Category Archives: skirt

HSF #14 – The Bobby Soxer Plaid Skirt

My contributions to the Historical Sew Fortnightly are sporadic at best. This summer has been much busier than I originally intended. Which means I did a lot of awesome things but not as much sewing as I wanted. And what sewing did get done, wasn’t faithfully blogged about. School starts back in a few weeks, which may slow down the sewing but improve the blogging.

I still need pictures for Challenge 13 and a non challenge sewing project, but they’re coming I promise.

For now, I’ve got Challenge 14 photographed and ready to be posted.

I mentioned a while ago that I had gotten some amazing fabric for cheap at a local thrift store. Now you finally get to see some of it. One of the fabric lengths was a 33″ x 1.7 yd piece of black and white plaid. I paid $2 for it, so technically it could also count for the Under $10 Challenge. However I actually made a dress specifically for that challenge with another $2 thrift store fabric purchase.

I had a cute vintage pattern in my collection that I bought at the same thrift store for $0.50. As you can clearly see from the oxfords this was designed to appeal to the young bobby soxer, a term that started to circulate in the early 1940s. Perhaps even the beginner sewer who was trying to prepare her wardrobe for her college days. The pattern also features the option for a “slide fastener” with no directions or snaps and hooks with very detailed instructions. Clearly the pattern maker wasn’t completely on board with the whole zipper thing yet. There is an ebay guide to helping date Simplicity patterns that match up with my guessed dating.


The only problem was that it was a pattern that was 7″ too small in the waist. That and the fact that the original pattern didn’t have any fabric measurements listed on the envelope for if you only wanted to make the skirt. The closest I could get was the jacket and the skirt together, which for the pattern size (the too small one) required about 3.5 yds of fabric. But being the daring and adventurous person that I am, I decided, what the heck. I’ll start cutting and see what happens. As I cut, I added 0.6″ to each seam, crossing my fingers that my math skills were accurate.

I lucked out and I had just enough fabric to squeeze out a skirt. This is how much fabric I had left over after I was done.

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I originally wanted to do pattern matching so that my skirt looked more like some of the ones I found online.

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I especially loved the inverted V skirts. But I comforted myself that there were skirts that had plaids on the straight and more restrained pleats.304761c215e0896ae71bbbeca28582dc


Here’s my version. I almost had enough to get inverted pleats going, but if it was going to actually fit my body, I had to let it go.

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The only change I made to the original pattern was that I didn’t follow the instructions on how to construct the waistband, because honestly it didn’t really make sense. I debated how I wanted to sew it and decided I liked how it looked with black bias tape.

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The Challenge: Paisley and Plaid

Fabric: Black and white plaid of mystery fiber content, but based on the itchiness of the fabric there’s at least some wool in it.

Pattern: Simplicity Printed Pattern 1740

Year: 1944ish

Notions: black thread, black bias tape, a green zipper, 2 hooks and eyes, and one snap

How historically accurate is it? The zipper is plastic so that takes some out, but I’d say 80%.

Hours to complete: 13 hours?

First worn: For pictures, it’s still reaching up into the 100s here in sunny Florida, so a skirt with wool in it just isn’t something I can wear practically right now. But it will certainly get wear come fall/winter.

Total cost: $2 for fabric, $2 for a zipper, and I already had snaps, hooks and eyes, and thread.

HSF #10 – The Rose Red Upholstery Skirt

I managed to almost make this challenge on time. Much closer at least.

I’ll confess that the art part of this challenge was difficult for me. I very much twisted this challenge to suit my needs. So I found a few paintings that more or less correspond to my project. To be quite honest, I’m ready to move on. To start on some fun summery dresses and things I can wear in my real life.

There’s the painting that I referenced in my last post. This and the following one are more or less is about the bodice and shirt.



rose red inspiration2


I used this picture to help me decide where to put the hem of the skirt.


rose red inspiration

Look at that red! It’s so close to my chosen fabric.

rose red inspiration4

Besides the super heavy (a.k.a. difficult) upholstery fabric I used, this was a pretty basic skirt. I followed the pattern pieces exactly, didn’t use interfacing, and used hooks instead of a zipper. The waistband proved unwieldy going through my sewing machine (the three layers of upholstery fabric almost didn’t fit under the presser foot) so I’ve definitely sewn straighter lines before. Otherwise it went together quickly and easily.

With only a week left of the school year, things have been busy. A school dance, field trips, project grading, a talent show, end of the year grades, and Florida Folk Festival all conspired to delay any sewing projects.

The finished project with everything put together.



From the front I look a bit thick waisted, mostly because I once again made something that laces so that it meets in the middle. And then lost weight.

The Challenge: Art

Fabric: dark red upholstery fabric, there’s most certainly unnatural fiber content

Pattern: Simplicity 3809

Year: 1500ish

Notions: size three hooks and eyes, red heavy duty thread

How historically accurate is it? The skirt follows the rest of this outfit, which means not very.

Hours to complete: About 5?

First worn: For pictures today, but I plan on wearing for real at the next Renaissance Faire.

Total cost: The fabric cost me about $40, the thread about $3, and the hooks came from the stash.

The Mama Africa Hippie Skirt

I haven’t had a chance post about this skirt yet. I made it last weekend for the best music festival in the South, the Florida Folk Festival. It’s full of hippies who like folk music, good folk music, and quirky food vendors. Every year I discover something wonderful. One year it was contra dancing. Another year it was the fabulous Jamaican lady who serves the best ginger beer I’ve ever tasted. Last year it was the fact that I actually do like folk music beside Simon and Garfunkel. This year I found several new bands to love (The Currys, Belle and the Band, and Laney Jones and the Lively Spirits) and a rice bowl with cranberries in it.

I didn’t really take any pictures of the actual festival, but I did manage to get my sister to snap a crappy cell phone picture of me in the skirt.


I found the fabric in a local opportunity store. And paid a whopping $1. Here’s a picture with the price tag as proof. I had just enough fabric to eke out a skirt. I had two tiny triangles left when I finished, they were maybe two inches at their widest.



I used this pattern, because honestly I love the gathers. Obviously I didn’t make the whole dress, just the skirt.