Back in the summer I made a simple bustle skirt skirt using this tutorial from the costume trunk. My goal wasn’t a historically accurate skirt, but rather something that would look suitable steampunky to hang out with some Time Travelling Molly Dancing Automata. I liked the look of this one as it didn’t require complicated undergarments.
I used some cotton material that I have no idea how it got into my stash. It was white, and I wanted khaki, so I went to buy khaki dye. The shop didn’t have any, they recommended green. I thought I saw khaki, but it turned out to be grey. So I bought both and used half of each. The fabric turned out a nice shade of greyey green (quelle surprise) that wasn’t quite what I had in mind but I thought it would do. My mum quickly pointed out that I should have mixed brown and green, but in my defense the shop staff didn’t think of that either and they’re pretty knowlegable on many things.
Anyway, the skirt made up pretty easily. The only thing I found frustrating about the tutorial was the lack of dimensions. So, for the record, as far as I can tell from my scibbled notes at the time, my 3 shaped skirt panels were 12″ wide at the top (width 1 on the tutorial diagram) and 19″ wide at the bottom (width 3 on the diagram) and 40″deep (which is not quite length 2 from the diagram, but rather the height of the pattern piece) (oh I’m 5’8″ by the way and this skirt came out long). These measurements include a seam allowance of 1/2″ on the side seams and 1″ hem allowance at the top and bottom. My bustly panel for the back was 42″ wide and 78″ long. I sewed it straight to the side panels for 12″ at the bottom and 5″ at the top and had folds in the middle. It was basically the size of the fabric I had left (I used pretty much all of it) and it worked out just fine). The other change I made was to use a waistband nicked of a deceased garment I’d already cut up for scraps.
Pinning the folds was nervewracking and lastminute. In the end I got hubby to do it in the street with safety pins. The result looked like this.
And it worked well. And then it languished in the bottom of my overflowing washing basket for 6 months as I was worried the dye would run if I put it in with anything. And then my timeline was scheduled to cross paths with the Automata again, so I got it out, removed the safety pins, washed it and then with a little help from my trusty assistant, I dip dyed it with some brown dye
Obviously for such a technical and potentially interesting task I needed supervising. Well, until it came to the bit where you had to go and poke a bit more skirt into the dye pot at 15 minute intervals, then he was seduced by screens and lost interest.
The result is a little coppery, (I think the dye was a terracotta brown) and not unreminiscent of someone who’s spent a long time walking through mud, but these things work for me. I’m not sure that any of the skirt is actually the khaki coloured I intended, but the Automata, though once immaculate, have been sullied by their adventures in time and are now a pretty rag tag bunch so it fits in just fine.
The photo’s are action shots of the dancing really, but I think you can spot the skirt ok.
Oh, and its still held together by safety pins.
Thanks Gerard for the use of the photo’s.
Anyway, this muslin is now officially done and I have started making making the real deal…