The Dictionary of Fashion History Cover Image

The Dictionary of Fashion History

Valerie Cumming, C. W. Cunnington and P. E. Cunnington

Table of contents

  • Crinoline


Dictionary entry

Page: 59


Period: 1829 onwards.

Originally a term for a textile which by 1840 was made of horsehair warp and wool weft and used for making stiff under-petticoats to expand the skirt. The textile quickly became synonymous with the actual petticoat. In 1856 the artificial crinoline or cage petticoat appeared with whalebone hoops added, replaced in 1857 by watch-spring hoops.

Henceforth the name crinoline was applied to this cage petticoat. The number of hoops varied and also the shape; in 1857–9 it was domed, then pyramidal. By 1862 the size began to diminish; in 1866 the front became flat and the back projected, merging by 1868 into the crinolette. Named varieties included cage-Américaine, cage empire, ondina, panier and sansflectum.