As a gal who loves her 1950’s silhouette, the search for the perfect petticoat is real and all encompassing. Awhile back, I reviewed some of my favorite tried-and-true petticoats to help my fellow vintage-loving ladies navigate the waters. But, I was still finding myself endlessly searching for the Petticoat of Dreams that could be both soft and full, affordable but high quality. Was this simply a pipe dream, never to come to fruition??
Now, while my crinoline game is strong, there are definitely a few ladies out there who manage to nail that Dior New-Look silhouette (and those of us who work fervently to get there). The secret is in the underpinnings and most aficionistas are more than happy to share their trade secrets. One such lady is friend and vintage goddess Amanda from Butch Wax Vintage. If you follow her on Instagram, you might notice her vintage dresses always have that perfect full skirt and bell shape, giving you the nipped wasp-waist silhouette of dreams. I interviewed her last year for the blog, and on my last visit to her house for a vintage-binge fest, she showed me the secret to her silhouette: Handmade Petticoats.
Within a few minutes, I’d clicked through to the Handmade Petticoats Etsy shop and my eyes gleamed with the possibilities. The colors! The customization! The degree of pouf! And with a few clicks, I had this one being custom made for me, sent all the way from merry England to my doorstep.
Although it was quite a tough decision, I opted to go for the gold (quite literally) and got the 26″ 2 tier, 4 layer petticoat in gold organza. Many of my vintage dresses are in the 26-27″ waist to hem length range, and this seemed like an ideal length for my first purchase from Handmade Petticoats. Mine measured exactly 26″ from waist to hem – no more no less (the scientist in me seriously appreciates the precision). I also opted for the gold satin binding add-on, which really gave it an extra bit of sparkly oomph peeking out from my skirts. When she arrived and I opened the parcel, you could literally hear the “poof” as she broke free of her packaging shackles.
The first thing I noticed was the lightness and softness of the petticoat – you often either have to compromise on one or the other. My softest petticoats tend to be on the heavier side, while those that hold their shape are usually so scratchy. This one, made of a satin waistband and layers of soft organza, managed to be both light as air but softly wafted around my legs.
I loved the satin waistband – it felt amazing against my skin. But, more importantly, I loved that there was virtually no bulk at the waist. As the fullness started at the hips with the organza, the petticoat sat flush where my dresses are the most cinched, and gave the perfect pouf right where I wanted it (and I am alllll about that pouf). You think this would be true of all petticoats, but au contraire. A lot of petticoats out there have a fair bit of ruching of fabric at the waist, which will add thickness and leave you endlessly tugging at it all day long.
Next is the shape: This petticoat gives an absolutely glorious shape, with a nipped waist and fullness extending gently down towards the hem of the skirt. I personally struggle with petticoats that add too much ruching along the bottom hem – this often leaves you with a triangular skirt-shape or (worse yet) a sharp drop off where the petticoat ends and the rest of your dress hem begins. This Petticoat of Dreams (as she shall now henceforth be named) floated in a perfect arc down towards the hem.
The organza also had a gorgeous shimmery quality to it, which quite literally feels like royalty. In a gold color, I felt like that moment just before sunset, where the world taken on a golden hue and it looks as though the backyard is bathed in candlelight. And although I usually prefer not to have my petticoats show, I loved the flash of gold satin binding when I swished and swayed about my day.
I realize that I’m gushing. But, you guys this petticoat makes me so stupid happy….
Needless to say, this is one of my favorite purchases in a long time and I truly feel that I can lay The Hunt for the Perfect Petticoat to rest (until I acquire a full rainbow of colors, natch). Handmade Petticoats range from ~$20-$40 USD (depending on fullness and length), with an additional $9 if you want the satin binding (and trust me, you so want). This is incredibly reasonable for a handmade petticoat of this quality. As they are fully customizable, you can have a petticoat anywhere from 22″ – 27″ (and beyond that if you shoot Maria a message) in pretty much every conceivable color – you can even just pay per layer and build the petticoat of your own dreams!. I’ve already got my eye on a silver and black in about as full as I can get it and can guarantee I won’t be stopping there….
All of the petticoats come in 4 different sizes – Small (up to 36″ hips/waist), Medium (up to 42″ hips/waist), Large (up to 48″ hips/waist) and Extra large (up to 54″ hips/waist), but these are also customizable. I went with a size S in mine and it was perfect. Because they are hand-made to order, they generally take 2 weeks from order to shipping. Delivery will vary depending on where you live. USPS can be a bit of a nightmare, and mine took a little under 3 weeks to arrive. However, trust me when I say it was so worth the wait.
During the process of ordering, falling in love, and putting this post together, I also got to know the owner and maker of these divine petticoats, Maria. She lives on a farm in Lampeter, UK and lovingly stitches each petticoat by hand. In addition to being an entrepreneur, she’s also a mum and nanny and helps with the farm (I have the most fabulous mental image of acres of farmland on the other side of her craft workshop window, as she sews away, surrounded by yards of glittering tulle).
Because she’s oh so lovely, to help you get one of these Handmade Petticoats, Maria is offering a coupon code exclusive to my readers! If you use the code KARA10 between now and 17 November, you can get 10% off your order! I truly can’t say it enough: these are so worth the price! And supporting entrepreneurial rockstar women…well…it kind of makes you a rockstar yourself.
What do you look for in a petticoat? I’d love to know if your search has finally ended here too!
Dress: Jumblelaya Vintage (similar modern of vintage here, here & here)
Crinoline: Hand Made Petticoats
Belt: Alannah Hill (similar)
Handbag: c/o Lola von Rose
Shoes: Irregular Choice (similar here & here)
Lip Color: Besame Victory Red