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How to choose a crinoline for your circle skirt.

Updated on December 21, 2012

"A Crinoline by any other name....."

Crinoline (pronounced krin - o - len) "A type of slip/petticoat often made of starched tulle or layers of nylon in order to give skirts fullness."

Also called petticoats, underskirts, pouff, net skirts or can can skirts, crinolines give your skirt shape and volume. It's so much fun to dance when you wear a circle skirt and crinoline. You can really swing.

In this Squidoo, we'll cover crinoline basics from what to know when you are buying one, to how to wear one and take care of it after.

Crinoline Petticoats at Hey Viv !
Crinoline Petticoats at Hey Viv !

Smart Shopping for a new or vintage crinoline

What to keep in mind when buying a crinoline

- Make sure you know how long the skirt is that you're buying a crinoline for. Most people don't want the crinoline to hang below the hem of the skirt.

- Buy a crinoline the same or slightly longer length as your skirt or dress.

- Most crinolines are measured with the net pulled straight out, and this can make them seem a bit longer than they actually are. Keep this in mind when choosing the correct crinoline.

- Some people like the crinoline slightly shorter so they can see the "drop."

- Make sure there is a lining between your skin and the net for comfort. Crinolines can be itchy. A half slip works wonders.

- For adding gentle bounce, fullness, and shape to your skirt: look for crinolines with a smooth top part, that flows into rows of ruffles at the bottom

- For square dancing: Look for a crinoline with as many layers and rows of ruffles as possible for maximum bounce and fullness that makes a real statement.

- Should you purchase an elastic waist crinoline, or one that ties closed? Both are great, and it is more of a matter of preference. Ties can be more firmly set at the waist, but elastics can stretch more, to fit a range of sizes.

- Buying a vintage crinoline? Check: is the elastic dry and brittle? Can it stretch? If it is brittle, you may have to replace it. You can also fold it over to fit and sew on a snap.

- How many layers of ruffles is best? One near bottom will give a slightly full look. More layers of ruffled net or wider ones will give more fullness and bounce.

Tips for Crinolines Care - How to Fold, Fluff and Store Net Petticoats

Keeping your crinoline fresh and ready to wear

Crinolines are great for circle skirts but how should you take care of them ?


Crinolines shouldn't be hung on hangers - that can make them lose their fluff. Roll the crinoline into a bag or box that is roomy enough to accommodate it.

How to Roll a Crinoline:

Here's the method we use. Stand holding the crinoline in front of you with the waistband at chin height and the crinoline hanging down. Tuck the waistband under your chin and use your arms to gently fold the crinoline from the sides into the center so that you end up with a long, vertical tube. Gently press the air out as you do this. Now start rolling from the bottom up, again gently press air out. Once you've rolled to the top you'll have the waistband section to make a neat wrap around for the net. When you need it again you'll have the waistband to hold onto as you unroll the crinoline.

Getting the Fluff Back:

We've found the best method is to steam and fluff the crinoline. If you don't have a steamer, try popping it into a dryer on fluff cycle for a few minutes. After you take it out, gently pull and shape the crinoline as it is cooling off.

Crinolines on Amazon - Swing Skirts & Net Crinolines

Make your skirt swing with a net crinoline underskirt - good qaulity, colors and sizes by Hey Viv !

Crinoline FAQ

Most common questions we get asked

Can you dye a crinoline?

A: Yes! You can dye a crinoline, as long as it is light enough to take the dye. We've found that Rit fabric dye works best.

Searching "How to dye a crinoline" will bring you to many pages showing detailed photos of how to dye the crinoline with Rit dye in your washing machine.

Do I need to wear one ? What can I wear instead?

A: Wearing a crinoline is always best if you want that full, playful vintage look. If you find yourself in an emergency -- you can take a half slip, and sew netting on the bottom hem. The fullness and stiffness of the netting will add some fullness to your skirt, and give the illusion of a crinoline.

Can you shorten a crinoline?

A: You could try rolling down the waist, and hiding the bunch with a cinch belt, to shorten a crinoline in a pinch. You could also try rolling the crinoline up lengthwise, and carefully trimming the end. Please use care, and know that doing that will give a rougher look to the edges of your crinoline.

Should I get my crinoline in the same color as my skirt/dress, or in a contrasting color?

A: Getting the crinoline in the same color as your skirt or dress, will have a more delicate, and subtle, fun look. Getting a crinoline in a contrasting color is great for dancers, and for those that like to do a little twirl! :) As you kick your feet up or twirl, people will be able to see a flash your crinoline color.

Hey Viv ! Rockin' 50s Retro Clothing
Hey Viv ! Rockin' 50s Retro Clothing

Where to find Hey Viv Crinolines

You can find Hey Viv ! 50s retro style costumes brand products at:

on Amazon - search for the Hey Viv Brand

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