It’s time for another update on my plaid walking ensemble! The first post about making this can be read here, and part two is posted here – if you haven’t read them already I would suggest you do so, otherwise this post won’t make much sense!
I’m switching things up a bit and talking about the skirt today. Since the skirt came together pretty quickly i’ve also included the making of a simple silk undershirt, which I will wear with this ensemble.
When I last left off the skirt didn’t look like much. But before doing any assembly I wanted to add closures to the back of the skirt.
To do that I folded the top ten inches of the back seam inward. Then I fused thin strips of interfacing overtop of the raw edge, starting a quarter inch away from the folded edge of the material.
The interfacing didn’t look very nice so I covered it with bias tape which was made from scraps of the plaid material.
I sewed the bias tape in place by hand then stitched six size 1 hooks/eyes on top of the bias tape, near the folded edge. These are each spaced about one and a quarter inches apart.
Once the hooks are done up the back looks relatively smooth.
With the back panels finished I went ahead and did some skirt assembly. The front, side, and back panels were all sewn together with french seams. I ended up redoing part of the left front seam since it was puckering (visible in this photo) but everything else matched up well!
Though I did have a slight problem when sewing the back panels on. For some reason the pattern didn’t match up, so I had to move the back panel down and trim almost two inches off the top edge of the side panel.
I also noticed an awkward “poof” at the side seam near the waist. I fixed this by sewing a dart into that seam, in this photo you can see the dart pinned.
After making the alterations mentioned above I hemmed the front and back panels. I did this with loose whip stitches. I wasn’t concerned about them being very pretty or durable since they will be covered by a facing.
The facing looked like this! This facing probably should have been between six or ten inches wide, I have no idea why I made it this huge, it was kind of unnecessary.
The facing was sewn in with much smaller, prettier, whip stitches.
When that was done I got to try the skirt on!
This was really exciting at the time since I could start to see the silhouette coming together.
I was pretty happy with it. I thought it was a little bit too long but I didn’t have any trouble walking in it when I was on hard wood floors/smooth surfaces so I decided it was fine.
Now that i’ve actually worn this finished skirt on a variety of terrains I can tell you that my first instinct was right, the hem should be taken up by an inch. The length doesn’t look bad, but it definitely drags more than it should.
The next step was making the waistband. I based this design on “corselet waistbands” from the late 1890s/early 1900s. I like these because they bring attention to the waistline, and the pointed back means I can mount the skirt lower which helps make up for how much fabric I had to trim from the top of the side panel!
The waistband is made from the silk fabric used elsewhere on the project and reinforced with a medium weight fusible interfacing.
I ironed all the edges inward by a half inch.
Then pinned thin piping onto the top and bottom edges. I made this piping from knitting wool and bias cut strips of silk (which were offcuts from the pleated panels made for the skirt).
The piping was whip stitched on, then ironed, which left me with a waistband that looks like this!
I gathered the back of the skirt slightly, so the top edge of the skirt matches the size of the waistband.
Then I pinned it onto the skirt. I decided to hide the raw edge of the skirt in the waistband. I usually wouldn’t do this since it adds bulk to the waistline, but since this skirt is quite slim cut there isn’t much bulk in that area.
I sewed the waistband on with two rows of whip stitches. The first goes through the interfaced portion of the waistband and the skirt, and the second attaches the piping to the skirt.
Then I sewed cotton lining into the interior of the waistband to cover all the raw edges.
And the final step was sewing in hooks! I used four size 2 hooks/eyes for this part.
Finished skirt from the front…
And from the back. There is a bit of overlap here, when the skirt is worn and there is tension on the waistband it looks much better!
The skirt was technically done but after working on the jacket I decided to add buttons to each side of the front panel. I used smaller versions of these buttons on the jacket, so I think it ties them together quite well.
I should also mention that I redid the bottom few inches of these seams several times, yet they are still puckered and unfortunate looking. To fix it I would have to give up on matching the pattern at that point, and I don’t want that. So I think it’s something i’ll have to deal with, even though it bothers me!
With the skirt done I could begin work on another piece to wear with this ensemble!
This piece is a bit confusing. It’s supposed to look like a shirtwaist from the front, but is constructed like a corset cover (which usually weren’t meant to be seen). I didn’t want to make a full shirtwaist since they require a lot of material and tend to have full sleeves which add bulk to the shoulder/arms of the garments worn overtop of them. So I made a sleeveless shirtwaist that is intended to be worn underneath something so the back/arms won’t be seen.
