Friday, December 27th I started drafting a mock-up for an adaptation of a 19th-century skirt referenced from Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion 2 (pictured below).

My goal was to make a walking skirt like this Edwardian walking skirt by Bernadette Banner. For Christmas, I received Patterns of Fashion 2, The Great British Sewing Bee: Sew Your Own Wardrobe, Sew Many Dresses, Sew Little Time, a sewing machine and some sewing supplies. It’s funny because I had just begun clothes-making at the start of December and by the end of it I’m fully equipped (along with a few spare bedsheets).

Drafting and Mock Up

The pattern I was referencing came from a 19th-century day dress that widens and trailed a bit at the back. The skirt falls to the floor and drags, while beautiful and elegant, not ideal for a walking skirt.

I had to raise it significantly so I measured from my waist to the ideal length of the skirt. The pattern added a few inches with each gore so I had to account for that in my draft. These few inches gave the nice swoop at the back.

After double-checking all the measurements I pinned the drafting paper to my mockup fabric and cut. I then tacked it together and hung it on my stool (because I do not have a dress form – yet!). After making sure everything lined up and my hems looked nice I ran it through the sewing machine.

Before I continue with my sewing description I’m going to say I don’t know all of the proper words yet. SO, similar to a basting stitch, I set the machine to the .. widest? to the biggest gapped? straight stitch so that it would be very easy to remove if there was an issue – of which there were many. I didn’t understand how many gores were actually involved, I wasn’t sure how many inches to add or subtract per gore, I didn’t realize the back gore was actually on a fold so twice its size, and I kept forgetting about where the closure and pocket would go.

I may have had a small breakdown.

The floor is always a great place to reevaluate

After pulling myself together I fixed all of my errors and tried again. the result was much better than my first try (not pictured – it was a monster).

I cut a 4″ wide strip of fabric the length of my waist +2″ and folded it over to make the waistband. I measured my ID card and added a bit of wiggle room to the measurement. The white square at the front just below the waistline is the card and cash pocket. The left side is pinned with the zipper and the right has the pocket.

Final Fabric and Finishing

I’ve seen it called fashion fabric but I’m not sure if that’s just a historical term or if it’s just the fabric that is currently in fashion- I call it final fabric. My final fabric was a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law.

At this step, I tend to treat it so preciously and spend more time pinning and repinning than anything else. I cut larger than the allotted seam allowance to leave room for error yet I plan where I pin it very carefully to save room and fabric.

If you look at the picture above, the bottom right white fabric is still pleated at the top. I left the pleats in because that was the back where I made the mistake in the mockup. It is two pieces sewn together instead of one continuous piece, also it’s twice the size its meant to be.

I used the mock-up as a lining for the final fabric. I thought lining it would be a good replacement for a large and heavy hem, as I don’t want it to blow up in the wind, but the number of gores makes the skirt naturally very heavy and sturdy.

I still have a bit of finishing on the seams and I plan on adding a button to the waistband but its wearable without fear of fraying. Felling is the bane of my existence and will take me quite a while to do between projects, mumming, and school but it will get done.

Aside from the previously stated, as of Jan 1st she is done! I still had a bit of final fabric so my next project was to make a matching outfit for my 3 year old daughter!

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