The girl ‘wore a big rat under her pompadour and preferred a short walking skirt, even if men did turn around and look’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1900).
‘She certainly was an unusual figure, for that quiet neighborhood. Attired in a close-fitting suit of gray with a short walking skirt and a wide-brimmed gray felt hat that concealed her beautiful hair (Inyo Independent, 1902).
My short Edwardian walking skirt is a 9-panel godet skirt with two circular flounces, arrow-shaped wool appliques, tailor stitching along the hem, fake button closure and it’s made of gray pure wool broadcloth fabric scraps!
Edwardian Walking Skirt – Why Short?
Edwardian women not always wore long skirts, they also wore shorter skirts, especially for sports, such as bicycling, hiking, climbing, shooting and skating. A couple of years ago, I already made a short Edwardian blue wool skirt as part of my Edwardian cycling costume. But I always wanted to make another short Edwardian skirt.
Related: Edwardian Cycling Costume
Apart from sports, Edwardian women also wore short skirts in everyday life for walking and on rainy days. Obviously, Edwardian women were more practical than we are today: 😉 we’re often wearing long pants on rainy days or in winter. For example, all on my school wore jeans even in winter because they were cool and the wet hem of the jeans was so uncomfortable and wouldn’t dry for hours!
‘Why not wear a golf skirt, or the new short walking skirt? Just the thing for comfort and ease.’ (San Francisco Call, 1900). ‘The rainy day skirt […] embraces all that is fashionable in cut and material as well as mode of trimming. […] The rainy day costume can also be used for other athletic purposes, and when a jacket is worn it is made of the skirt material. An English walking hat or a sailor completes the costume.’ (San Jose Herald, 1900)
Related: Edwardian Walking Skirts
The length of the skirt depended on the age of the wearer in the Edwardian era. Edwardian teenagers wore short skirts (about knee lengths). Here‘s an Edwardian photograph of a girl wearing a knee-length wool skirt. When girls became older, skirts became longer. But there were also Edwardian woman who wore short skirts, especially for sports such as hiking, walking, bicycling and in rainy weather.
‘And then there will be such shocking weather that a knee-length skirt and rubber boots would be the most appropriate garb.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1909)
A Short Skirt To Walk Your Dog?
Apparently, Edwardian women also wore short skirts to walk their dogs! 😉
‘One reason for the short walking skirt is the pet-dog habit, asserts a tailor who caters to a very fashionable clientele.
It seems that women who own pet dogs like to walk down the avenue with their pets of a morning, and as everybody who owns a canine knows, the combination of a dog, a dog leash, a handbag and a long skirt is impossible. The most cultured doggie is apt to have emotional impulses at moments when he forgets the proprieties and makes a mad dash after an automobile, a cat or some other vitally interesting object, and both hands must be available to haul him back to order.’ (Sacramento Union, 1909)
Short Edwardian Walking Skirts & Sweaters
For practical reasons, short Edwardian walking skirts were often worn with sweaters and a tam hat.
‘Only a short walking skirt be worn with the sweater of today.’ (Marysville Daily Appeal, 1906) ‘Dressed in a short walking skirt and scarlet sweater, with an old tam-o’-shanter on her golden hair’ (Healdsburg Enterprise, 1908)
In these pictures, I’m wearing my new refashioned Edwardian-style wool cardigan. You can see how I refashioned the cardigan by clicking on the link below.
Edwardian Sewing Details: Panel Skirt, Fabric Scraps, Habit Back & Fake Button Closure
My short Edwardian walking skirt is a 9-panel skirt with two circular flounces. Because I used the fabric scraps that were leftover from my Victorian paletot coat, I had to draft a special pattern. That‘s why the skirt is a panel skirt and has two instead of one flounce! But panel skirts with a circular flounce were very popular in the early Edwardian era and it was just enough fabric left for the skirt – yay! 😀
The Edwardian walking skirt has a habit back with inverted box pleat at the back. An inverted box pleat at the back was a popular feature of Edwardian skirt. Almost all Edwardian skirt had it! The box pleat could be left open or stitched down. Habit back means that the the box pleat is stitched down. Tailored skirts, like my Edwardian wool skirt, often had a habit back.
‘Ladies’ circular skirt, with the new habit back having an inverted box-plait stitched down’ (1900).
Edwardian skirts were either closed at the center back or the left front seam. My Edwardian walking skirt is closed at the left front seam. Here‘s how to sew historically correct Edwardian plackets. By the way, the button closures at the front are just fake: my short Edwardian skirt is closed with 2 hooks & eyes and 3 snaps instead – a typical type of closure for Edwardian wool skirts. The (fake) button closure is inspired by these Edwardian skirts with similar button closures: 1900s cycling wool skirt, Edwardian photograph of the Romanov sisters and 1900 cycling outfit. I love how the military-style gold metal buttons look together with the gray wool fabric!
I finished the top of the skirt with a self-fabric Edwardian dip belt:
‘The top of a tailored skirt is usually finished so it can be worn outside of a shirt waist.’ (School Sewing Based On Home Problems, 1916)
By the way, my short Edwardian walking skirt has no lining because wool skirts without a cool silk or rayon taffeta lining are way warmer in cold winter weather!
The short walking skirts ‘are made from a fine quality of heavy wool goods, finished with a dozen rows of stitching at the hem, seams all double sewed tailor finished inside and out. Cut in the latest style and made without lining.’ (Morning Tribune, 1901)
Decoration : Wool Applique & Tailor Stitching
I trimmed my Edwardian wool skirt with self-fabric, raw edge wool applique – called tailor stitched bands in the 1900s – inspired by these antique Edwardian skirts: Edwardian wool walking suit with self-fabric appliqued wool bands, Edwardian gray dress with tailor stitched bands and 1890s wool jacket with raw edge wool applique.
‘Are you prepared for the rain? Have you a golf or walking skirt? There is nothing more healthful nor more comfortable than these. Made of all-wool English cheviot cloth or homespun; new flounce effect, tailor stitched bands and seams. In brown, black, navy and gray.’ (San Francisco Call, 1904)
The horizontal wool applique bands around the skirt hide the seams of the two circular flounces. The wool applique also stiffens the hem of the skirt – perfect for Edwardian tailored wool skirts! Because an Edwardian wool walking skirt with stiffened hem drapes so much better!
The arrow-shaped wool appliques of my short wool walking skirt are inspired by the following antique Edwardian wool skirts with arrow-shaped appliques: 1900s wool suit, 1890s cycling suit, 1905 photograph and 1904 Eaton’s catalogue.
Edwardian wool skirts often had tailored finishes. The rows of stitching along the hem was called tailor stitching in the Edwardian era. To make the tailor stitching at the hem of my skirt, I cut black wool broadcloth on the bias and then attached the bias wool facing with rows and rows of stitching.
‘The new short walking skirt […] with bias fold of tailor stitching on bottom; box-pleated back, bias gored and tailor finished’ (San Francisco Call, 1900).
By the way, I’m wearing a chemise, corset and corset cover underneath the sweater and walking skirt!