A Victorian side-button cycling skirt
I have been wearing my cycling bloomers a lot but I really wanted a skirt to go on top of them. So, I found this lovely green linen at Materials Helsinki and decided to use it to make skirt, once again using the free patterns provided at Bikes & Bloomers.
The pattern came in size 12. I was a bit confused with the pattern pieces as both the centre front and centre back had seams at the middle. However, the pictures of the finished skirt didn’t show a seam at the centre front. Because the grain line didn’t go along the centre back seam, I figured out that the centre back had the seam. But should I remove the added seam allowance at the centre front? I finally removed it but I think I should have left it at place and just treat the edge as a normal “cut-on-fold” edge.
The skirt was supposed to be lined. I think that during the period the lining would have been either cotton or perhaps silk. As I thought the cotton might cause too much friction, I went for regular acetate lining fabric that I had in storage.
Sewing the cycling skirt
The instructions were minimal so there was a lot of thinking involved. Here is a short list of sewing steps I used. I wrote these from my memory, so there might be some little mistakes.
- Sew the centre back seam for the lining and the upper. Press open.
- Spread the lining pieces out and cover them with corresponding skirt pieces. Stay-stitch the waist edge.
- Add the buttoning bands and pin all the layers together. Sew the buttoning bands together with the skirt pieces and the lining. Press the seam allowances open. Press the edge of the buttoning band under and press the buttoning bands to the wrong side of the skirt.
- Slip stitch the buttoning bands to the lining so that the stitches don’t show on the right side. Leave the bottom 12 cm or so open for now.
- Pin the left sides of the back and front together so that the buttoning bands overlap. The front goes on top. Baste the join.
- Sew the waistband edge to the skirt. Sew the ends of the waistband.
- Slipstitch the remaining edge of the waistband to the wrong side.
- Pin together the buttoning bands. Let the skirt hang overnight.
- Even out the hem. Sew on the hem facings. Turn the facing to the wrong side and slip stitch the edge of the facing to the lining. Tuck the facing ends under the buttoning bands and finish the part of the buttoning bands still open.
- Mark the position of the buttonholes. Make the buttonholes
- Poke through the buttonholes with a chalk pen or something similar to mark the positions for the buttons. Sew on the buttons. I added an extra button to the right-hand-side of the waistband.
- Make the straps. Mark the buttonhole positions to the straps. I adjusted the buttonhole positions so that the straps can be buttoned to the skirt also when they are not in active use. I also added some extra buttons and buttonholes to achieve this.
Here is the finished skirt from the right side:
Trying it on
I think that this skirt might even look modern if combined with a modern top. However, I paired it up with my Victorian shirtwaist and a wool jacket. The jacket could be more Victorian but I for the time being this is the closest one I’ve got.
I mentioned the straps but I didn’t show them. Here you can see the straps. The straps button to the waistband and can be attached to the buttons at the side.
The skirt has a total of 24 buttons. You can see that there are some wider gaps between buttons that correspond to the original spacing of the buttons. After using 24, I run out of buttons. If I come across more of this type of buttons, I may add the four that the skirt is missing.
When you wan to go cycling, you take out the straps and use them to gather up the skirt.
Underneath the cycling skirt I still wear my bloomers and my long boots. Anyway, with the skirt all gathered up, I am ready to go:
One button came loose but it didn’t really matter. I may have to tighten the buttonhole in question with a couple of stitches.
I also found out that the straps work nicely to lift up the cycling skirt for hiking! Of course, when walking, I do not need to lift up the skirt as much, only a little bit. I tested this configuration by taking a small walk in the forest and climbing some rocky hills. It was practically like wearing trousers.
After my walk, I took some time to make my bicycle ready for longer rides by filling the tires. Now I can start the cycling season in style!
Thank you for reading and see you soon! Happy sewing!
This is a fabulous looking skirt, especially with the straps in use. The drape of the material looks amazing. As you say it would look very modern with a different top. I may have a go at this for my daughter, it seems to be just her style. Thank you for showing us.
I really like this cycling skirt. You are such a good seamstress!
Thank you so much!
What kind of bicycle do you have? It’s neat!
It’s Electra Loft. I think it’s an American brand. I like the vintage feel in the design. The only con is that it didn’t have a foot brake that I was accustomed to. I’ve had it about two years now.