The Underskirt

Unlike the camicia post I don’t have a large historic schpeel about the underskirt’s role in the Italian woman’s every day – or special occassion – routine. There are no extant examples of underskirts and there are no separate skirts to be spotted anywhere in any painting that I have seen. This probably discredits this garment as being an actual layer worn during this time. In fact, I’m almost positive that they never wore underskirts like the one I created.

I will say, however, that underskirts at this time were not called petticoats as they were later on in history. Instead, a petticoat in this period is a basic dress that gave shape and support to the more ornate over dress or gown. This can be seen more clearly  in the 15th century where women are often seen with a petticoat and an over dress called a giorrnea on top. The giorrnea often had a low v-shaped neckline exposing the petticoat underneath.

The construction I went with is something of a glorified apron that reaches all the way around. In hindsight, after I fought with the underskirt over the camicia and gave myself a good side cramp in the process, I think I should have gone with a method that closely resembles the petticoats worn in the 18th century. The separate ties would have no doubt made for a nice snug fit and the open side seams that result would have lent themselves nicely to a separate pair of pockets!

I used some of the jacquard dye I had lying around to dye it a very cheerful golden yellow. It’s not as deep as I would like but it looks good enough! It warms up the charcoal grey fabric for the over gown and compliments each fabric I have that has been reserved for more gowns, even if all that fabric is mostly green!

Underskirt - Box  Pleat Detail

A nice close up of wrinkly box pleats and an uneven stitching job!


Underskirt - Full Unhemmed

More wrinkled muslin and a nice frayed bottom edge to top it all off.

Underskirt - Worn

The waistline matches with the high waist of the gown to keep things even and nice.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, I’m relatively pleased. I’m in love with the colour and the even box pleats [how did I manage that?!]. It’s a nice piece to wear and I’m hoping it gives that extra bit of fullness I want.


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