Skirts are decidedly fuller this season, that is, they are wider round the foot. The most approved skirt, and one that is suitable for almost all materials, is made with two gores at each side, one piece in front and two sloped pieces for the back; it fits plainly in front and over the hips, is slightly full at the waist behind and gradually falls into graceful flutes at the back of the foot.


Front & Side Front

Back & Side Back



This pattern contains no seam allowances or facings.

In Figs. 2-5 we give diagrams showing how to place the separate parts on the material.

The skirt of which we give the diagram measures 4 yards round the foot; and of ordinary home or walking-dresses it is the most comfortable width. This pattern is cut, with the least possible waste, from materials 44 inches wide, as each gore takes half the width of the material. The generality of tweeds, serges, hopsacks and crepons are 44 inches wide, therefore we will describe the making up of the skirt in material of that width. As will be seen from the diagram No.2, the straight part of the front piece is placed to the fold of the material to avoid a join down the front. The straight parts of the two gores and the back are put to the selvedge, leaving the material folded; you can in this way cut out the two corresponding pieces at once.

After having cut out the material, cut out the lining in the same way. Now there are two ways of putting in the lining; the simplest way for an amateur is to tack each piece of lining to the corresponding piece of material. This must be done flat on a table, so that both may lie perfectly smooth without creases; next tack the different parts together. Before sewing the seams, or cutting the darts in the front, try on the skirt to see if it fits well in the front; for slight figures [or modern ones with thicker waists] the darts will only need to be taken up quite small and should be gradually tapered off. Some very slight figures will need but one dart on each side.

Any alteration necessary in the length of skirt must be made from the foot. The different parts must be cut exactly like the pattern at the top and must be joined up level at the waist. In joining the parts, always commence at the waist.

The second method of lining is to join the lining and material up separately; then place the seams of lining inside; tack both together at the waist and foot; mount into the waistband and bind up the foot of both material and lining together. When you have ascertained that the skirt sets properly, machine the seams and darts, cut open the darts, open both seams and darts and press with ahot iron.

The opening or placket hole is generally left in the back seam; leave about 10 inches of seam unjoined. To the left-hand side sew on a strip 4 inches wide at the right side, fold it over and hem down on the wrong side; turn in the lower edge and sew it, the press with a hot iron. The right-hand side should be turned over with a piece of material 2 inches wide; turn the skirt on the wrong side and sew the lower edge of the flaps already on the left side, to the lining. Make the waistband, cutting it long enough to wrap over 2 inches; sew on the hooks and eyes. Webbing can be bought with one edge double; when this is used, the top of the skirt is placed between the two pieces of webbing which is sewn at the front and back. When single webbing is used, place the edge of the skirt about inch over the edge; sew it firmly, then over the edge of the skirt sew a piece of sarcenet ribbon, hemming it at both sides. This is the best plan of finishing a skirt that is to be worn with band, bodice or blouse.

Another plan of finishing the waist is to pipe it; this is especially good for stout figures. Gather or pleat the skirt up at the back to the size of the waist, cut a piece of silk or sateen 2 inches wide on the cross, put a piece of cotton cord in the centre, turn the edge over; hold the skirt right side towards you, place this binding on with the cord down about half an inch from the edge, stitch along close to the cord. Turn the skirt wrong side toward you, turn up the edge of the cording and hem neatly; sew on hooks and eyes so that the skirt wraps from over 2 to 3 inches.

Now, if possible, put the skirt on a stand and let it remain at least a day, stroking it down from the waist occasionally with the hand; as if the material is inclined to drop, which is sometimes the case, it is better to give it the opportunity of doing this a little before turning up the foot.

In Paris many of the best dressmakers are not putting any stiffening in the skirts, they merely turn up the skirts with a piece of the material. But in some of the first houses in London stiffening is used. This stiffening generally consists of French canvas, stiff checked muslin, Caledonina or Victoria lawn. Put the skirt, if possible, on the wearer and turn it up round the foot to the eaxct length and pin it, being careful that it does not dip at the back, as nothing looks worse than a skirt short in front and long behind; a well-made fashionable walking-skirt appears the same length all round. Run a tacking line along the folded edge so that the sitches show on bot sides, remove the pins and place the skirt on a table. The stiffening must be cut about 7 inches deep. The strip for the front may be cut straight across the material, but that for the side must be cut exactly to the shape of the bottom and 7 inches deep. This is to prevent any neccissity for pleats to make the stiffening fit, as that would spoil the set of the skirt. The edges of the stiffening should be laid one over the other and joined flat. The edge of the stiffening must be placed to the tacking line, and the edge of the skirt turned up over the stiffening and tacked to it. Cut off the superfluous material, leaving about inch for turnings, which are tacked to the stiffening.

The material for lining up is cut in the same way as the stiffening. It is turned up at both edges and hemmed to the inside of the skirt. Braid of the same colour as the material is the next thing to be sewn in. It is folded double, and is hemmed to the inside of the skirt so that it stands out just below the edge. A very excellent cording for the foot of dresses is sold by most drapers. It consists of a narrow braid with a small strong cord at the edge. This is sewn just inside the foot of the skirt, the cord just showing at the edge.

A silk frill or double ruche, of the same colour as the material, is a great improvement. This should be about 4 to 5 inches wide and is sewn to the lining so that the edge lies just above the edge of the skirt.

The pocket may either be sewn in the seam joining the second gore to the back, or in the back seam; the former we consider preferable. It should be made of the lining and should be lined down 5 inches with the material.

We give a diagram of the best style of pocket in Fig. 6, for which cut two pieces of lining the shape of the diagram and join round; the hole in the upper piece is sewn to the opening in the seam. The top of the pocket may either be cut long enough to sew to the waistband, or it may be attached to the waistband by a loop of ribbon from each of the upper corners. Loops of sarcenet ribbon should be sewn to the lower part of the waistband at each side, by which to hang the skirt up.

In order to make the flutes of the skirt keep in position, a piece of elastic inch wide should be placed inside the skirt, just below the placket-hole, and the flutes sewn in position to it.

Young Ladies' Journal, 1895

Copyright Ladies Treasury 2002

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