Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Re-post: The Modern Crinoline Tutorial

Readers, this tutorial is from a couple years ago, and I think it's an "oldie but goodie." I dug my yellow crinoline out of a moving box this morning (yes, I still have things in boxes; don't judge) to wear under a 50s-style shirtdress. I was reminded how handy this crinoline is for those days you want just a little extra fullness, plus the benefits of a half slip. Enjoy!

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. This is great, thanks! I would love to know how you finished your seams though, and I was pondering the correct seam finishing for linings just yesterday (I don't have a serger). I often use French seams on linings but the slight bulkiness troubles me. Maybe I'm just being picky!

  2. No need to apologize for things still in boxes ... I have boxes untouched from two moves ago, in 1989 :-)

  3. Oh thank you I think this will make Easter dress (that I have yet to finish or start for that matter) really look great.

  4. Thank you so much! Nice to see you on the screen....
    Greetings from Berlin

  5. Awesome! :) I'm glad you reposted this. I'm pinning it for later, if that's okay with you.

  6. OOOOOOOh I love it!!! can't wait to try

  7. I'm so glad you re-posted this! I was looking for a tips for sewing a crinoline recently, and this is perfect! Thank you! :)

  8. I am so excited! I've been looking for a slip and thinking of how to make a crinoline myself!

  9. Very helpful Gertie, wish I had the occasion to were a crinoline everyday! Maybe I'll just do my vacuuming in it for fun! Hope you guys are enjoying your new home, don't sweat the boxes!

  10. Very helpful tutorial and great video! Thanks, I'll be trying this I just hope it looks as good as yours! XxxX

  11. I found this post a few months back while it was still buried - it is on my short list of to-do projects. I finally gathered all the supplies needed. Did you know it is a bit challenging to find cotton organdy? I finally resorted to e-bay and got a nice piece, but none of the usual stores had any (brick/mortar and on-line stores) - well, one place did have a single color, but the particular color wasn't' useful for me.

  12. Would love to see the crinoline actually on and under a dress to get an idea of what shape it creates. Thanks for reposting this!

  13. So I'm wondering if I could just buy a slip from the thrift store and attach the other pieces to it? Then the itchy parts would be lined too.

  14. I've just gathered all the bits and pieces I need for this after rediscovering this post the other day. Thank you! can't wait to put it together!

  15. I do love a fluffy underskirt! I have FINALLY just managed to finish the one I made out of lining fabric, which has been sat almost finished for a year on my floor.. (I really ma quite useless sometimes! but enough self flagellation, quite enough of that on my blog!)). Now I can go out and twirl in it a lot!

  16. thanks for re-posting this! It was this post that brought me to your blog originally!
    I recently looked up the original post because I'm using the tutorial to create a long wedding crinoline for a client who has a dress that doesn't really work with any of the commercially available options (that and she wants plum!)

  17. This is great! Lately all I can think about is making myself crinolines in every color of the rainbow. I have a serger and a ruffle foot so it should be quick work... yet I haven't done it yet!

  18. Hi Gertie-

    Can you recommend a specific fabric shop in NYC for bemberg, organdy and organza (at a reasonable price)? I have checked several shops and had no luck. Trying to make a crinoline for a party this weekend.

    Thanks for your help!

  19. Jen, I would try B&J for the bemberg and Mood for organdy.

  20. Thanks for your help, Gertie!

  21. Great, great tutorial. Thanks for reposting. Crinolines are so important to give that oomph under a full skirt. But I do have a question - I have never heard of zigzagging over a cord to gather a piece of fabric. Is there any reason why you would use this technique to gather rather than sewing basting stitches?

  22. Hell's bells, why apologize about having stuff in boxes? What do people store stuff in,if not boxes? Gunny sacks? If I didn't have my stuff in sturdy plastic boxes, my precious fabric collection would be mousie nesting material in NO TIME!(A chunk of it is in the garage to free up living space for PEOPLE.)

    Anyway, I was going to say, I frequently put horsehair braid around the edges of my "gypsy" style skirts to make them flare more; after all, the point of flared skirts is FLARE. I cover it with nice ribbon for a little "surprise" underneath sometimes in a different colour. I have thought about crinolines, but worry about static and scratchiness (to which I am inordinately sensitive). One might even add a bit of horsehair to a crin in order to help it flare "more" undwer the weight of the overskirt; Rigilene might work too; I am going to try inserting some of it at "knee level" to see if I can't eliminate that annoying between-the-legs bunchiness one gets with gypsy-type skirts when walking vigorously.

  23. I've just made one using some rayon lining (not bemberg though) and some nylon tulle. All the seams have been covered with ribbon and I have a ribbon folded over the hem as well to stop the scratchy's. Have yet to try it on, but it looks great on Bonnie (she's my dressform). Thanks for the tutorial, got my rear into gear.

  24. Hi Gertie, and thanks for the re-post!
    I just finished my own version of this petticoat and there's something that troubles me. To gather the tiers, you suggest to zig-zag stitch a string where you want it gathered. Which I did, and it worked. But once everything is sewn, does the string remain in place or do I have to un-sew it?
    Another question : what would you suggest to make a fluffier petticoat? Use fabric with more body? Make the tiers longer and more gathered? Or sew one or several more layers of fabric at once for each tier so it looks thicker!
    Thanks again for your tutorials (not only this one!), they're really helpful!

  25. Gertie,
    This may be a stupid question, but do we cut two pieces of pattern pieces 2 and 3 as well? Or only one of each?

  26. I'm hoping to make one of these, but I can't for the life of me figure out how much yardage I should start with of the organdy. Could you give me a rough estimate of how much you used? Thanks so much for all you do!

  27. The lady at the craft store talked me into buying crinoline material because I told her I was making a poofy slip. But my material doesn't look like what you have. Is crinoline a phrase that means poofy slip? Anyway, my material has holes like tulle, but it's much stiffer. She also sold me some, uh, I think it's rayon? To put under so, my girl's legs don't rub the crinoline. Did I just get taken at the craft store?

  28. Hi Gertie,
    I've been looking for a good crinoline tutorial for a long time, and this is the first one I've found, many thanks. Great, crystal-clear and simple instructions. I second Juliette's question about how to finish a seam gathered with cord? How did you do yours?

  29. Wow! Your pattern is really easy to follow! I was just wondering if I could use tule instead of organdie? I have to consider my budget! LOL! When I was younger, I used to have a store-bought "modern" crinoline. Alas it died an ignoble death when I accidentally stepped on the hem and ripped it! : ( Thank you so much for posting your pattern! Cheers Gertie!


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

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