How To Make My Farthingale

      My farthingale was made out of medium weight calico.  I used willow canes from Fred Aldous (see Online Suppliers section) for the hoops, and cream coloured cord to tie the waistband.  I also needed some duct tape to secure the hoops together.

1. Work out the hoop sizes:

      Use my farthingale diagram to work out the lengths of cane needed for each hoop.  Half the length of the bottom (and largest) hoop will be the length of the rectangles of fabric needed.  You can also work out the height of the rectangles of fabric using the diagram.

2. Cut out the fabric:

      Cut out two large rectangles of calico.  The horizontal length of each rectangle will be the circumference of the bottom hoop (remember to add seam allowances (SA)).  To work out the height, work out the diagonal height from the farthingale diagram and add on 5 (number of hoops) x 6 cm (length required for each hoop casing).  I added on another 6 cm for luck as well!

3. Sew the farthingale together:

     First of all, sew the rectangles together at each end to make a cylinder with french seams (this is the easy part!).  Then measure where the casings are going to go.  Mark the fabric 6 cm up from the bottom, this will be your first casing, which you will have to sew by hand as a large hem.  If you are having the hoops 17 cm apart (as I did) mark the fabric 17 cm up from your first mark and then 6 cm up from this mark, and so on until you've made marks for five casings.  Hand sew the bottom casing like a large hem, then machine sew the rest of them making sure to leave a 10 cm gap through which you can feed the hoops.  It's easiest to have the casings on the outside of the farthingale.

4. Make the hoops:

      I made my hoops by taping two willow canes together with duct tape to make the hoop strong.  I held them out to shape them with heavy books on the floor. 

      Once the hoops were made, feed them into the casings and stick the ends together with duct tape.  This can be very fiddly to do! 

5. Make the waistband:

      Measure your waist measurement with your corset on and cut out two rectangles of fabric, each half the circumference of your waist (+ SA) long and about 10 cm (+ SA) wide.  These will make up your waistband.  Fold in the seam allowances and iron them to make them easier to work with.

      Next, unpick the seams from the top of the farthingale down about 15 cm and hem these neatly.

      Pleat each half of the top of the farthingale to fit the waistband (this does not have to be exact), and machine sew to one side of each 'half-waistband'. 

      Hand sew the cord into place at the ends of each waistband, and then hand sew the other side of the waistband down.  Try it on!

Click to go back to Tudor Costumes Home Page