Skirts

basic patterns: 3 part skirt, 5 part skirt, 7 part skirt, 9 part skirt

The front part is cut once from folded cloth, the middle in straight grain. The other parts are cut twice. The front edge of the other parts is also in straight grain. If the cloth is not wide enough to accomodate the piece, wedges are cut from the rest and sewn on with a seam as inconspicuous as possible.

At one side of the front part the slit for buttoning is left open at 25-30 cm length. The edge of the overlapping front part is protected with a length of cloth in diagonal grain. Later, buttonholes are sewn in here. Apply a 4 cm wide double strip to the side part to face it and take the buttons. (In 1908, patent fasteners (i.e. snaps) were quite the rage - use them!)

The waistline is protected with a strip of linen all around until the waistband is applied on top of it when you're sure it fits. Hooks and eyes are sewn on the waistband to close it in front.
After that, make sure the hem is the same length all around, especially if the skirt is slightly less than floor length. If possible, have somebody help you while you wear it. The front may well be a little longer than the back, but never the other way round.

Now the hem protection is done. Depending on how elegant the skirt is supposed to be, you either sew on a strip of velvet or of wool in the colour of the skirt. Apart from protecting the skirt from soil and wear it also lends stiffness to the hem. This forming quality can be supported by a length of cord sewn into the bottom of the facing. On top of the facing a brush braid, which was available in shops back then, can be applied for further protection - and for sweeping the ground.

I cannot tell whether skirts were frequently lined in the 19th century, but in 1908 it was entirely up to you. The cut of the lining is the same as of the skirt. The front seams of lining and skirt as well as the middle lines of the broad parts and finally the back seams are sewn together with loose stitches to make sure the skirt doesn't go out of shape. The lining business is of course done before the slit and waistband. The materal is the same as used for petticoats.

picture: how the upper part of a corselet skirt is stiffened with whalebone.

The corselet skirt is a combination of the lower part of a taille and a skirt, i.e. the bodice part has to be sewn very carefully and stiffened along each seam. It is recommended to line at least the upper part. It is closed with hooks and eyes, sometimes laced, in the middle of the back.

Pockets:
A really elegant skirt just doesn't have any. I doesn't look good. Everyday skirts, however, have pockets sewn into the buttoning slit. See picture.

I still haven't found out how these pockets were supposed to be accessed without unbuttoning the whole thing. Another possibility was a pocket in the lining or petticoat - see petticoat page. This considered, ladies probably didn't access their pockets in plain view of thew general public...

 

 

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