Ever since I made my tailored waistcoat I have wanted to make a matching skirt. So, I got more fabric (I thank Materials Helsinki for the nice blog discount!) and started working with it. I used the same Truly Victorian 1898 Walking Skirt pattern than with my modernised Edwardian walking skirt but this time I made a full-length skirt.
Of course, just gorgeous wool tweed wasn’t enough to make a skirt. I got some Italian shirting cotton for the flat lining and used scraps of my old trench coat fabric to interface the hem facings. I also interfaced the back placket and added a strip of hair canvas to the waistband.
This time I tried following the original methods as far as I knew of them. I sewed the straight seams by machine and then flat felled the seams by hand. This took ages as each seam had about 2 metres of felling!
I already knew that the skirt pattern fit well but I did have to shorten the final skirt for about 5 cm to make it touch the tops of my feet.
I also decided to make this skirt more practical by adding pockets. Instead of just adding basic pockets I decided to use historical pattern pieces.
I found the perfect pattern from the book Patterns of Fashion 2 by Janet Arnold as quoted by Bernadette Banner in her YouTube video. It was so good that she zoomed into the book so that I could copy the pattern as I had just returned the actual Arnold book to the local library. However, I chose a different pocket pattern than Bernadette. I also disagreed with the book a bit and I switched the darker facing pieces with each other. I felt that having the larger piece opposite the pocket opening made more sense than the other way around.
It so happens that the Victorians were much more practical what came to pockets and that means that the pockets are huge! In fact, I can practically ditch my handbag when wearing this skirt as everything fits into my pockets.
The bustle pad
I have some cotton wadding with a felted side and a loose cotton side, so I tried using it. I cut away some of the loose cotton from the seam allowances and sewed the bustle pieces into a pocket.
As my wadding already was pretty thick, I only added little extra stuffing before closing the upper edge of the bustle pad.
I then made the radial stitching. I noticed it was easiest to do with the longest stitch length of my machine, since the bustle pad was so thick. Even with the walking foot I had to help a bit with my hands to make the thick felt thing advance under the foot.
I finished the upper edge with some cross-grain ribbon that also acts as a waistband.
The finished 1898 walking skirt
I absolutely love the finished walking skirt even with some specific flaws that probably no one but me will notice.
Here you can see how I flat lined the skirt. You can also see, that I don’t yet have a proper Victorian underskirt! I substituted with my regency petticoat that is the only one I own that is long enough.
I already gushed about the pockets. Well, I actually tried out them in real life today. I went out in my whole Victorian costume and left my handbag home. I didn’t have any problems stuffing my wallet, my phone and my keys into my pockets. In fact, I could have added a litter of puppies!
I absolutely love the fullness of the 1898 walking skirt pattern at the back. However, it is rather heavy and the bustle helps to lift it up a bit. The waistband still tends to drag a bit at the centre back but it doesn’t bother me that much.
The effect of the small bustle pad is small but effective:
In fact, why do some modern women go through so much trouble to get a big posterior?
I still have quite a lot of fabric left since I managed to save a lot of fabric by cutting the skirt pieces smartly. I am not sure what to make with it, a pair of trousers? Or a more modern skirt? A jacket? I love working with this wool, so I’m definitely going to use this for something.
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