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Friday, November 3, 2017

What to Put Under Dresses and Skirts?

Have you been looking for the best way to poof up those dresses and skirts you're creating? You're in luck because today we will show you a bunch of options for doing just that!  

There really are a lot of ways to add fluff, and the methods you choose can depend on what you want to put into it and the exact look you're going for.  You may want a built-in petti, a separate petti, a circle skirt, layered fabric, or even a hoop skirt.  Let's take a closer look at each! 

Built-in Petti 

Nicole's Party Dress 

This is my favorite option.  Many of our CKC patterns already have a built-in petti, meaning that the "fluff" is sewn right into the layers of the dress.  An example of this is Nicole's party dress (shown above and below), which has gathered tulle between the layers where it can give the dress volume without touching the legs. (Nobody likes the feel of tulle on their legs!) You can even make a Nicole's dress so poofy that it stands up on its own: 

"You know you got puff when the dresses stand on their own." - Melisa Harry
Amazing, right?!  The built-in petti is already part of the pattern so it doesn't require any extra thought and you don't have to worry about the underlayer falling down.  Other CKC patterns that have a built-in petti are Paris' one-shoulder party dress and Melody's dress. 

Paris' Party Dress
Melody's Party Dress

Separate Petti

Coco's Fabric Pettiskirt

The option that is much more common and easy to add to any dress or skirt style is a separate pettiskirt that you simply put on under any dress/skirt.  You could use a dance tutu or any kind of under-slip that adds body. CKC has patterns for several different styles that can be worn alone or under dresses. I think my favorite ever is the one in the photo above.  We made this Coco's Fabric Pettiskirt for my daughter to wear to her dance classes -- and then we ended up using it to layer under a bunch of her dresses too!  It was the best of both worlds. 

Patsy's Pettiskirt

Patsy's Pettiskirt is one that's quicker to make and still gives really good lift because of its tiers. You can make it out of cottons, taffeta, or just about anything with body. This pattern gives different length options, depending on what you will wear it under.  It also has an option to add lace or other embellishments: 

Betty's dress with Patsy's Pettiskirt

So pretty!  The benefit of a separate pettiskirt is that you can use it under a bunch of different dresses/skirts.  

Circle Skirt 

Sassy's Sock-Hop Circle Skirt

I debated whether I should make this one of the options, because a circle skirt is often combined with the other methods I'm showing you today. But I thought it was worth mentioning that circle skirts naturally give you a little more lift and fullness than gathered skirts.  Because circle skirts have a full circumference that is wider than the waist, it allows a nice full skirt without having bulk at the waist.

Betty's circle skirt dress with no petti underneath
   It's important to note, though, that I usually put a petti under a circle skirt anyway to give it even more lift.  They can really poof up high!  Circle skirts also require more pattern pieces and don't work as well with directional prints, but they do turn out amazing!  The photo above shows Betty's Fifties Dress with just the circle skirt. The photo below shows the same dress with pettis underneath. 

Betty's circle skirt dress with separate pettis underneath. 
So when it comes down to it, circle skirts and dresses can be worn alone or with any of the other options we're showing you today. If adding a petti isn't an option, a circle skirt is a good way to go. 

Layered Fabric

Elora's Princess Dress

Another way to get a lot of volume is in the fabric layers itself! Even without having a built in petti, you can build up the layers by making the panels wider and more gathered. A good example of this is Elora's Princess dress shown above.  While you could certainly add an extra petti under this (and many have) the dress already has fullness through two extra gathered layers of cotton and lining, plus the double wide gathered layer of organza on top.  It's just poofy by nature!  

Shirley's Petti Dress

You get the same idea from Shirley's Petti Dress.  So pretty! The layers and fluff give it a lot of natural body. Again, you could add even more lift under there with a separate petti, but you can see here that most of the fluff comes from all the dress layers.  I really love this look.  

Hoop Skirt 

Henley's Hoop Skirt

One of the more traditional methods is a hoop skirt!  This gives a lot more structure than the other methods and you want to make sure you pair it with a dress or skirt that is intended for use with a hoop skirt.  (Or, you could use a regular dress pattern as long as you add length and width to allow room for the hoop skirt.)  The photo above is our Henley's Hoop Skirt pattern and it has detailed instructions for the supplies you need and making the perfect fit.  

Evangeline's dress with Henley's hoop skirt underneath.
I adore the look of a gown over a hoop skirt, such as Evangeline's Elegant Ball Gown, as shown above.  It is simply stunning and the whole look is made possible by the addition of the hoop skirt underneath. 

Brielle's Princess Dress

Brielle's is another gown that uses a hoop skirt, as shown above.  Also Nancy's Fancy Ruched Dress:

Nancy's Fancy Ruched Dress 
So as you can see, you have lots of options for adding poof under your skirts and dresses!  You definitely don't have to choose just one -- I use all of them, depending on the look I'm going for and where it will be worn.  
To review, your options are built-in petti, separate petti, circle skirt, layered fabric, and hoop skirt.  If you have more ideas to add, or if you have any questions for us, please feel free to post in our patterns group on Facebook!  We always love to hear from you and see the latest projects you've made with your CKC patterns.  

Let's Create! ~ Kristen 


  1. I’m curious as to how long it takes to make a coco’s petti skirt

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