Scarborough Faire

1865 Elliptical Cage Crinoline

from Truly Victorian
Pattern TV103

Having made the decision to go to Dickens on the Strand in Galveston, I needed something to wear. The decision--to hoop or to bustle. And then, I came across some pictures in a fashion book and discovered the Elliptical Hoop which is somewhat a combination of the two. Because I never do anything the easy way, my choice was made. I ordered an "elliptical hoop" from Alter Years. After many weeks of waiting, it finally arrived. Much to my dismay, it did not resemble what I was expecting. Taking a round hoop and tying the bottom bones together may make an oval, but it doesn't make the right shape for the late 1860's hoops. So, I ordered from Truly Victorian their pattern for an elliptical cage crinoline and set to work on an engineering feat. Cannibalizing the hoop that I had purchased and boning from some of my renaissance hoops, this project was probably a little more complicated than it would have been had I just got the materials and started completely from scratch.

Also, the pattern is 36” from waist to hem. I am 36” from waist to floor. Consequently, I needed to raise it just a bit so that my skirts will cover it and I won’t trip while dancing (which is hard enough not to do when I’m wearing pants at our lessons). I raised bone numbers 2 through 8 a quarter of an inch. Initially I raised them ¾ of an inch, but when I tried on the initial fitting, it was to my knees so I had to go back and adjust. That’s three hours of my life that I won’t get back.

The other problem with cannibalizing the previous hoop is that the bottom circumference of the skirt wasn’t actually big enough. So, I cut out a 15” rectangle and inserted it in the front to widen it. I also had to add a bone to the bag hem. For that, I discovered that hem tape works fabulously and will remember that if I ever set out to do something this stupid again.

I now have a crinoline cage to wear under the TV247 skirt that I am going to make. My husband was very impressed, but being the perfectionist that I am, there are some things about it that could be better. However, it will do. I will have to learn how to sit in it as I cannot sit like a do a regular 4 bone hoop. But my butt does look appropriate huge and it swishes mightily as I dance about. Feels like my bottom keeps going even after the rest of me has stopped.

I set the camera on auto so that it took pictures every five minutes. The only time I didn’t really have this set was the 8 or 9 hours that I hand stitched the boning casings to the ribbons. There’s got to be a better way than that. Although I did enjoy the five movies that I got to watch while working on, I am not happy with the sore fingers and aching back.

A good way to start. Reading the instructions.

Making the sizing corrections and marking the ribbons.

Measuring the circumference of original hoop.

Measuring the boning. The burgundy fabric in back will be my skirt.

Pinning the vertical supports to the bottom.

Realizing I'm going to have to extend the fabric on the bottom.

Day 2 after correcting the bottom. Pinning the bones to the vertical supports building the cage around me.
Finished Product


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