Ruffles were added to the stiff crinoline petticoats to support the skirts to the desired dome shapes. Rings of cord or braid running around the hem were added for extra rigidity to the petticoats.
Many ridiculed the crinoline claiming it imprisoned women. Some of the widest crinolines were up to 6 ft in diameter. This made it difficult to get through doors, in and out of carriages and moving around in such a large structure. The crinoline needs to be rigid but also have a degree of flexibility. A new steel know as spring steel or watch-spring steel was eventually used for these forms which enabled the women to temporarily press out the shape of her hoop.
Now with the lightness of crinoline a gust of wind could set it swinging thus revealing the women’s legs. If she happened to trip of was knocked over, the crinoline would flip up her skirts.
Sitting down could be tricky if the women did not spread her skirt out properly the steel crinoline would fly up in her face. This would be humorous, but also embarrassing.
Crinoline petticoats were also popular during the 1950’s. The stiff layers of net used in these petticoats were perfect under poodle skirts. Your poodle skirt would stick out so everyone could see your fancy footwork at the local soda shop or neighborhood sock hop.
Crinoline petticoats are still worn today under formal evening gowns and wedding dresses. Today’s crinolines are made of several layers of stiff net. If the crinoline has a hoop it will be made of plastic or nylon. Current designers are updating the crinoline and redesigning its shortcomings by using modern material such as Velcro, elastic and Spandex. This makes modern crinolines comfortable, lightweight and flexible.
The crinoline is making a comeback, thanks to lavish weddings and grandiose bridal attire.