‘Margery was always in black and white, short walking skirt and trim white shirt waist, freshly laundered […] There was no picture hat on her bonny brown hair, but a little black sailor with a swallow’s wing on one side and a bunch of violets in a knot of ribbon.’ (Madeira Mercury, 1907)
Because my gray Edwardian wool walking skirt is so comfortable that I wore it almost every day during the winter, I made another short Edwardian skirt with black wool broadcloth this time!
It’s already the seventh short Edwardian walking skirt that I made – 2 refashioned (one refashioned from 2 wool suits) and 5 made from scratch. I made my first short Edwardian wool walking skirt over 10 years ago as part of my Edwardian cycling costume.
Related: Edwardian Cycling Costume
This type of wool skirt was called tailored in the 1900s because it has tailor finishes like a close fit around the hips and tailor stitching along the hem.
‘The beauty of the tailored skirt lies in the good lines, careful machine stitching, and perfect fit of the garment.’ (School Sewing Based On Home Problems, 1916)
The fabric, pattern and sewing details of my walking skirt are historically correct. You could say 100% historically correct except that I of course had to use modern fabric and modern sewing thread but I used my antique treadle sewing machine – which I use to make all my clothes by the way – to make the skirt.
Edwardian skirt were usually long: calf length, ankle length, floor length or with a train. But there also existed knee-length skirts in the Edwardian era. Edwardian girls wore knee-length skirts in everyday life and Edwardian women wore knee-length skirts for hiking and sports. By the way, short means knee-length in the Edwardian era! 😉 Shorter skirts were never worn in the 1900s.
‘The very foundation of the athletic wardrobe is the shirtwaist and skirt – a plain tailored waist with short, full sleeve and low, soft collar, and a short walking skirt. These may be worn with equal propriety, modishness and comfort on the golf links and tennis court, for mountain climbing and boating.’ (Stockton Independent, 1907)
Related: The Edwardian Summer Girl
Edwardian Skirt Pattern & Sewing Details
My short Edwardian walking skirt is similar to my gray Edwardian wool walking skirt but there are also some differences.
My short Edwardian tailored black wool walking skirt is a 10-gored skirt. And because the panels are shaped at the hem, it’s also a godet skirt. The pattern is self-drafted – as always – but based on this antique Edwardian skirt pattern from 1901.
In contrast to my gray Edwardian wool walking skirt, this skirt closes in the back. The black 1900s wool skirt closes with two hooks & eyes and two snaps on the faced placket under the inverted box pleat at the back. Here are Edwardian instructions on how to sew a faced placket. And these three antique Edwardian tailored wool skirts were my inspiration: 1900s black wool skirt with Prussian seam binding, Edwardian wool skirt closed with hooks & eyes and snaps and Edwardian black wool skirt with closure under inverted box pleat at the back.
‘A skirt placket should be sufficiently long to allow the skirt to slip easily over the head. As a rule, 9″ to 12″ are allowed […] When the placket finishes the opening at the top of a seam, or pleat, it should appear to be a continuation of the same.’ (School Sewing Based On Home Problems, 1916).
‘For the placket on bias seams’ use ‘Prussian binding’ (Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction, 1916). ‘Use hooks and eyes, or snaps, to hold the placket closed.’ (School Sewing Based On Home Problems, 1916)
Related: Edwardian Walking Dresses
Wool Hem Facing & Tailor Stitching
I finished the hem with a shaped facing and twelve rows of stitching. This tailor finish was popular for wool walking skirts in the Edwardian era as embellishment and as hem stiffening. Because the quilting stiffens the wide hem so much more than just the facing! The following three antique Edwardian wool skirts with tailor stitching at the hem were my main inspiration: Edwardian photograph of Marie Doro wearing a shirtwaist, leather belt and golf wool skirt with tailor stitching; early Edwardian wool walking skirt at the MET and 1900s skating skirt also at the MET.
I used the same wool broadcloth I used for the skirt also for the shaped hem facing. This is more expensive but the skirt drapes so much better than if you use a cotton facing or something else.
‘When the skirt is cut on very flaring lines, a facing will be needed instead of a hem.’ (Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction, 1916)
The shaped hem facing was also called ‘false hem’ in the 1900s: To make it, when cutting your skirt panels, you also cut another curved strip below each curved skirt panel hem. This is your shaped hem facing which is on the same grain as the skirt panel. It’s a very economical way to make a circular hem facing. I use it for all my wide flaring Edwardian wool skirts!
‘When making circular or two-piece skirts which are very wide, if a hem is turned it will often be much too full at the top to shrink out. To avoid this, cut the skirt, allowing for hem as usual […] then cut off this hem […] and set it up on the skirt. It will fit smoothly […] and has the advantage of being on the same grain as the skirt itself. It can be placed on either the right or wrong side of the skirt.’ (Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction, 1916)
Edwardian Walking Skirt Accessories
‘We have a complete line of high shoes for the new short walking skirt.’ (San Francisco Call, 1900) ‘Her shoes will be particularly conspicuous when she is wearing her short walking skirt […] With her walking costume she wears either a black japanned or patent colt shoe, made with a Cuban heel and a good, sensible sole. […] the new walking skirt […] is to be worn with high lace boots of patent leather.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1904)
With my short Edwardian walking skirt I’m wearing vintage black leather lace-up boots. And I’m also wearing my DIY black patent leather belt with silver belt buckle. If you’re interested how I made the belt, click on the link below.
Edwardian tailored wool skirts were usually either worn with a sweater or a shirtwaist. Because it was early spring when we took the photos, I’m wearing my Edwardian black wool walking skirt with a shirtwaist that I refashioned from a men’s shirt!
And of course I’m also wearing my usual Edwardian underwear underneath: cotton chemise, Edwardian sports corset, lace corset cover and black cotton stockings.
By the way, we took the photos at the largest brick bridge in the world! The bridge dates back to the Victorian era and was built between 1846 and 1851. A funny story about the bridge is that one of the designs for the railway bridge included a built-in prison! Do you know a bridge with a built-in prison?
The bridge is definitely a fitting backdrop for my Edwardian outfit because the bridge was already 50 years old when Edwardians walked through the bridge! 😀