DIY Victorian Corded Petticoat

Victorian Corded Petticoat
Victorian corded petticoat & blue-white-striped corset

I made another Victorian corded petticoat because I didn’t like the first one that I made a couple of years ago. Corded petticoats were mainly worn before the invention of the steel cage crinoline in 1856. Skirts were already very wide in the 1840s and especially the 1850s. And to support these heavy skirts some kind of foundation was necessary.

Cording was often used in the Victorian era to reinforce underwear like corsets and petticoats. In the past, I’ve already made a Victorian corded corset, a late Victorian or early Edwardian corded corset and a Victorian corded petticoat even though corded garments aren’t my favorite: They always wrinkle and are never stiff enough in my opinion. 😉 The cording adds stiffness to the petticoat but it still collapses in on itself unlike a hoop skirt.

By the way, the Victorian corded petticoat was a stash buster project. And also a coronavirus lockdown sewing project!

Victorian Corded Petticoat Before After
Victorian corded petticoat worn with bustle pad and tucked petticoat


Victorian corded petticoats were usually shorter than regular Victorian petticoats: usually around mid-calf. I made mine shorter because I also want to wear it with my 1950s dresses! Corded cotton petticoats were still worn in the 1950s, especially in Australia.

Related: How To Make A 1950s Petticoat

The Victorian corded petticoat is 20″ (52cm) long and 106″ (270cm) wide.

Victorian Corded Petticoat Cording Detail Cartridge Pleats Close Up
Cartridge pleats & cording


Victorian corded petticoats had the cording either woven into the fabric or sewn into it. Weaving is probably faster than sewing! 😉

In the Victorian era, cords for corded petticoats were made of cotton, linen, hemp and sisal.

Related: Edwardian Corded Health Corset

My Victorian corded petticoat has 62 rows of cording at the hem. I used 2mm twisted cotton cord. The cords are sandwiched between two layers of fabric in a long continuous spiral. On my instagram account I shared a video of the cording process.

Cartridge Pleats

My corded petticoat is almost entirely machine sewn except for the cartridge pleats. I gathered the rope petticoat into a cotton twill waist tape with cartridge pleats by hand. Cartridge pleats were very popular in the Victorian era and they help the petticoat to stand out.

Because Victorian skirts were fuller at the back than at front, I gathered the petticoat so that there’s more fullness at the back. Here‘s a video of me sewing the cartridge pleats.

Victorian Corded Petticoat With Bum Roll Bustle Pad Before After
Victorian corded petticoat worn with and without bustle pad (bum roll)

Bum Roll

What I don’t like about corded petticoats is that they always fall inwards (collapse). Wearing a bum roll or bustle pad can prevent that to some extent. A bum roll or bustle in various forms was in use from the Elizabethan era to the Edwardian era and it’s just a padded roll which is worn around the hips.

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