This petticoat is typical of women's underwear for the majority of the nineteenth century in that it is made of unpatterned white cotton, and that it has a full skirt providing bulk for the upper dress. In this case it also has rows of piping to give added weight to the hem, which is scalloped and trimmed with white openwork embroidery. The neckline is wide and low to ensure that it does not show under the dress, and the waistband, in this case, is just higher than the natural level.
Highered waists like this were a fashionable feature at the beginning of the nineteenth century, intended to suggest an "Empire" silhouette, but by 1830 they had descended to a natural line again. This piped or rouleaux hem also gives more fullness to the skirt than was fashionable during the first decade of the nineteenth century. The red silk evening outfit shown below is typical of the type of dress which would have been worn over such petticoats, the fullness in the skirt provided by the layers of cotton below.
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