Quick Custom Cotton Crinoline (Say that 3 times fast!)

While I was waiting for Greta’s special order silk shantung to arrive, I took the time to create her custom crinoline.  A crinoline is type of stiffened petticoat that provides the shaping for a full skirt.  For the mockup, I used regular cheapo nylon netting to create the fullness in her hemline.  For the real dress, I used the same crisp cotton organdy that I used for the underlining.

A crinoline is often an underskirt that is worn separately from the dress, more like an undergarment.  For my couture garments, I like to build the crinoline as part of the dress, layered between the dress fabric and the lining.  This way it always sits perfectly with the garment, while keeping the more comfortable dress lining next to the bride’s skin.

Crinolines require a lot of fabric.  There are over 10 yards of organdy just in the hemline of Greta’s crinoline.  In order to create the crinoline quickly and efficiently, I folded the 45″ organdy in half, put my gathering stitches at the fold, and used the selvedge edges as my hems.  This kept everything neat and tidy and saved myself (and my bride’s budget) from hemming yards and yards of ruffles.

All this yardage takes up a lot of space and is quite unwieldy in the sewing room during its construction!

I took my folded gathered pieces and doubled them so that there were four layers of organdy at the hemline of the crinoline.  Gathering them separately insured a nice amount of fullness creating the proper shape to the skirt portion of Greta’s custom wedding dress.

For Greta’s dress, the crinoline and the skirt and its lining will be assembled together and pleated into the empire waistline all at once.  The organdy layers that I just gathered needed to be attached to a lightweight, yet strong, fabric.  I chose to use a Powernet.

Powernet is made of nylon and while I don’t normally ever use anything synthetic in my garments, this is an exception.  Powernet is very light and will add no fullness at all to the top of the skirt at the empire waist.  Yet, it is very strong and will hold all the weight of the organdy layers at the hem.  I used Powernet in our mockup and took this opportunity to steal whatever I could from the “test dress” to use in the actual dress.  Recycling materials from the mockup is often a great way to save a little time and a little money.

From the mockup, I was able to reuse the waist stay, the hooks and eyes, as well as the Powernet (which is the very lightweight net that you see pleated into the waistline in the photo).

I evenly gathered the organdy “ruffles” to the bottom edge of the Powenet using horsehair braid as a stay.

The crinoline was now ready to be assembled into the skirt, so I put it away with all my other little piles of prepped goodies.

Just in time, Mulberry Silks called and said that our special order dress fabric had arrived!  Up to this point, I’ve been working on patterns and mockups and the important couture inner construction of Greta’s custom wedding dress.  I couldn’t wait to see the yardage of the beautiful fabric we chose, and I was very excited to get started constructing the parts of the dress that everyone would actually see on Greta’s wedding day!




3 Responses

  1. I adore your careful, meticulous method. I know you said the powernet is strong enough to support the weight of the crinoline, But I’m sure it is insanely heavy! How much would you guesstimate it weighs?

    1. Mimi, it really wasn’t that heavy at all! I try to keep everything light. I’d never want a bride to have to carry around a lot of weight. The crinoline added maybe a pound or two to the dress. Thanks for reading!

  2. So nifty Brooks Ann! I’d never thought to use power net for this sort of a thing before; I’ve only ever used it for bras and shapewear. I can’t wait to see the fabrics!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hi there! I'm Brooks Ann.

I’m an independent designer and couture dressmaker for one-of-a-kind bridalwear located in Hillsborough, North Carolina. I also teach the sew-curious both in-person and online.

My blog follows along with the couture process of how each heirloom-quality custom wedding dress is made from idea to wedding day, as well as other interesting tidbits related to sewing, weddings, and body positivity.

Stay in Touch!

Sign Up for my FREE Newsletter!

You’ll get blog posts right in your inbox, plus extra goodies in your roughly twice a month. Plus, “Peek Inside My Sewing Library” in the first email!

Popular Posts


Sewing Stories

Follow along with the stories: