Petticoat pattern how-to

Posted on 30 September 2009

I had a comment last week about a pattern for a petticoat. Making a pattern for the type of petticoat I wear dancing is actually quite easy, so I can show you how. Its the sewing together that is the hard part! In fact the pattern is so easy you can just measure and cut straight into the fabric if you want to.

Here is a picture of my petticoat so you can see what it looks like.

I didn’t make this, it was bought a few years ago from a lady who did square dancing. I had tried making one before that but was not successful.

I think the fabric is a lightweight nylon tricot. Tricot knit is often used in underwear and nightgowns but in a heavier weight (and probably polyester these days) and it doesn’t fray. Other lightweight non-fraying fabric can also be used eg. tulle/net

It has three gathered tiers, in two layers with the seams on the inner side.

The top tier is one piece folded over with the elastic in the middle.

So the pattern pieces are basically just rectangles or strips cut from the fabric.

The top piece is cut along the width of the fabric, 32cm wide.
The other pieces are cut along the width of the fabric, 20cm wide, x 12 strips.
The ruffle is again cut along the width of the fabric, about 8cm wide, x 16 strips. This gets stitched on down the middle.

Each row of strips are gathered onto the one above.

My finished petticoat is 50cm long and ends at my knee. The width of the strips can be adjusted to make the petticoat longer or shorter.

Another more simple way of doing the top tier is just to have 2 strips the same width as the other pieces and cut a extra bit for a casing for the elastic.

Here’s something else to try, different colours on the bottom!

Ah, I just love pouffy petticoats and frilly skirts. I spend a great deal of my childhood daydreaming about wearing a “sticky out skirt” ๐Ÿ™‚

This petticoat is a little different. It has three layers, two of net and the bottom one of nylon organza to stop the scratchiness, cut in three smaller tiers which are then joined onto a cotton strip at the top. The top edge is then folded over the elastic and sewn down. This is an easier way of doing the top edge, but it means more gathering.

Happy sewing and dancing to you!


  • guest.

    i love it! so pretty.

  • Guest

    I'm doing my major final work for my textiles class soon for senior year. This is just the petticoat i was wanting but couldnt find a pattern in the books! I'll try this weekend for a practice see how it turns out for me.

  • Saskia


    I am looking for a petticoat pattern for under my daughters ivory bridesmaid dress. The ivory dress comes to her knees know and is has a lace look (its cotton) because she wants a train in the back i want to use a black petticoat for under need (we al have ivory and black in our clothing) i think that would make the dress more special. Do you think i can use this pattern and add a extra stoke for the back part or does that not work that way? I did not sewn before so i think i will ask my mother but she would need a pattern;O). I want the ivory dress a bit shorter in the front and add the part that will be cut of in the back to make it longer. I want around 15 cm of the tulle to be shown under need.

    My mother used to make her own ballroom dancing clothes many many years ago (around 40 years ago) so i am hoping your pattern will be ok. I can cut it myself that looks easy ;O) I want to use soft tulle


  • Cam.

    Hi! I'm also doing a petticoat for my major textiles work. May I ask about the colourful skirt, how are the coloured ruffles set out?

  • KarleneC

    Hi Cam,

    The coloured ruffles at the bottom are cut and sewn the same way, just each strip is a different colour ie. 1 pink, 1 turquoise, 1 yellow, 1 green etc.

  • Lainey

    I really like this pattern – it seems to be really simple.ย  Could you just tell me how wide the fabric the used was. thanks.

  • KarleneC

    This fabric was 150cm wide.
    You can actually use any width of fabric. If it is too narrow to go around the waist cut 2 strips and sew together ๐Ÿ™‚

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