Vintage Must Have: Crinoline

A crinoline (also known as a petticoat) is a must have if you’re a fan of fuller skirts.  The full skirts and circle skirts of the 1950s and early 1960s require a crinoline to produce that classic silhouette seen in so many magazines of the time period.

I have several crinolines, because, well, I need them.  Yes, need.  I have full skirts of varying lengths, and for me, one crinoline simply doesn’t do the job.  (As much as I wish it would since crinolines tend to take up a lot of space.)  Not all of my dresses that require crinolines are of the same length.  If a crinoline is too long, it peeks out and looks bad.  Although a one inch peek is considered acceptable.  If a crinoline is too short, the last few inches of the dress fall straight down, and it looks unattractive.  I have two large and long crinolines that serve well under my classic circle skirts that I have made (view them here, here, here, and here), and are very similar to the ones that Jumblelaya sells.  I have a smaller, shorter one that I picked up second hand that is perfect for some of my squaw dresses.  One very similar can be purchased from Pin-Up Girl Clothing.  I also have one that is in between these two that I recently found in the attic.  You can also layer your crinolines to add more poof in your skirt.  I once wore three for an AlexSandra fashion show.

Crinolines can be successfully stored in pillow cases or vacuum bags and it won’t harm them one bit.  They tend to be very good at springing back to life.  However if they do have any severe wrinkles, a quick pass over with a steamer will do the trick.  Don’t have a steamer? Take your crinoline into the bathroom with you while you shower!

I would also like to note that this dress is a perfect example of how to use of a half-slip (read more on slips here!).  Obviously my bodice does not allow for a traditional full slip, so I have put on a half slip between myself and my crinoline.  Additionally, crinolines can be a tad rough, unless you purchase one made of super soft nylon.

So get out there, and add some poof to your life!  You’ll find yourself swishing as you walk.  It’s quite fun.

12 thoughts on “Vintage Must Have: Crinoline

  1. Crinolines are a beloved staple in my wardrobe. I have them in a handful of versatile hues (white, cream, black, red, etc) and see them as critical to being able to get the most out of many of my 1950s pieces – and, well, I just find them so darn fun to wear! 🙂

    ♥ Jessica

  2. Thanks for telling us exactly which vendors sell crinolines that are appropriate for different length dresses! I’ve been wanting a crinoline for some of my fuller dresses, but I was feeling cautious because I didn’t want to purchase the wrong length. You just made this decision a LOT easier. And of course, you look beautiful, as always.

    ❤ jen @ stuff jen did

  3. Oh, crinolines, I adore them! Finally, something in your “Vintage-must-have” series that I actually have! I was getting a bit worried… Of course, all of mine are knee-length. I’ll have to be on the lookout for some pretty true tea length petticoats.

    Why do some people call them petticoats and some call them crinolines, anyway? Is there a difference? I’ve always been curious.

    • Technically, crinoline is the type of material that many modern (1950s though today) petticoats are made out of – the stuff, net-like material. In the 1800s, crinolines were the structure that larger skirts laid upon, and were often made of horsehair and stuff cotton.

  4. Your dress & petticoat are beautiful! I scored a never been worn 1950s petti with its wooden circle hoop that you can wear threaded through the bottom of the slip to make it very full, still in its original drawstring bag…It is very unique and beautiful. I also love to hear the swish swish when I walk 🙂 I admire how you wear yours so full, I always feel a little self conscious for some reason so I tend to purchase the more subtle nylon layered ones.

  5. I used to hang my freshly washed crinolines on the clothes line and spray with sugar water to extra “Umph”–Yes, I’m more Vintage than
    God !! Only kidding, he’s about 10 years older !!
    Thanks for a great site !!

    god !!

  6. I only have one crinoline and I barely wear it but – whenever my cats are injured they sneak into my wardrobe and sleep on it. I have one literally claw the sliding door open while she had a broken leg just to recuperate on it. Good thing it’s just a cheapy I got from a swing shop and not a vintage one!

  7. The only crinolines I can tolerate are chiffon ones from Malco Modes. They make blouses, skirts, accessories, etc. for square dancers and I find they add just the right amount of flounce.

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