Although slips and other underskirt garments are slowly becoming obsolete, there are occasional situations or costumes that require a petticoat or other underskirt. An authentic cotton or linen full petticoat for, say, a proper Revolutionary War or even 1950s-era silhouette is very heavy, and the vintage clothier might do better making a petticoat out of net, also called tulle. Tulle is inexpensive and comes in a variety of colors for your every visible or hidden petticoat need.

Things You'll Need

Make the basic measurements. Measure your waist and add an inch. Determine how long you want your net petticoat to be — knee-length, for example, or floor-length — and measure from your waist to that length. Add 2 inches.

Cut and stitch the petticoat. For a full petticoat, use all 5 yards of tulle, especially if your waist is bigger than 40 inches. Cut one long piece 5 yards by the length you determined in Step 1. Sew the two short ends together, leaving 7 inches un-sewn. This will make it easier to step into and pull up the finished petticoat. Hem the bottom edge, the one that has the sewn-side seam. Fold the tulle 1/2 inch all the way around, then another 1/2 inch. Pin in place. Sew with a sewing machine.

Gather the petticoat. Measure 1/4 inch from the completely un-sewn edge of the tulle or netting and baste or loosely sew a seam. Use that seam to gather the 5 yards of tulle until it is the same measurement around as your waist plus one inch.

Add the waistband. Cut a piece of quilt edging or bias tape the length of your waist measurement plus 24 inches. Leave 12 inches at each edge free, and pin the net or tulle to one side of the folded edging or tape. Sew. Fold over the other side of the tape to cover the gathering, and machine stitch or hand sew the entire length, including the 12-inch ties at the end. The petticoat is now ready to wear.


  • Tulle can be scratchy, so wear tights, hose or bloomers to keep your legs and lower torso from itching.

  • If your net or tulle is a color other than white, you can chose bias tape or quilt edging in the same or complementary color.

References and Resources

BurdaStyle: Find a Sewing Term