Next is another petticoat. They go on easiest over the head. We put the fastenings in front; I know some others put the closure on the side. I can think of one painting (at least), dated 1569, that shows a woman undoing her stays, looks like she’s either going to nurse a baby or just has. Her petticoat opens in front, along with her stays.
Once you put it on, you have to give it a little flap to make sure it isn’t bunched up in back. In early 17th-century England, little girls (and maybe big girls, too, who knows?) played a game called “making cheeses.” Basically, you twirl around really fast so your petticoat flares out, then quickly drop to the ground. The girl whose petticoat makes the biggest circle on the ground wins. This may sound simple, and maybe you’re thinking that kids today wouldn’t be amused by something so basic, but believe it or not it was one of the favorite pastimes of the little girl volunteers this summer. And some of the big girl staff, too.