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A wool walking skirt

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.

The pockets

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.

The walking skirt pocket under construction.
The pockets under construction.

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

Again I followed Bernadette Banners lead and used the same patent and her YouTube video to help to make my own.

Making the bustle pad pillow.

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.

Stuffing the bustle pad.

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 bustle pad.

The finished 1898 walking skirt

Truly Victorian 1898 walking skirt with added pockets!

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.

Inside the 1898 walking skirt.

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 back of my 1898 walking skirt.

The effect of the small bustle pad is small but effective:

The side view.

In fact, why do some modern women go through so much trouble to get a big posterior?

Humorous fake advert of Big Butt Bustle Pad.
My solution! (Just kidding, you know…)

Back to the Victorian costume, this is the whole costume: the skirt, the waistcoat and the pin tuck blouse:

My whole Victorian costume this far.

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.

Thank you for reading and do subscribe to follow my further adventures in sewing! Warm thanks for everyone who already subscribed! Happy sewing!


I am a mother of two. I sew, knit and create and blog about it.


  • Sara Brankaer

    I love this blog! I look at people like Bernadette Banner and Cathy Hay and Morgan Donner and get intimidated ;-), but blog posts like this make me think that I could have a go, too! I plan to start with the victorian underwear by Black Snail pattern, and then make the walking skirt. I love swishy skirts. I have one fiftes inspired dress from the Pretty Dress Company plus huge pink petticoat, and love that! It doesn’t have pockets, though. I don’t want to make historically accurate clothing, I just want to sew a wardrobe I love to wear, that suits me. I can’t find what I really want in stores, so I intend to make it. Last summer I made some high waisted pants that I love. They are so much more comfortable that modern pants, which, for me, sit too low on the hips, creating “hip fat bulges” which are not at all flattering, especially since shirts tend to be too short to fall properly over this low waist. And let’s be honest, flashing our belly button is not flattering on most ladies! 🙂

    Anyway, just wanted to say hi! So glad I found you! I love the name of your blog, too. It made me realize that that is exactly what I do when I quilt/garden/sew. I’m going to frame those words somewhere! I also can’t believe how young you look. I thought you were 22 (well, maybe you are 22 and have two kids, I just realized that is perfectly doable).

    I will be back here later, now I have to go and work!

    • kk

      Oh, thank you so much! I look up to Bernadette Banner and others and I hope to someday be able to make things like they do. It takes a while to learn, though!

      I am also in the process of making high-waisted trousers in 1940s style. I hope they will look good once finished! The danger is that they will look like a sack with pleats and wide legs.

      And, I wish I were 22! I am 37 in December! I think that it might be quite impossible for me to have kids of 9 and 12 if I were 22! But they also look younger than they are and so does my hubby who people have thought to be my son’s brother. Perhaps it is because we stay so much indoors and don’t get sun damage to our skin. Also, the camera does lie a bit!

      So glad to hear from you and all the best!


  • Evelien

    I would love to make the skirt! But I cannot find the pattern anywhere! Can someone help me find a similar one? I have the dutch size 52, so quite big.

    • kk

      Did you look at Their sizes are based on waist measurement so I’m not sure your size is included but the range is big. Also the Black snail patterns at Etsy have a fan-skirt pattern with sizes going all the way up to 56. The third option is to look at the period pattern drafting books and draft the pattern from the scratch using your own measurements. It is much easier than what it sounds like.

  • Sarah

    Your skirt turned out amazing! I am definitely making a few in the future. I am currently working on a circle skirt (all handstitched, because I’m apparently slightly crazy), but am putting in the pockets you used here. The only part I’m stuck on is how to go about attaching them, since most source materials just say “attach the pocket”. Did you put them in like a welted pocket along the seam, or maybe with the seam allowance covering the raw edge of the pocket slit somehow?

    • kk

      My pockets are like weltef pockets the wrong way around. I attached them by hand so i turned the pocket mouth seam allowances to the outside of the pocket and stitched the pocket mouth over the pocket opening I left at the seam. I overcasted the pocket mouth seam allowances and fastened them to the pocket fabric while doing it.

      • Anna

        Love your skirt !
        And the pockets sound amazing. I’m wondering: doesn’t it add bulge when you stuff the pockets with a purseload worth of stuff ?

      • kk

        It does a bit but remember that the pockets have a lot of width, too. So if you arrange bulkier things side by side they don’t really show. A bulky wallet, a phone, keys and a little package of tissues in one pocket don’t show at all. If you add five oranges, that might be a bit much!

  • Renee Gainer

    I have cut out the pattern and plan to sew this weekend! Thanks, for the information. I do have a question. What sort of petticoat do you wear under it? Did you use a TV pattern? I have several petticoats but they are a bit more 1860’s. Not sure that would work. Thanks!

    • kk

      If your petticoats have a big bustle or crinoline, they won’t work. If you go through my previous posts, you can see the two petticoats I made this year. I wear them both with my walking skirt. Some kind od ruffle at the hem is good as it lifta up the hem. A small bustle pad makes the walking skirt sit nicer at thw back but it is not compulsary. However, I prefer wearing it even when historybounding.

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