Once the blouse was complete, I moved on to the skirt. I knew what kind of style I wanted to go for: a simple skirt, fitted around the waist and hips, but pleated at the back. I believe this style is called the fan skirt. The skirt is gored and made up of seven panels.
For the skirt, I found a pattern in The Voice of Fashion.
I’m very impatient with skirts and so I rarely ever make a paper pattern for them. I drafted the front panel onto a scrap of old fabric just to see how it would hang.
I liked the look of it, so I went ahead and drafted the pattern directly onto the wool for the skirt.
I cut these pieces out and sewed them together with french seams.
I left a 10” gap at the CB seam, as the skirt closure.
Then I finished this gap by ironing half an inch inwards, and setting it down with a strip of interfacing.
Then I cut two rectangles to finish over top the interfacing, both to hide the ugly interfacing and for stability. I whipstitched them down.
I pleated the back panels and side back panels to fit my waist measurement. They form one big box pleat, sort of.
I secured the pleats down by sewing them by machine.
To pair with this skirt, instead of just finishing the skirt with a waistband, I wanted to try making an Edwardian style belt. I felt these were very iconic for the period and they were common in the illustrations in The Voice of Fashion. To do this, I simply designed a pattern with the measurements to match my waist. I cut this out of the wool.
I hadn’t really thought through the construction of the belt, so I ended up doing a log of fiddly things that were very time consuming. I’m sure there’s a more streamlined way to do it, but here is how I did mine. I turned all the edges inwards by half an inch, clipping the seams and sewing them down by hand.
Then I backed it with interfacing, which covered the raw edges. I ironed it all flat and it looked really nice and crisp.
I also made some piping to go around the belt edges to add more dimension. I go over better detail about how I made piping on my post Making an 1860s ballgown: the bodice. The main difference here was that I was out of cord, so I used some thicker wool I had laying around.
I sewed it down to the belt by hand. By this point, I couldn’t be bothered with lining it but I really wish I had.
I pinned it onto the skirt and stitched it on by hand.
I added hooks and eyes to the back of the belt and the gap in the skirt, as closure.
The only thing left to do on the skirt was to hem it! I decided to try hemming it with a facing for the first time. This basically meant I had to cut huge bias strips out of the wool.
I sewed the strips together, ironed the seams and pinned it onto the skirt edge, right sides together.
I sewed this on my machine with a one inch seam allowance, then turned it the right way around. I ironed this in place, rolling the edge so that facing was hidden.
Then I turned the raw edge under by about half inch, and pinned it down. I sewed it by hand with a herringbone stitch.
And the skirt was done!
I thought this wouldn’t be a proper Edwardian (even if early) without a hat. I’ve been really interested in hats and headpieces, but I’d only made crowns before. I was really excited to get started on a hat. My materials consisted of heavy weight interfacing, the wine coloured wool from the skirt and the silk from the blouse. I also used millinery wire and feathers, bought at Petershams.
I started by looking at research online and in books. Then I drafted a pattern.
I was pleased with the dramatic shape, and cut it out of the interfacing. I don’t think this interfacing is as strong as it could be, something more structured would have held the wide brim better. The next step was to add the millinery wire as support.
Then I realised that the shape was wrong. The connecting bit between the wide brim and the top of the hat couldn’t just be straight for the shape I wanted, it needed to be curved.
I added millinery wire to the edge of the brim, first my hand. However because the interfacing wasn’t stiff enough, I added another layer of wire at the middle of the hat, and a second run around the brim. At this point, I realised this wasn’t too bad by machine, using a large zig zag stitch, but it was very difficult to control, which is why the inner layer is so poorly positioned (but it did the job).
This is what all my pieces looked like:
Then it was just a matter of covering the pieces with the wool and then attaching them.
Then I seamed the long edge together and attached it to the top bit (super professional names).
I covered the brim with fabric.
Then I attached the other… bit, using extra strong thread.
The last thing left to do was make the lining. I wanted it to be ALL RUFFLES because I love ruffles. So I cut long strips out of the silk I used for the blouse, and gathered them down the top and bottom edge.
I sewed it down by hand.
However it ended up being a little short, so I covered the gap with some satin ribbon.
And the hat was done! All that was missing were the trimmings. I had some fake flowers from the Christmas section and some feathers from Petersham.
The ensemble was done. I wore it out that weekend (it was so windy) and took some photos. This was my last project in 2017 (I managed to squeeze in the photos on the 30th of December). I’m pretty happy with the general look of it.
Thanks for reading!