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POD: A Petticoat Tutorial

By tanmei
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11/10/10 - By request I have made the preview image larger.

3/8/10 - The companion to this tutorial, the P.O.D. FABRIC CALCULATOR v0.1, is now available here! [link]
It should help you determine (roughly) how much fabric you are looking at purchasing and is intended as a supplement to this tutorial :)
A tutorial for my white net petticoat (affectionately known as my P.O.D. - "petticoat of doom") made at the request of :iconravenwing136:

Includes instructions on making/drafting petticoats of nearly any size, and all the mathematical workings of my head, so you can have a petti of perfect proportions, at a price that isn't preposterous :lol:

Ideal for lolita, 50's retro, a majestic ballgown or a crazy costume. Haven't tried a longer one yet, but I'd sure like to.

Excuse my terrible painting skills, there's only so much you can do with a pencil in Photoshop with my skills.

Please download and feel free to use (for your own personal use only, not to make profits please =P)

I know it's a huge picture, but I'll hopefully be putting it into PDF soon. I've tried to reduce it as much as possible without compromising on quality.

If you do create anything using this tutorial, please send me a link to it! I'd love to see it (and see proof that this works).
And lastly, if you do :+fav: this, take a moment to leave a comment. Just a moment.

I'd like to see how I can improve my tutorials, this is my first proper one for clothing :)
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anonymous's avatar
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kakakakka's avatar
Just thought you should know, someone word for word copied your tutorial and claimed it as their own.…
schl123's avatar
This is so valuable! Thank you. I only have to figure out how the different Petticoat-shapes are made up.
bohinj's avatar
Thank you so much!!!! I'll surely try it :)
MeleoraOrkali's avatar
BleuumScarlett's avatar
Yay! a tutorial in cm! I'm French Canadian and I also use cm, but I can usually only find American tutorials online that only use inches and yards x.x 

That tutorial is SO much clearer than the previous I found (and tried). Even if it was in French, it wasn't clear at all, with no pictures to explain better some complicated parts, it didn't have maths/ratios and seriously, I just did whatever I thought would work out. And my petticoat has no poof whatsoever. 

So i'll try yours, hoping it will work out best, with close to no sewing skills ^^' Also thanks for the links to how to make ruffles! Since I'm self-teaching myself right now, nobody ever showed me how before I tried (and failed) my first petticoat x). 
Thank you again! :D
Peacherine's avatar
Hi! Thank you so much for this tutorial! I already knew the general idea of making petticoats, but needed ratios and general measurements (and confirmation that I was doing it right!) The tutorial itself is easy to read and the picture captions are useful.

But after making the whole thing, I can say two things: 1- I now know why you called it the petticoat of DOOM :dead: and 2- I never really want to make one again!! I think I've fainted.  Mine was supposed to be a 5-tier floor-length one. It ended up a little shorter because of general imcompetance and impatience, but puffs out my circle skirts beautifully. The sight of about 10 yards of tulle covering my living room was pretty amusing also~

Thank you for sharing!
WickedFireArcher's avatar
I hope it was you that added this to tumblr, otherwise someone took it and posted it on another site.
tanmei's avatar
I don't have a Tumblr, so it wasn't me.
Are you able to send me a link to the offending site? I don't mind if it's shared on Tumblr but if someone is claiming this work as their own I would like to know.
Innamode's avatar
Wow, thank you! I will use this tutorial to make a petticoat for my doll ^.^
Snakefang101's avatar
Can you do a bell shaped tutorial? I can't afford to get a bell petti for my OTT sweet lolita style
ViolinGoddess's avatar
I LOVE your work and your tutorials! I've been hooked on checking in with your work ever since the "Enchanted Willows" gown!!

As for your your tutorials, I can tell you as someone with severe ADD, you explained things very directly and concisely (which is major points for ADDers)!! Learning disabilities suck, but you made this (horrific math included) understandable. It's all about the STEP-BY-STEP that makes it work!

