Edwardian Walking Skirt Made From 2 Yards of Fabric | Simplicity 4078
I finally had a proper outing of my silk Edwardian shirtwaist, combined with this silk belt I made several years ago and a skirt I started last year and finished this weekend for a tea party at a local historical house museum.
I desperately needed a black skirt to go with the shirtwaist, and something simple enough that I could wear with future pieces. I had purchased 2 yards of this 60" wide black cotton faille suiting fabric ($5.20/yard, by Halston) from Fabric Mart Fabrics a few years ago with exactly a walking skirt project in mind!
I used Simplicity 4078 as the starting point for this walking skirt - Simplicity 4078 includes a 5-gore skirt with a lovely hint of a train. This Big 4 pattern has surprisingly accurate drafting for the 1890s, even though the finishing methods are modern and better suited to theater. This pattern was designed by Andrea Schewe (check out her blog for a peek into the pattern making process!); I find that her designs tend to be among the better Big 4 costume patterns!
I cross-checked the shaping of the skirt panels with some examples from Patterns of Fashion, and to accommodate my size and fabric limitations, I reduced the flair at the bottom of the skirt panels slightly and shortened each panel by about an inch.
Working with only 2 yards of fabric was a fun challenge. The corded detail ran selvedge to selvedge, so I placed my skirt pieces on the cross grain for better drape. The back skirt panels needed to be gored so that I could fit everything onto the fabric.
First, that back panel gore was attached and then the seam allowances were whipped down to keep those back panels flat. Next, I flatlined each panel with white cotton sateen, also from Fabric Mart Fabrics. Some of the flatlining pieces were also gored to make the most out of my yardage.
The panels were seamed together and then the seam allowances were sewn down with whip stitches. This cotton faille is quite "springy" and frays, but flat felled seams would've been too bulky.
The hem was finished off with a 6" wide bias facing in red cotton. It's a bold choice, but the best choice from my fabric stash 🤣
This skirt was also my first time successfully drafting and sewing on a placket!
Simplicity 4078 calls for gathering at the center back, but I went for a neater finish with 2 3" deep knife pleats on each side of the center back.
The waistband was made from plain black cotton fabric cut on the straight grain - many original Edwardian skirts have plain cotton waistbands, some even in contrasting colors! The waistband was faced with a length of 5/8" wide black Petersham ribbon to provide stability and hopefully some "grip" against my silk shirtwaist, to help it stay tucked in.
The waistband fastens with 2 sets of pant/skirt hooks and bars. The placket closes with 2 snaps.
Total cost: about $31
Cotton faille: 2 yards @ $5.20
Cotton sateen: 2 yards @ $6
Red cotton: 1 yard @ $8
Pattern: gifted, but retails for $20-30
Hooks, eyes, and snaps