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How to make a crinoline

Updated February 21, 2017

Crinolines are worn with 1950s style dresses, prom gowns and wedding dresses. A crinoline provides a dress with body and that all-essential pouf factor. Crinolines can be expensive to purchase and are often available only in black or white. If you want a colourful crinoline, dyeing your own is one option, but you can also make a crinoline custom fit to your measurements and desires. Styles of crinolines vary depending on the style of the dress, and custom making your own can ensure that your dress has just the right final shape.

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  1. Cut a waistband twice the width of your hip measurement by 8 inches to 10 inches in length from silk or satin fabric to make a crinoline waistband. Serge or zigzag raw edges for a neat, non-fraying finish. Make a seam with the right sides together. Press the seam allowances flat. Fold this waistband in half and stitch a casing 1 1/4 inches from the folded edge, leaving a 2-inch opening in the center back for elastic.

  2. Cut your netting or tulle into 6 to 10 inch strips, depending on the desired overall length of your crinoline. Seam these together to form two strips, one substantially longer than the other. The lower tier of your crinoline should be approximately twice the length of the upper. Sew the short ends of each strip with right sides together to form two very large loops of netting.

  3. Gather your tulle strip by stitching two lines near the top edge using your sewing machine's longest stitch length. Pull the bobbin threads to gather the netting into tight gathers. Pin into place and stitch. Reinforce your stitching by zigag stitching over your seam allowance. You can also use a ruffler or gathering foot to gather the tulle if you prefer.

  4. Repeat this process with the longer loop, attaching it to the first tier of netting on your petticoat. This loop will require substantially more tulle or netting than the first and should be more tightly gathered. You can also make the bottom tier double layered for a more noticeable crinoline effect. To do this, make two long strips and gather at once, stitching through both layers.

  5. Use bias binding or satin ribbon to finish the edges of the lower layer of tulle. This will prevent hosiery snags. Cut elastic 1 inch to 2 inches shorter than your waist measurement and thread into casing. Stitch ends of elastic together and hand stitch the opening in the waistband closed.

  6. Tip

    Adjust the length of each layer or add layers as needed to produce a crinoline in the length you require. Line your crinoline with a full lace trimmed slip to avoid scratchy edges but retain a nice swing when Play with colour when making your crinoline. Try combining tulle colours for a fun look.


    Be sure your crinoline doesn't knock things on low tables over when wearing it! A full slip can be worn to prevent scratchiness or snagging.

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Things You'll Need

  • Heavyweight netting or tulle, approximately 9 yards of 72-inch wide or more if narrower
  • Soft silk or satin fabric 1 yard or less
  • one-inch elastic, 1 to 1 1/2 yards depending on size
  • Sewing machine
  • Coordinating thread
  • Ruffling or gathering foot
  • Satin ribbon or bias binding

About the Author

With a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing professionally for more than a decade. An avid knitter and mother of four, she has written extensively on a wide variety of subjects, including education, test preparation, parenting, crafts and fashion.

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