Thursday, September 22, 2011

House of Olivier, This Is Not

I don't remember how I came across the House of Olivier's website, but whenever it was that I did, I remember thinking, "This is what I'm going to spend my money on one day when my husband gets his MBA and lands a six-figure salary." They have the most amazing petticoats, and they're all cotton! I don't like the scratchiness of netting/tulle on crinolines, plus how can you argue with breathable material that looks beautiful as well? I don't know why, I've always thought netting just looks weird.

Anyway, since my husband still has 20 months to go before he gets his MBA, and there's no guarantee that he'll land an awesome job, and I don't think I could ever justify spending $100 on a petticoat, however beautiful, I decided that I needed to go a more DIY route. But honestly, the thought of that much gathering, plus having to find that much fabric by slowly combing thrift stores for immaculate white sheets, didn't really appeal to me. So I decided that I needed to go the lazy route.

I've been poking around the thrift stores for several months, looking for the right skirt, and it really depends on what kind of items your local thrift store has and how high the turnover is, but I think this is totally doable. I just looked for a larger-than-me white skirt that was fairly full. I've seen a lot of skirts that were more or less white, but they were always not quite full enough, or too bulky, or the wrong length. Well, last week I came across the perfect skirt -- a white, full-at-the-bottom-but-not-at-the-waist, all cotton (!!!), size 10, unstained and unripped Odille skirt. If you frequent Anthropologie, you know that Odille is a label that is usually 1) lovely, but 2) expensive. So it's pretty much a miracle that I found this skirt for $4.99!

Underneath the outer layer are three layers of ruffles.

Each layer is edged in its own unique lace! Way prettier than a mass of netting!

I threw it into the wash to get rid of the funky thrift store smell, then proceeded to turn it into a usable petticoat. I used my seam ripper to pick apart the waistband lining where it was attached to the invisible zipper. This opened up a convenient hole for me to insert a long piece of grosgrain ribbon (leftover from unwrapping wedding gifts a year ago -- hoarding for reuse FTW!). It was a little tricky getting it to go through the layers on the side seam, but eventually I got it all the way around and out the other side. After that, it was a simple matter of tying it tightly around my waist, adjusting the gathers (minimal, though, since it wasn't a gathered skirt to begin with), and then trying it on with all my full skirts and dresses.

Obviously if I were wearing this for real, I would tuck the ribbon in.
Not too much extra bulk around the waist!

I love how it makes my skirts look fluffier, but not too crazy. In the process of researching making my own petticoat, I came across this article about Alice Lon, who apparently had petticoats with 48 YARDS OF HEM. Just thinking about that much hemming gives me a mild case of the vapors. Since it's just three cotton layers though, my petticoat only gives my skirts a mild boost, just enough to make the silhouette a little more retro.
Ignore my crazy hair. I'd already pulled on at least seven other skirts/dresses by this time.
The only thing is, the petticoat is too long for a lot of my skirts and dresses. It tends to stick out from underneath by a couple inches, which could be a cute look, I guess, but not very authentic. Although I guess if I were truly concerned with being authentic, I wouldn't be cutting apart perfectly good Anthro skirts to make underclothes. So now the question is, do I shorten the petticoat by cutting off the waistband and making a new one (more work, but it will work with more of my current wardrobe), or do I just start making all my new dresses and skirts long enough to go over the petticoat as is (more authentically vintage, and I hate my knees anyway)?

1 comment:

  1. I love the side by side pictures. It is a great visual for just what a petticoat can do! I say make one new dress longer to test out the length. If you like make them all longer. If not you can always shorten that one and fix the petticoat.


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