Elizabethan Petticoats

What’s a petticoat?

In 100 words or less, a petticoat is:

Lia de Thornegge's Red petticoat

Lia de Thornegge’s Red petticoat

  • Usually a skirt with a sleeveless, front-lacing bodice; sometimes a separate skirt tied to a bodice with points, and sometimes a skirt with a sleeved, front-lacing bodice.
  • Usually red, especially for the lower and merchant orders.
  • Usually closed with lacings, though there are a few references to petticoats closing with hooks and eyes. Some petticoats had placards pinned or fastened across the lacings in front.
  • Made of wool or silk fabric; no references to linen or fustian petticoats have been found.
  • Frequently had bodices and skirts of different colors and fabrics.
  • were often lined or interlined with stiff fabric, like fustian or buckram, for support.
  • Until the 1580s, were the primary garment (alongside the kirtle) used for supporting the bosom and achieving the period, flat-fronted silhouette.



What’s a Petticoat? | Petticoats for Re-enactors: some considerations | Search for Petticoats in DressDB | Where can I find out More about Petticoats? | Making a Petticoat |
Additional References to Petticoats