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How to make a hooped petticoat

Updated April 17, 2017

Hooped petticoats are a classic fashion statement from the latter part of the nineteenth century. Often associated with the Victorian era of the late 19th century, hoop skirts evoke the fashions of classic characters such as Scarlett O' Hara. They are worn under voluminous and heavy dresses. Making a hoop skirt will take some time, effort and resources but the outcome and the enjoyment of wearing a hooped petticoat made by hand will be well worth it.

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  1. Shop for a pattern from a patternmaker like McCall's. Often you will find hoop skirt patterns filed under costume patterns. Looking for patterns online gives you an idea of the different styles and what the final product will look like. This search will also allow you to find the best price.

  2. Buy the fabric and notions. You will want to buy a cotton or cotton blend cloth. This will enable the hoop skirt to breathe and is the most suggested fabric by professional pattern making companies such as McCall's. You can shop for covered boning at fabric shops, and, once again, looking around online for the best deal will let you know what is available and what widths you would like to use when assembling your skirt. There are many varieties of covered boning, from plastic to steel. You will probably use plastic. Steel is more often used for corsets and more rigid structures.

  3. Take your measurements. The pattern you will be using to assemble your petticoat will guide you in taking the correct measurements. These measurements will include waist, hip and leg length, to determine the measurements of the fabric you will be cutting out.

  4. Cut out and assemble the petticoat. This will be the time-consuming part of the project. Take time to cut out each piece for your hoop skirt carefully and perfectly. Also be careful to leave enough room to push each piece of boning through its slot as you are sewing; otherwise you may have to resew entire sections.

  5. Finish the hem of the hoop skirt. To make your hoop skirt look feminine and traditional, attach your lace or eyelet ribbon to the hem of your skirt. This will give the skirt body at the bottom and add extra beauty and detail to the finished piece.

  6. Tip

    Take the time to research which cotton fabric you would like, what type of boning you prefer and what style of lace you want. The whole process from start to finish demands patience and control, so take the time to do each step well.


    Handle the covered boning carefully, as it has its own structure and can snap back and hit you. Handle it gently and carefully.

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Things You'll Need

  • Hoop skirt pattern
  • Thread
  • 8 m (8 yards) of cotton or cotton blend fabric
  • 12 m (12 yards) of 5 cm (2 inch) wide lace
  • 22 m (22 yards) of covered boning
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine

About the Author

Sarah Vrba

Sarah Vrba has been a writer and editor since 2006. She has contributed to "Seed," "AND Magazine," Care2 Causes and "202 Magazine," among other outlets, focusing on fashion, pop culture, style and identity. Vrba holds an M.A. in history with an emphasis on gender and fashion in the 19th century.

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