Violin Goddess
~Goddess Couture~
CarolineCherry's avatar
Best petticoat tutorial I've seen yet. I had it all in my head but it was good to see your maths because that's the bit I was confused about :p
mooing-duckerberry's avatar
And another question (sorry)... Will several layers of a tiered petticoat give the huge, rounded skirt? Does it work to later a shorter petticoat over a long one for more poof at the top, or does that ruin the shape? Is there a way to sew the full ball gown skirts without putting hoops under them, or is that just wishful thinking on my part?
*Desperately trying to avoid purchasing hoop materials in addition to massive quantities of fabric*
tanmei's avatar
No problem, you can never ask too many questions.

I can't really answer your first question as I haven't tried that myself, sorry. It's likely that it will. You're just going to need a lot of fabric. Simplicity pattern 5006 has some patterns for floor-length petticoats, which you could add more ruffles to.

In response to your second question, I'd wear the long petticoat over the shorter one, and layering them up will definitely create more poof at the top, and the shape will be fine as the weight of the long one would squish down the short one.

For full, bell-shaped skirts I would recommend using a hoopskirt along with a thinner petticoat, instead of layers and layers of fabric. I've made a hoopskirt once - it took a while. I didn't have proper hoop materials and just used wire to make the hoops. Later on, I just bought a hoopskirt on eBay, as the one I made was very heavy. The petticoat is worn mainly to cover the lines caused by the hoops of the hoopskirt, and this does not have to be tulle.

If you don't want to have a hoop, you'll probably have to use at least 10-20 layers of tulle/net to get the desired effect. In one book I read, it said to cut the tulle into full circles, like a full circle skirt, to make all the layers. I think quite a bit of fabric is wasted that way.

As nylon netting is a bit stiffer than tulle, you could use 3-4 layers of that in the under-layers so you don't have to use as many layers of tulle to achieve fullness. Just make a lining, as nylon net doesn't feel very nice against the skin :)

Some links:
mooing-duckerberry's avatar
This is fantastic, thank you so much for posting it!
I've recently become fascinated with the idea of sewing ballgowns (for no good reason... I hate wearing such things, but the skill and artistry of them is incredibly). It's been rather difficult to find decent patterns and tutorials online. This one is very helpful.
Any idea as to where I should search for instructions on draping, ruffling, and beadwork on skirts?
tanmei's avatar
Thanks for your comment :)
I like sewing ballgowns and costumes

I would recommend purchasing the book "The Party Dress" by Simon Henry - that has great instructions for making your own special occasion gowns, and features four dresses - two with very full skirts.

I'm mainly self-taught, so a lot of my draping comes from experimentation and modification of commercial sewing patterns. Books on wedding gowns and corsetry have been extremely helpful. Try your local library in the crafts section.

For ruffles, if you can get a ruffler foot for your sewing machine, you can make lots of ruffles really fast. (My machine is too old for a ruffler foot so I haven't used one...)

Here are some devArt tutorials on ruffles...

As for beadwork...I'm only just getting into it myself, as I'm working on a beaded bodice at the moment. You'll probably need a beading needle (slightly longer and thinner than a regular needle)...and a heap of time and patience.
sourismini's avatar
my gosh....sewing does look complicated
JunkoSaotome's avatar
I'm going to try this soon for my Anthy himemiya costume! :D
sugar-NOIR's avatar
Love this tutorial! It is by far my favorite!
poisonous-van1ty's avatar
This. this is amazing <3. It will give my kotekote lolita JSK a WHOLE lot more poof than any other pettis would, and who doesn't love a super poofy kotekote JSK? :'D
Aiika's avatar
Actually I was searching for a petticoat tutorial to do my next cosplay, the alice madness returns steampunk dress? I think it'd work nicelly.. do you think i'm wrong?
Tankitha's avatar
What ratio did you use for (waist):(actual fabric gathered in to waist)? I hope that makes sense. I'm bad at putting things into words.
tanmei's avatar
Usually I use a ratio of 1:3, where 1 is (waist) and 3 is (fabric gathered to waist).

Mostly I just go with a length of 3 metres for the waist, sometimes up to 4 metres. :)
anonymous's avatar
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