First, the silver skirt. I did some calculating, and cut a half ‘circle’ grading the radius from a side seam measurement of 45″ to a CB of 47″. Ish. I cut out a waist line half circle of radius 5″. This gave me side seams 40″ long, and a back waist of approximately 17-18″.
The front panel was just a rectangle 24″ wide and 40″ long.
Done! I don’t call that drafting by the way, it’s too easy! The shape is historically accurate, and I could even have adapted the ‘pattern’ to cut it in one piece, or used gores to exaggerate the sweep of the back. I’ve opted to keep it without a train, as I plan to make a detachable one, also period accurate as well as practical. They knew how to make one ‘dress’ go a long way back then!
For those of you not into historical costume, here’s a useful guide.
The look I’m going for in this one is probably closest to the middle row, right hand silhouette, 1870s.
Quite a long lean bodice, low square neckline, drapes pleats and ruffled trim. Mine has short sleeves though, why not?
So, a pleated hem. This gives decoration, and helps to define the shape of the skirt, avoiding the need for too many under-layers [I hope]. I took a closer look at the pattern piece for my rejected Simplicity 2172 skirt. Remember this?
The pattern pieces showed dotted lines 2″ and 1″ apart, alternately, on the frill. The length came in at three times the skirt hem length [duh, of course with those pleat widths. It’s about 8″ deep.
Now I’m a numbers geek, so I’m sticking with the 3:1 pleat ratio, and cutting the frill 9″ deep [ 3 squared, MATHS ROCKS!] The bottom edge of the frill will be hemmed, the top could be hemmed, folded under, or pinked. I haven’t decided. I also haven’t decided if I will underline the whole skirt including the frills, or use the toile as a petticoat. Or I could underline the skirt and not the frill. What do you think?
Calculations, calculations. ROUGHLY measuring the skirt hem width/circumference, I got 172″. Multiply by 3, allow for some increase when the bias drops, and I’m working on 525″ frill length. About 14.5 yds. Sigh.
I followed these fab instructions to make a pleating board, and only messed it up a bit. OK, the back is a godawful mess, as I forgot just how strong my spray adhesive is, and everything went pear shaped. Not showing you, it’s that bad! I pleated one strip, just to see if it works, and if I like the effect. Turns out I do, that’s good.
More calculating for yardage, as I didn’t want to start cutting then realise that I need more of a fabric I bought two years ago… It’s 60″ wide, so after a couple of false starts, I ended up with this scrawl [I’m a mathematician, I ain’t tidy lol]
This layout gets the whole caboodle out of 5yds, and I have 5m. Enough for some teeny frills to go on the bodice, woohoo!
Sewing time- 2 straight seams, a bit of tape to roughly corsetted waist measurement, two little pleats either side of CF, skirt done. Baste a length of frill to the front, and job’s a good ‘un.
And here it is- no alterations necessary. I’ll leave the side seam open about 8″, and put a placket and a few hooks or press studs to close it.
Nothing to change, I’m even happy with the length. I can concentrate on cutting out and maybe do some pleating in preparation for the sewing to start. This skirt will be my ‘Historical Sewing Monthly’ February challenge, ‘Tucks and pleating’, which means I can sew it in January. Fits perfectly with SWAP rules, all good. On to the bodice..
I actually think that it’s quite a wearable style if you’re going to an evening do. I remember that many years ago I convinced a bride to let me make the skirt of her dress this shape… Would you wear a ‘historical’ style?