No Gaps Here and the Overskirt is Conquered…with a Twist.

Adjusting the waistband on the underskirt went smoothly and now it closes completely. And having a pieced waistband lends an air of authenticity to the construction, doesn’t it? I’m going with “yes, as a matter of fact, it does” because this is exactly who women of the period dealt with weight gain. Unless they were so incredibly wealthy they could afford to have a new wardrobe made, that is. Alas, I find myself a bit below that financial circle so it’s alterations all the way.

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I’d already put a slim pocket in the right side back seam, but I want to add a safety pocket to the left side back seam so I won’t have to carry a handbag of any kind. The safety pocket flies together when you’re following the instructions and not adding all sorts of extras, like I did on the first one. Total construction time is under an hour when you keep it simple. It also comes out smaller, because of the 5/8-inch seam around the edge, but it’s still plenty big. And without the layer of paper pieced fabric it’s a lot less bulky so it stays pretty flat.

I’d intended to sew it together such that the front-facing pieces showed the fashion fabric to minimize visibility. However, when needle met fabric my brain chirped “right sides together” and the front of the back piece ended up as the back of the back piece. Sadly, I didn’t notice this until the pocket was nearly completed. Curses, foiled again! Happily, when I pinned the overskirt side piece in place I realized that the pocket opening is not visible at. Better yet, it’s hidden even when I reach into it. So I left it as it was, sewed on the waistband attachment and called it done.

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Today, I decided, was the day the overskirt was going to submit to the will of the seamstress, one way or another…and, hopefully, on the first try. It did, and I’ll be darned if it didn’t surprise me along the way.

When I’d first cut the front apron out, in 2014, I made an error and cut the lining too narrow. Luckily, the center portion is straight and on-grain. So I cut it in half and inset a strip of the dress fabric. Presto-chango! Problem fixed.

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My initial idea for getting the front apron to hold the side pleats without sagging was to add a layer of netting to give it some body without adding a lot of weight. That made a lot of improvement, but it still drooped a bit so I added another layer of netting. That did the trick! The apron held the side pleats and draped well without going flat.

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Then it occurred to me that this overskirt was still in the early stages and if I wanted ruffles, like the ones on the other overskirt pattern, there was no reason I couldn’t add them. Sometimes I amaze myself.

A one-inch ruffle seemed too narrow, yet a two-inch ruffle was definitely too wide. However, an inch and a half looked just right. (Is this the “Goldilocks Method” of design?) In addition, I knew I didn’t want it too tightly gathered, so I went with a period-correct and not-too-crazy ratio of 1:1.5 – meaning that for every inch of fabric I want to cover, I need to cut an inch and a half of fabric for the ruffle.

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I was really happy with the results and was sitting down to understitch the ruffle when I noticed that I liked the way the lining side looked. A lot. Even better than the front side. So I flipped it around, put it on the mannequin, pinned in a couple of quick side pleats so I could see the effect and – what a difference!

“Right” Side Out…

normal side apron front

“Wrong” Side Out…

inside out apron front

I like the way the ruffle softens the edge of the apron and how the black in the apron will pick up the black in the fichu. So I’ve decided to make the lining side the outer side. The blue fabric strip down the center is a little boring, almost harsh in some ways, but I have a few ideas about that…


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