Draping the 1884 Ice Skating Dress Overskirt


 I think it's safe to say (despite yesterday's snow flurries) that winter is indeed over. It's April. Easter is about a week away. I really need to finish blogging my winter bustle gown so I can start sharing the more springy projects I've been working on!

Thus, without further ado, let's discuss the final piece of my 1884 Ice Skating Ensemble, the overskirt!

Photo credit: @papagena1791

After making the underskirt out of my 2 yard cut of dark green wool and the bodice out of the thrifted Pendleton wool skirts, I had one cut of forest green wool left - a 1.5 yard piece exactly the same shade of green as the bodice. Surly I could make a decent looking over skirt out of a yard and a half of wool!
I just had to decide what I wanted my over skirt to look like, and figure out a pattern for it.

The fashion plate I was using for inspiration featured a rather small over skirt which appeared to be twisted and draped somehow. It looked nice, but I honestly wasn't exactly sure how it was constructed and a couldn't find a pattern that was similar, so I decided to do my own thing instead. Also, I wanted to trim the edge of my overskirt with the same green tweed as the faux waistcoat of the bodice and with the twisty thing going on this overskirt didn't seem to have a clear edge to trim. 
So from here on out the fashion plate would only be referenced to help me figure out the proper proportions for my overskirt, I had no intentions of closely copying it the way I had done for the bodice and underskirt.

Photo credit: @papagena1791

I looked through my pattern stash and nothing particularly appealed to me. I looked through the National Garment Cutter and there was one overskirt pattern I really liked, but it required more fabric than I had. So I went to my book shelf.

I pulled out American Dress Pattern Catalogs, 1873-1909. This book is a reprint of 4 different pattern catalogues from 1873, 1882, 1894, and 1909. It doesn't contain the actual patterns themselves, but it does show you what patterns were available to the home dressmaker in those years, which I find fascinating!

I went to the 1882 section of the book, since that was closest to my 1884 target date, and looked at the available overskirt patterns of that era. 

I decided to attempt to re-create pattern 7884. I liked the triangular front drape and the split back drape. 
I wasn't going to try to copy this pattern exactly, I would need to change the proportions to fit the fabric I had available, but it gave me an excellent starting point for the design I wanted!

I put my bustle, petticoats, and underskirt on my dress form, pulled out a 1.5 yard cut of red polished cotton, and started playing.

I draped, shaped, pleated, and cut until I had a front drape that I was reasonably well pleased with.

I marked all my darts and pleats.

And then repeated the process with the back drape.

Once I was pleased with what I had and everything was properly marked, I pulled the polished cotton off the dress form and used it as my pattern and underlining for my wool overskirt.

The edges of the undershirt were all bound in green wool tweed to match the bodice trim and faux waistcoat, and I used up the last of my 1" wide green velvet ribbon to trim the front drape.

Once all the pieces were bound and trimmed, I pleated them according to what I had draped and marked earlier.

Then everything got attached to a waistband. 

I re-used one of the waistbands from the thrifted skirts I'd disassembled for the bodice. Yay for not needing to construct a new waistband or sew any new buttonholes!

The waistband was sewn on and finished off with a lone metal button from my stash. (I could have used the original plastic button off the skirt, but the metal button was much prettier and it was lonely so it needed to be used up!)

And with that,

The overskirt was done!

It only took one afternoon to make and turned out to be quite a fun project.

Due to time constraints and my lack of a pattern I actually considered skipping the overskirt entirely.

I'm so glad I didn't do that!

When I put the overskirt on the outfit instantly felt more bustle-y and complete!

It was just the finishing touch my ice skating outfit needed!

The rest of the Ice Skating Bustle Dress Series:

Ice Skating in a Bustle Dress

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