What is crinoline and how do you care for them? Crinoline, also known as slip net or petticoat, is a woman’s underwear that is supposed to fluff a skirt, and give a more bell-like shape. It can be made of net fabric or ruffles and is closely associated with the popular 1950s full circle skirt style. Whether new or old, these crinolines need some special help to keep them looking bouncy and bright.
Here are some ideas on how to properly fluff and shape your crinoline net, and how to remove wrinkles. Sometimes wrinkles come out on their own if you hang the crinoline up for a day or two. This is the first thing you should do with crinoline. It is especially useful to flush and separate the net layers and gently pull the net into shape. Give it a little shake as well. Note: It’s OK to hang it up for a day or two just to shape it, but rolled up crinolines should be stored in a bag, otherwise they’ll lose their puff from being pulled down by their pressure themselves. You can also steam stubborn wrists with the steamer mounted on your hand iron. Do this by first placing your crinoline over the ironing board so that only one layer of net is exposed. Lay a crushing cloth over the crinoline. Place your iron on the “delicate” setting, and press the crinoline over the crushing cloth, so that the net is not tied. Any leftovers can be flushed by hanging the crinoline up, and lightly exploding with steam from the steamer function on your iron. Remember – that steam is very hot! Do not touch the iron into the crinoline, or you will burn the net. If you’re lucky enough to have a real clothes steamer, then hang the crinoline, and steam the crinoline from the inside, facing out. The net will puff out immediately. Don’t have access to iron or steamer? Hang the crinoline in your bathroom. Turn the hot water on in the shower all the way. Close the door to the bathroom and let it steam. Stir in every few minutes and smooth the net. Or, put it in the dryer on a fluffy bike and run it for a few minutes, then hang it up and gently separate the layers, shaping the crinoline as you go.
Hanging crinolines in a cupboard are useful but only good for temporary storage. Store your rolled up crinoline in a plastic bag, or travel / duffel bag. Genuine “crinoline bags” can also be purchased from square dance outfits and supply stores. You can roll up your crinoline without creating new wrinkles like this: Stand holding the crinoline in front of you with the waist band at jaw height and the crinoline hanging down. Pull the waistband under your chin and use your arms to gently bend the crinoline from the sides to the middle so that you end up with a long, vertical tube. Press the air gently as you do this. Now start rolling from the bottom up, again gently press air out. Once you roll to the top you will have the waist band section to make a neat wrap for the net. When you need it again you will have the waist band to hold on to as you unfold the crinoline. Don’t let your pet find its way to your precious crinoline and turn it into a personal throne! Pets love to nest in crinolines, and not only get their hair out tough, but they will flatten your crinoline as well.
Tired of the color? Crinolines can be colored. Here’s how to brighten or change the color of crinoline. Make sure you use a dye that works for nylon fabric. Crinoline needs two packs. Most people use a “Rit” dye. Ritual dyes and dyes in general can be found at your local craft shop, or chain variety store. Fill the washing machine with hot water and then mix the dye according to the package instructions. Make sure you make the washer go through an extra cycle once you finish killing the crinoline. This will ensure that there is no extra color left in your washer! Yellow crinolines can be whitened. Just soak a cup of dishwashing powder in enough hot water to cover the crinoline. Soak it for 30 minutes, rinse, and hang it to dry. For easy “freshening” of your crinoline, simply pop it in a dryer on the fluff ring just minutes before wearing.
Crinolines give your ring skirt a bounce. They’re a lot of fun when you’re dancing and can add a flash of color and sass. A good one will last with proper care and storage to give you years of flouncy fashion.
Fun Fact: Did you know that in the 1950s they used to have their crinolines stay stiff by immersing them in a sugar water bath? This is called “sugar starch.” Here’s how they used to do it. Mix a couple of cups of sugar in a large bucket of warm water. After the sugar has dissolved, dip the crinoline and let it soak for a couple of minutes. Take out the crinoline, let it drip and then look for a place to prop the crinoline so it can dry in the right shape. Some women would drape wet crinolines over a large bush in the yard so they would be full and fluffy.