As I’m preparing for the GBACG’s Tissot Picnic, I needed to make at least one underskirt.  I will be making two, but I wanted to share the “How” of skirt making (for me).  I usually employ the 18th century technique of altering the already hemmed skirt at the waist.  For this skirt I used two 60″ panels that are 36 inches in length.  After building the “tube” of the skirt by sewing the selvages together, I created an opening in the CB which will allow me to put it on.  For the ruffles, I cut out 6-60 inch long 6 inch tall strips and hemmed top and bottom to 5 inches.  Then I pleated the fabric and tacked it on the machine.  I then steamed the pleats down (using a vinegar water spray and let it sit overnight.  While this was cooling, I wrapped the “hem” end of the linen in the bias tape.  This will give me a fun little touch on the inside.  I then pinned the ruffle to the hem of the skirt and draped it on Prof. Sprout to get the waist sorted out.

As you can see above, I raise the fabric at the front so it sits the same distance from the floor (about 3″ for this skirt).  For me this means employing a helper to slide a ruler around telling me where to raise and lower the waist. Then I pin the waistband to the skirt and take it off my form to sew.  For me this works well as my dress form is withing an inch of my height so this hem should sit about 3 inches off the floor when I wear it.  Also, I know it looks weird, but I designed this to sit just below my corseted waist as I don’t want to add a lot of bulk there.

Below is the finished skirt!  I like it enough that I may wear it to work or a party some day.


Fabric: Yellow Linen (or linen blend)
Pattern: none
Year: Bustle Era
Notions: hook and bar for closure and calico bias tape to enclose hem where the pleated ruffle is attached.
How historically accurate is it? I used stash fabric so content in unreliable (most is from the 1980’s and 90’s).  The pattern is draped on Prof. Sprout (my dress form).
Hours to complete:4 hours (I had trouble setting the ruffles the way I liked)
First worn: not yet, for Tissot Picnic
Total cost: <$3 for thread (go figure, I didn’t have a lot of yellow) Everything else is from my stash.