Monday, August 30, 2010

Mystery Monday 7: The Skirt

 Every Monday, I take a look at a Victorian jacket and skirt and learn a little more about it.  See previous Mystery Mondays here: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6

Here's a drawing of the skirt and a few corresponding notes after the jump...

The Skirt

I'm still not sure that the skirt and jacket are from the same outfit for three main reasons:
1: The jacket clearly was made to fit over a bustle, while the skirt is very straight around the hips.
2: While the jacket was finished by hand in places, the skirt seems to be entirely machine-stitched.
3: The waist of the skirt is several inches smaller than the waist of the jacket.

Neither of these things are "deal-breakers" for me yet... I could be looking at a petticoat (and the wear around the waistband is actually friction from some bustle contraption?) and the discrepancy between waist sizes is from the bulk of layers that would have been worn between the two pieces.  So... more research is necessary.  Any other theories or ideas that I might be overlooking?

And before I get to the good stuff (notes under the jump!!) an announcement: Mystery Monday is now a monthly feature on the last Monday of the month.  I'd like to focus on researching more thoroughly and presenting more information, and it gets hectic on a weekly schedule.


1. The waist is 19.5", and shows signs of strain. Either someone with a slightly larger waist wore the skirt, or the sheer weight of the thing (it's heavy!) pulled the waistband out.
2. The waistline is bound with 1/2" black tape.
3. The pleats are sewn down about 9" from the top of the waistband.
4. It's closed with commercially-made hook and eye tape.
5. The skirt is composed of sixteen separate panels that have been stitched together in a way that also creates pleats.
6. The bottom hem width is a whopping 140"!
7. There are three tiers of decoration:
Bottom- 4 rows of 1/2" ribbon, sewn in only on the top edge
Middle- 7 smaller horizontal pleats
Top- 3 rows of the same kind of 1/2" ribbon.  It feels papery and is discolored in places.
8. The skirt is about 40" long.
9. The pleats and panels are engineered to stay relatively straight through the hips and then flare out.  The back of the skirt is designed to have more fullness than the front.
10. The skirt was made and finished by machine-- the inside seams are finished by binding with narrow tape.