View Full Version : To Starch a Corded petticoat.....

10-06-2006, 08:57 PM
Being a Staunch Yankee : ) ...I was hoping someone could give me some suggestions when it comes to the initial Starching of a corded petticoat.
It's one of those projects that I put off because I'm afraid of messing it up the first time. Anyone out there done this before????? Blue Yankee.

10-07-2006, 08:04 AM
When I still had a corded petticoat I would starch it by soaking it (or mostly just the bottom part with the cords) in liquid starch that was undiluted, I think it was stay-flow (came in a blue bottle). I did it once by mixing cornstarch and water and came up with similar results. After a few minuets I'd take it out ring it well. Then I'd place it over a large 50 gallon trash can that I'd covered in a large trash bag to protect the petticoat from the nasty things on the trashcan (oh, ya, and keep the trashcan from getting covered in starch). Let it sit out in in the sun until dry. This also bleached out the petticoat nicely if there were any stains. Now, this was a petticoat that could stand up by itself and unless really humid the starching would last several events.

10-07-2006, 08:27 AM
... this was a petticoat that could stand up by itself...

How/where did you store it between events?

10-07-2006, 10:34 AM
Keep in mind: it's starch. If you mess up, it washes out. :)

If you've used very small cording to mimic many period examples of corded petticoats (from the 1850s), and spaced it closely, you may find you don't need a great lot of starch (or any at all)... heavily starched corded petticoats start to vanish with the introduction of the cage mid-50s, so it would be a "technology" six-seven years out of date by the start of the war.

All that said, it's a lot safer to just wear petticoats (with cords or without) if you're going to be around flames. No hoops! :)

Starching is messy and gloopy, but you don't have to do it terribly often, which helps. Actual "mix it up" laundry starch can still be found in some stores--look along the top shelf, where they sell the inconvenient things. :) You'll find it somewhere near the bluing, which is also handy.

Once it's dipped and dried, you can press it; I actually prefer to press my mid-50s corded petticoat flat, on several towels on the table, rather than use my ironing board. I press both layers at the same time, and just avoid pressing a crease at the edge, so I can let it cool, lift, re-position, and press the former-fold areas with a second pass. LOTS faster than rotating it around an ironing board 10" at a time.

If you're in an area with hard water, wash it without softeners, and line dry. It'll be pretty stiff all on its own. :)

Delia Godric
10-10-2006, 06:18 AM
If you're in an area with hard water, wash it without softeners, and line dry. It'll be pretty stiff all on its own. :)

This could explain a few things. :) I have rather mysterious water. It irritates my skin and won't cook beans, literally. The cat won't even drink it. But my petticoats dry rather crisp.

Anna Worden

10-10-2006, 08:11 AM
What happens if you add vinegar to a plain glass?

(We're in a hard water area, too--and I didn't starch my petticoats for our Oregon Trail Rest Stop event, and did just fine, as did my daughters. Just rinsed and line-dried. Board stiff. :) )

It's never a good idea to store a petticoat for very long with starch in it, as it does draw little buggies who like to eat starch... but if you've got an event in just a few weeks, try folding gently and storing flat (on top of things, so it doesn't squash all the way), then lightly pressing it to "renew" the starch just before you go eventing.

Delia Godric
10-10-2006, 08:39 AM
[QUOTE=ElizabethClark]What happens if you add vinegar to a plain glass?

I don't know. I will try that tonight. Plain vinegar to a plain glass of water or an empty spotty glass?


10-10-2006, 09:03 AM
Try it in both--if it fizzes, you have soda in your water. :) Great for leavening cakes, lousy to taste.

10-16-2006, 09:04 AM
I did It! Took the advise of the tried and true methods and starched that corded petticoat....Was quite easy, and here all this time I fretted on messing it up. I will be sporting it this weekend....Thank you all again. Blue Yankee