New York Fashions - Spring Skirts and Tailored Costumes From Harpers Bazar, March1892


London Tailor Gowns

English tailors are again making a praiseworthy protest against long skirts - "scavenger skirts", they call them - for street dresses to be worn in spring. The skirt they commend escapes the ground, but is made as long as is possible without touching. It is also fuller than the present scant skirt, the seams in the back and of the front gore being less sloped toward the top.

The Seamless Skirt

A novelty which promises to rival seamless waists is the seamless skirt, which retains the popular bias back and straight front. It is used, however, with London tailor gowns that have coat waists fitted by darts and side-forms. The material for this skirt must be forty-five inches wide, as the width makes the length of the skirt, the selvages being at top and bottom. The bias back (without a seam) is given by turning one upper corner down to the foot on the left side, making a triangular half-handkerchief shape; the other straight end is carried around the right side to form the front, and coming back on the left side meets the selvage edge of the triangular back and is lapped upon it, and buttoned down its entire length. The top is curved out and fitted to the figure by darts or gathers in front and on the sides, and the point at the top of the back is also cut off to give greater fulness. The lower edge is shaped to suit the wearer after the skirt is fitted at the top. The flaring folds of the back are very effective and the buttons far back on the left side may be made very decorative. Plain fabrics and stripes are both used for these skirts. They are lined throughout with silk or alpaca, and there is no foundation skirt. A spring gown from London made with seamless skirt is of rough-surface gray wool flecked with white and black. The waist is bluntly pointed in front and double breasted with coat-tail back. The front, fitted by two darts each side has a lap to the left sewed on in the middle seam from the high standing collar to the pointed end. This lap is narrow below, and is buttoned by small crocheted silk buttons up the first dart, then widens rapidly up to the left shoulder, the widened parts being cut either in two or three sharp points, each having a button-hole to meet a large crocheted button on the waist. The collar band is high, close and bias. On the sides the waist curves slightly to descend in the back in two narrow coat tails lined with silk, and lapped toward the left. One or two rows of stitching finish all the edges. The sleeves are of large coat shape, trimmed at the wrists with two points holding buttons of the largest size on the waist. The seamless skirt is lined throughout with gray silk taffeta and has a pinked balayeuse of taffeta. It is lapped far toward the back of the left side on a "fly" band added to the back part of the skirt. The lap is stitched near the edge and again three inches from the edge; in the space between are large button-holes to meet buttons set on the "fly". The foot is bordered with a bias fold of material eight inches wide, attached by two rows of stitching at the top.

With Jacket and Blouse

Other spring suits imported from England have a jacket and skirt of homespun wool, with a blouse or seamless waist of surah or other silk. Thus a skirt of brown and white homespun is worn in the house with a waist of dark brown satin surah made over a whaleboned lining. The surah is lapped in pleats in the back, showing no seams; the fronts are drawn down without darts to leave a V-shaped space for a plastron of very wide hercules braid embroidered with brown silk and jet beads. A short frill like a vertugadin puff of the surah is below the waist, giving breadth to the hips. A belt of the embroidered braid four inches wide is shaped to curve around the waist above the frill or puff. A collar band and the wristbands of the full sleeves are also of braid. For the street a jacket is added of the wool of the skirt lined with surah like that of the blouse. This is of a new shape, with round waist, the skirt sewed on along the belt line and the back having a box pleat down the middle, as flat as a Norfolk pleat instead of in a flowing Watteau fold. The fronts do not meet to fasten and are turned back at the top in a revers collar. The coat skirt is of even length all around and about fourteen inches deep. The edges are simply stitched. This model will serve for street suits and for travelling dresses throughout the spring and summer, and is commended to correspondents who have asked details of such suits.

The Russian Skirt

A new device of the dressmakers gives the effect of a long Russian blouse and is what was formerly called a double skirt. It is simply a bell skirt lining covered with the dress material up above the knees (from hem up) and bordered at the foot with a ruche. Overlapping this from the belt down is a shorter skirt of the material, shaped precisely like the lining and bordered with a ruche like that of the foot. This upper skirt represents the lower part of the long Russian blouse, and is worn with a round waist with edges extending over the top of the skirt and concealing the join. It is extremely pretty when made of black India silk, with a ruche of box-pleated Brussels net or of velvet ribbon bordering the skirts.

Trimmed Skirts

Those who are tired of plain skirts may like the jabot skirt, which is made on a bell-shaped lining. The outer material is not sloped away at the top of the back seam, but is arranged to fall in a jabot down the bias seam of the lining. There are also Watteau skirts made with a broad triple pleat in the back, flaring widely at the foot and extending longer than the skirt at the top; this upper part gradually narrows to a point and is carried half-way up the back of the corsage, and attached there under a bow of ribbon or a passementerie ornament. Wider trimmings are being used on bell skirts, and new models have greater fulness at the top.....

Silk Serge Tailor Gowns etc.

Black silk serge too firmly woven to fray in the seams is being made up in tailor gowns for spring. It is liked in severely plain styles, entirely without trimming, with all edges finished with stitching. Another feature is the use of India silks that are now sold at low prices - from 50 cents to 75 cents - for simple dresses to be worn in the morning in the summer instead of zephyrs, ginghams and other cottons of fine quality. It is claimed that cottons lose their freshness sooner than silks and seldom look well after having been washed. This does not, however, apply to the dainty lawns, dimity and organdies that commend themselves by their thinness as silks can never do.....

For information received thanks are due to Madame Barnes; and Messrs. Redfern; Arnold, Constable & Co.; B. Altman & Co.; and Wright Brothers & Co.

For further information, please see our article THE NEW WOMAN - Fashion in the 1890s.

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