Hello, My Name Is: The Cotton Petticoat

I have gotten several requests for a tutorial on the cotton petticoats I have made.  Since I am sick with a stupid cold and my fiancé has my camera currently, I figured I would write up just a quick teaser until I can do a proper talk-through.

Cotton Petticoats.

Something you NEVER see in Lolita for a few reasons that I can think of:
1. Cotton does not have the innate *spring* that organza has.
2. They are not as long lasting out-of-the-box as organza.

On the flip side, here are a couple reasons why cotton petticoats are nice:
1. The are easily washable.
2. They allow for more color/print choices.
3. They are lighter/breezier to wear than organza petticoats.


So, what exactly are cotton petticoats?

The petticoats I have made have a simple skirt base with a drawstring waistband and side placket closure.  Sewn onto the base are four tiers of cotton ruffles.  The first tier is 2 times the skirt and the bottom tier is up to 4 times the skirt circumference, with the in-between ruffles transitioning similarly.

Simple enough, yes?  Of course I have my own tricks that I use, but this is just an overview!


I get two questions most frequently regarding these petticoats.

1.  Are they really poofy enough?
Poofy enough for me!  Though they aren’t perhaps maximum poof needed for some Lolitas, it certainly provides plenty of poof.  Here are some examples of skirts/dress worn over a cotton petti:

IMG_9221 Img_9125 _DSC0215

2. How do you keep them fluffy?  Starch?
I don’t starch my petticoats; I have two others methods.  One is that I will press open every single ruffle on the petticoat, so the fabric pushes against itself to poof out.  Second, if I don’t have time, I will toss it in the dryer on ‘de-wrinkle’ for about 20 minutes and then it springs into life again.

So, until I maybe, one day, sometime, in the future, stop being sick, I hope this was informative and I’d love to hear your thoughts!

7 thoughts on “Hello, My Name Is: The Cotton Petticoat

  1. Is the 3rd level 8 time the skirt and the 4th 16? I´m just starting to sew and think your cotton petticoat is really cute and versatil, i want to travel a lot and putting in the suitcase my net pettie gives me a big headache, i just sew it like a month ago and i feel like it’s going to die while i’m traveling. Thanks by the way for the introduction of the cotton petticoat 🙂 It’s helpful but since i’m just starting and i don’t understand that much sewing rules i’m a bit lost. I forgot to ask you how many meters do you buy to create yours…
    In case i wanted to sew the cotton like a “normal” pettiecoat, would it be fluffy or flat? I think i may use for levels as well and like 4 meters of cotton fabric.
    Thanks for your time Erin 🙂 Have a nice Day 🙂

    1. No problem!
      I’m guessing that you are talking about the circumference of the ruffles verses the circumference of the base. Here is the breakdown of the ruffle tiers:
      1) 1.5x skirt circumference
      2) 2x skirt circumference
      3) 2.5x skirt circumference
      4) 2.5x skirt circumference
      The base needs around 2.5 yards, the ruffles roughly 2.5 or 3 yards. I typical organza petticoat usually needs around 8 yards for the whole thing.
      I hope that helps!

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