of time, the party is on Saturday and I'm a beginner at sewing so it will take me long to sew it!

    If anyone could help me with this, I would be grateful forever (and join his/her blog, of course!)

    I'm sorry if this cry for help bothered anyone, normally I don't do this, but I'm desperate now.

    Thank you for brightening up my days with your contributions to the sewing blogosphere!

    Greetings, Rebeca

  10. Gertie, you are my Sewing Hero! :) Aside from the fact that the video part is super cute (you should have your own sewing show ;), thank you so much for spelling out how to make a crinoline! I have tons of schematics and sketches in my notebooks over the years, intending to make one myself, but haven't devoted the brain power to it yet. I'm definitely putting this on my "after the New Year" to-do list, since one of my favorite vintage petticoats is in tatters. I actually may give it a whirl using a lace for the tiers (the vintage petticoat I'm trying to replace is lace), backed with a bit of chiffon or something. Just really light and flowy...

    Anyway, enough rambling! ;) Thanks so much again for generously sharing your sewing knowledge and projects with all of us! :)

  11. This is so lovely! I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


  12. Awesome! I have been looking for something like this forever! Thank you! Thank you!

  13. Laura-Jane, I wear MAC Russian Red! Casey here turned me on to it and I'm addicted. It's my favorite of all time.

    Casey, great idea to make it out of lace! Maybe you could back the lace with silk organza to give it some body? Let me know if you try it!

    Anne, thanks for linking to me!

  14. gah! Gertie, i love this tutorial! im sooo going to make one as soon as i can! i just want to say that your blog is my faaaavorite thing ever, the best part of my day is waking up and seeing that youve posted something. im going to school to take instructional sewing classes and someday make a career out of it, hopefully then ill be as good as you are! im seventeen years old, and im sort of stuck in my house all day, with only my sewin machine to keep my company (i named her joyce). watching your vlogs, especially, makes me feel less lonely. youre my hero, gertie!

  15. Wow, that was great. Your directions and explanations were good and you have a good "video personality."

    And I love the column of Fifties fashions down the side of your blog!

  16. I used to make these crinoline slips for myself in the 50's but made casings between the joins to take flexible wire, which ended with small screw in cup hooks to hold in place.


  17. Thanks for doing this Gertie! I was just thinking the trench coat I made needs a little fluff at the bottom, but I reckon I need a proper skirt first. :)

  18. Hi Gertie! I'm a longtime lurker who reads your blog here and on burdastyle and I think you are the bees knees! I really want to thank you for posting this bc i have been wanting a crinoline to make my full skirts actually full, but i had no idea how to approach it till now!

  19. What a lovely comment, fangaroni! I'm glad you de-lurked and I hope you enjoy making your crinoline.

    meena meena, you too! You obviously have passion for the subject so you'll make a fantastic sewing teacher.

  20. Very feminine...loved the tutorial and will be looking further for the slip directions you mentioned.

    Thanks for posting this!!!

  21. This is such a great tutorial, I can't wait to get started. I have but one question, you mentioned that this pattern is for if you want some everyday fullness but not full on poofy. If you were to make one that is full on poofey, how would you go about doing that?

  22. Gertie, Do you think I can use the same guidelines to make a crinoline for O?

  23. Hey Gertie, I just found an awesome resource for nylon chiffon, crinoline material of choice in the 50s, haha. Let me know if you want it passed along! It comes in a bajillion (ok maybe 20) colors and is actually very cheap.

  24. angie.a, please share your source!

  25. What an awesome tutorial. I just got my first sewing machine and am looking for easy (simple) patterns to make Christmas Gifts. The video is very helpful because I'm a visual learner...

    Antique Jewelry

  26. On that video you look so beautiful.
    Because I only understand a little english, so i just pay attention to you and your tattoo

  27. Awesome video and post. Been trying to find a tutorial to make my 4 year old a crinoline for under her princess dresses. I am not a technical sewer so hearing and seeing it how i roll. thank you so so so so much. ! YOUROCK!

  28. Hi Gertie ~ I made my first layer cake crinoline for my daughter. A great pattern/tutorial ~ Thank you! We don't use silk, and I had to search long and hard for a 2 yard piece of cotton organdy (and could only find it in black - need. more. colors.) Now that you have a fabric store - maybe you could supply some cotton organdy there? Please?


Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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