I originally made this garment out of a striped shirting (i’ll probably show it in a future Progress Report) but I didn’t like the end result, so I made a new pattern and searched my stash for new fabric. The fabric I settled on isn’t new, and it wasn’t from my stash. I harvested the fabric from this dress. It was a bit sad taking it apart but the dress was held together with E6000, safety pins, straight pins (which I didn’t even know were there), and hot glue, so it was definitely not going to be worn again.
The dress also featured embarrassing hand sewing details like this hem. Look at that top stitching. Wow.
There was just enough ivory silk satin on it to cut out my pattern, plus a two inch wide bias cut strip that will be used as a sash for an 1890’s hat I plan on making soon.
This material is really prone to slipping around. So I cut my pattern out from white muslin first, then used the muslin pieces as a guide for cutting out each piece of silk.
I sewed the pieces of silk to the muslin with the right sides of the fabric facing each other. Once turned the right way out the edges are finished nicely and I don’t have to worry about them fraying in the future.
I left the bottom edge open since it will be finished with bias tape, and the top edge open since it will be lined and covered with a gathered strip of satin.
The front panel was gathered at the waist to add volume to the center front and across the chest.
The edges that touch the neckline were gathered as well.
I did up the side and shoulder seams, then sewed the gathered edges at the neckline to the collar lining.
A strip of bias cut satin was sewn overtop to cover the raw edges. I finished the edges of this strip by hand with a rolled quarter inch hem.
I sewed the fitted portion of the bodice on and finished the bottom edge with double fold bias tape. The bias tape extends beyond the back edge so it can be used as a waist tie to keep the bodice in place.
The entire back edge of this bodice and collar opens with hooks and bars. It takes some flexibility to do up, but I can get it on and off myself which i’m very happy about!
At the center front I attached two shell buttons. These were purchased from the shop “VintageLinens1” on etsy – I got a big package of them for a very reasonable price.
Here it is when worn! I should have made this a bit smaller at the waist (it fits well over this corset, it’s too big for my other one) and made the shoulders a little wider, but overall I really like it. The sheen of this fabric is gorgeous, it has just the right amount of volume in the front, doesn’t add bulk underneath dresses, and I can get it on and off by myself. I’m very pleased.
The final post about making this ensemble will be up next week. Assuming I can get everything edited in time, there should also be photos of the finished ensemble and a costume spotlight video up shortly thereafter.
Thanks for reading!
9 thoughts on “Making an 1890’s Plaid Walking Ensemble, Part Three”
Wow looks amazing! I’m a bit sad you had to cut up your beautiful dress though 😦
I’ve heard that silk satin is easier to cut if you sandwich it between two sheets of paper. I haven’t tried it yet. Hurts your scissors I guess but at least there would be no slipping!
Thank you! It was pretty from a far, but that dress was far from good. The amount of hot glue I had to hack through to take it apart would make you view it in a different light haha!
I’ve heard that too – I guess with tissue paper it would be alright, but it seems so weird to cut out fabric when you can’t see it!
I love your work, and cannot wait to see the final piece.
OMG, it’s absolutely gorgeous! *__*
I love everything about the skirt (the plated part is stunning!) and the blouse!
Your blog is a wonderful source of inspiration and your work never ceases to amaze me. Looking forward to the finished piece and everything else you are working on. Simply amazing! I so admire your attention to detail and your ability to create your patterns and everything from scratch.
I recently embarked on a mission to make a Cinderella style formal dress, and your blog was such a huge help in the process that I don’t think I can thank you enough. I’d never made a bodice with boning, but I got help from your blog; I made the bodice almost entirely with instructions from your blog. I also learned to not hate hand-sewing while making this dress, so that’s something too. 😀 (If you want to see the dress you inspired and helped me create, I posted about it on my blog.)
Using the muslin as a pattern was a great choice. You’re working in good light, so identifying the right/wrong sides is easier, but still really easy to screw up and ONLY notice when you’re taking outdoor photos!
Lovely work! So happy to have found your blog and instagram.
I’ve had that happen with taffeta before! It’s the worst. Luckily the silk satin is pretty easy to tell, even just going by feel the matte/shiny sides are very different. I think the plaid material was harder to tell with, the pattern is slightly fuzzier on one side but looks almost identical. I was constantly second guessing myself when cutting pieces out!
so nice dress of yours..
On 3/19/16, Angela Claytons Costumery & Creations
Angela, do you think you can make a pattern for that too? I love following your work (you’re one of my 4 online inspirations).