The Last Day of School, 1890s Style

The latest from my historybounding atelier! My daughter wanted something more appropriate for 90° heat for the last day of school than the wool skirt we took to Savannah back in January. She had earlier this week coveted the bolt of aqua striped cotton that I’d chosen for my own summer outfit, and hinted that she would luuuurve a matching skirt of her own.

Last Day of School 1898 Walking Skirt

She’d actually wanted something like this for her awards assembly on Wednesday. But I didn’t have the time to make it then. (I sent her to school in a vintage sheath dress and lace kimono instead. Still cute and stylish, but not quite what she wanted.) So when she came home with a medal for the 4th highest GPA in her grade, I vowed to myself that she’d have her historybounding skirt for the last day of school.

Vintage Sheath dress and lace kimono for the awards ceremony.

Yesterday afternoon, I pulled out her pattern pieces for Truly Victorian 291, the 1898 Walking Skirt, and whipped this puppy out in 4 hours…with lots of interruptions. I somehow managed to surprise her. It goes quickly when the fit is already perfected and you keep the trim to a minimum.

The interior finishes aren’t as sophisticated as I would have liked and the hem makes me cringe, but with her lace petticoat coyly peeking out underneath, it has enough body and modesty for middle-school.

I machine felled the seams and topstitched them down in contrasting thread. There is no lining, ergo the muslin and lace ruffled petticoat. I put an invisible zipper in place of the placket (breaking two needles in the process,) and a single skirt hook and bar closure on the waistband. I used a single layer of Pellon featherweight sewn-in interfacing in the waistband for structure, and held it in place with a strip of Stitch-Witchery. I did not add pockets this time. The fabric was too light and sheer.

The blouse is a thrift store find, very light, very sheer, with a modern camisole worn underneath to satisfy school dress code. The brooch is an antique cameo on a light blue background. It was a gift from my husband.

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