Attaching Crinoline to a Dress

Sewing crinoline into a dress takes time and patience, but is worth the effort.
Sewing crinoline into a dress takes time and patience, but is worth the effort. (Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

If you favor 1950s style, then a full-skirted dress can give you the retro look you crave. Adding some crinoline -- a stiff, open-weave cotton fabric -- underneath a frock effectively boosts the volume for an authentic vintage silhouette. Ready-made crinoline slips are available for purchase but if you want to get the best possible fit for a specific dress, hand-attaching crinoline is the way to go. If you know how to sew,and have a few basic tools you should have no problem doing it yourself.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil and paper
  • 3.5 yards of cotton crinoline fabric
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Sharp-style hand sewing needle, size 7
  • All-purpose thread that matches your dress

Measure the waist of your dress and the length of your dress from the waist down. Write down the measurements.

Cut a piece of crinoline with scissors that is as long as the dress length measurement and double the width of the waist. For instance, if the waist is 26 inches and the length is 30 inches, the crinoline piece should measure 52 inches by 30 inches.

Sew the two ends of the crinoline together along the shorter sides with a size 7 sharp hand-sewing needle and all-purpose thread. This turns the yardage into a tube-like shape.

Run a basting stitch along the top edge of your crinoline tube with your size 7 sharp sewing machine. Begin at the seam, leaving about 8 inches of thread hanging off the end. The stitch line should be about 1/2 inch from the edge of the fabric.

Run a second row of basting about 1/2 inch below the first. Again, leave 8 inches of thread hanging at each end.

Gently pull the long thread ends until the fabric starts to gather. Continue until the waistline of the crinoline fits your dress's waist measurement. Move the gathers until they are distributed evenly along the fabric edge.

Run a smaller stitch along the waistline to secure the gathers into place.

Slip the crinoline up into the dress until the waistlines are matched up. Pin into place.

Hand sew the crinoline into the dress. Use small secure stitches so that it will not fall out while wearing.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you find that the crinoline is peaking out from the hem of your dress, take a pair of scissors and trim it down until you cannot see it.
  • A slip or layer of fabric between the crinoline and your skin may be necessary if the crinoline is too scratchy against your legs.

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