I got two comments yesterday asking if my skirt was puffy due to a crinoline or from the horsehair braid and I think it’s high time that I did a recap of my crinoline adventures.
I’ve had a draft version of this post up for sometime, and I’m happy to let you all know that I’ve officially conquered the crinoline!
Here it is in all its puffy glory:
It hits right at my knee but I would have preferred it to be about an inch longer. So far the length hasn’t been an issue though.
And let me be the first to say… I may have prevailed upon this one, but it will never be done again! I’m happy I have one I can wear out and about with my 50’s creations, but I will never make one again. It’s really not worth my time/effort/money to make one when I can just buy a prettier one elsewhere for less money than I spent on the supplies.
That may be very consumerist of me, but after battling with it and having to replace my serger’s upper knife, it really wasn’t worth the cost and stress.
If you’d like to take the crinoline challenge yourself I highly recommend Sugardale’s Tutorial, which is what I used.
As to answering your questions about my Nautical dress and the puffiness there are three factors that went into having the skirt being so full. First and foremost, my fabric choice worked well with retaining a full shape. The tight gathers at the waistline really helped the thick material to puff out and hold away from my waist.
The horsehair braid was 3″ which is decently wide, this coupled with my hem facing (ie thick fabric) contributed to retaining the full, soft folds on the hem itself. The more I work with horsehair braid I find that it’s key use isn’t necessarily in creating a full hem, but enables the folds of the fuller skirts to drape softly around the body so that the hem appears more flowy and full. It prevents the skirts’ folds from collapsing in on itself (drab hem) and instead has a swishy, soft hem.
I could have left off my crinoline for this dress and it would have been about 3/4 of the fullness that it was. For this dress, the crinoline served as insurance that the skirt would remain as full as possible during the shoot while I was standing on the windy pier.
For my Valentine’s Day dress the crinoline was essential!
The fabric was a light weight gingham and it really needed my crinoline to make it full from waist to hem. If I was to add a horsehair braid to this dress, the hem would be full-ish but the rest of the skirt wouldn’t have been.
I find that only adding horsehair braid is fine for an every-day look, you get an appearance of a full skirt without the fluff. But sometimes you need a bit of fancy crinoline puffery to achieve a more 50’s look.
My scalloped skirt especially would be lovely with a crinoline underneath: