Crinoline cages, more popularly known as hoop skirts, are foundational garments worn under a skirt to give it a particular shape. Crinoline cages are normally widest at the hem of the skirt, giving a bell or inverted-teacup shape to the skirt and enhancing the illusion of a tiny waist. Today, people use these foundation pieces to summon looks from the past and to re-create famous film costumes. They also incorporate the style into dramatic wedding dress designs.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Sewing machine
- Sewing needles
- Measuring tape
- Twill tape or petersham ribbons
- Fabric pencil
- Thread-covered steel hoop boning
- Tin snips
Determine the measurements for your crinoline cage. To do so, find the skirt you will be wearing over the crinoline cage and measure the length, hem circumference and waist circumference. Check these measurements against your petticoat, if you are wearing one, as you do not want the crinoline to be too large for any of your skirt layers. Subtract a few inches from the hem circumference measurement, so that your skirt is not stretched tightly over the crinoline cage.
Use twill tape to create a waistband for the crinoline cage. Add 30 cm (12 inches) to your waist measurement and cut 2 lengths of twill tape that long. The extra length will be used for the waistband closure. Lay the 2 pieces of twill tape together, one on top of the other, and stitch them together so that you create one thick waistband piece.
Create a hem piece like you made the waistband piece, adding an extra 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) to the hem-circumference measurement. Stitch the hem pieces together like the waistband, and then sew the ends together so that it creates a full loop.
Add several inches to your skirt-length measurement, or hold your skirt out to the shape you would like your crinoline cage to have, and measure the length over the new shape. If desired, use poster board and glue to make a mock-up of your cage to test the skirt on. Cut 16 pieces of twill tape in this measurement, plus 5 cm (2 inches). Pair these pieces into eight groups; the pairs will be attached to the waistband and hem piece at the same points.
Tie the waistband around your waist, using the extra 30 cm (12 inches) from Step 2 and making sure that the ends are even. Shift the waistband so that the tied part is sitting slightly to the side of your center back, not on it. Using a fabric pencil, mark the centre front, center back and sides. Also make markings exactly between the front and side markings, as well as the back and side markings. You should have eight marks total.
Transfer your waistband markings to the hem piece, making eight evenly spaced marks. Take one of the pairs of twill-tape pieces from Step 3 and stitch the short sides on one end to the waistband at the centre front mark. Stitch the short sides of the other end to the centre front mark on the hem piece. Repeat this process with the other pairs of twill tape, attaching the tape to all markings.
Make 10 evenly-spaced markings all the way down one of the outside pieces of vertical twill tape, starting 10 cm (4 inches) from the waistband. The last marking should be on the hem piece. Put the same markings on the other vertical pieces of twill tape. These show where you will be attaching the steel boning.
Cut a piece of thread-covered hoop boning in your original hem-circumference length, using the tin snips, and transfer your hem piece markings to this piece. Cut nine more pieces of hoop boning, using the circumferences of your crinoline cage at each of the vertical markings. Transfer all horizontal markings to these pieces, matching them up with the markings on the twill tape.
Slide the smallest piece of hoop boning through the pairs of vertical twill tape and hand-stitch it to the twill tape, matching up the markings. Hand-stitch the pieces together at the cut ends to form a circular hoop. Repeat this process on all pieces of hoop boning, matching them up with their respective marks.
Tips and warnings
- You can also use plain plastic-coated hoop boning and attach the boning to the twill tape with rivets.
- If the thread-covered hoop boning does not easily stay together at the cut ends, you can use hoop connectors to secure them in place.
- To find quality hoop boning, follow the link in the Resources section. To save money, use industrial-size cable ties or Sintra plastic instead of hoop boning.
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