Sunday, 4 August 2013

Girl's and woman's medieval Scottish inspired skirts

Two lassies, two lads...

In my previous post I was writing about the Highland Games we went to see. Hot summer temperatures asked for a light outfit for me and my daughter.

I had some tartan style woven cotton fabric in not too modern colours, which is always hard to find here in Switzerland. However, the quality of the material was no the best choice for this project, as it was very soft and almost like flannel on one side, difficult to cut and a fight to sew. But it was the only fabric I had. As it was quite inexpensive, I thought it would be OK for my free-style sewing project. I didn't have a pattern...

First I made my daughter's skirt. As an inspiration, I had this costume pattern, seen somewhere on the internet. It's McCalls M4090. It is apparently a favorite amongst beginner costume sewers and is a kind of an allrounder for the  Medieval, Renaissance and even later eras.

McCalls M4090

The skirt has six gores, so it would have some fullness, but not too much, as I was not sure how comfortable my girl would feel with a long skirt. I didn't want her to stumble across the skirt's hem. This thought and the detailed sketch of one of the original pattern's view (view B) led me to another idea. I could, instead of adding the ribbons to tie the long skirt up, add a drawstring in the front, so the skirt could be gathered with a better hold, without loose ribbons coming in my daughter's way.

An elastic waistband gathers the width of the skirt and is comfortable to wear. It even allows my girl to grow. Well, the skirt would get shorter, but as a long underskirt can be worn with the plaid skirt, this would still look nice. Even though the elastic waistband was absolutely NOT historically true. What a shame... I guess I'm still too much the historian I was trained to be. :)

For my skirt, I wanted the drawstrings as well, but I changed my pattern for more fullness. Especially the side parts were made much wider. However, I soon realised that it wouldn't look very nice with a waistband gathering the fullness of the skirt. Even with an inserted elastic. I preferred only the side gores to be gathered, thus leaving the middle front and middle back parts flat. (I thought it would be more flattering for someone with a slightly more female figure...) Using no elastic or zipper would even add some authenticity to my skirt. Ah, history!

Somewhere on the internet I have seen Renaissance skirts with eyelets and lacing. Metal eyelets are not  really true to such a type of skirt (again, history!), and I didn't have time to order them. I also knew they wouldn't be suitable for this type of fabric. Or vice-versa. So I made small loops of bias binding matching the tartan colour. I sewed them in the seams between the middle front respectively middle back and the side parts. I have 4 rows of loops, 2 on each side, that are laced up with a string, so I can gather the fulness of the skirt on the side only. 
This is very comfortable, as the fit of the skirt is adjustable. And it's a very nice detail. It's a bit of a fight to put it on, especially when you are in hurry as everybody is waiting for you. (Usually, I'm the last to be ready to leave. I'm a mom, come on, that's the way it is and will be for the next 15 years...)

This is how my skirted turned out. It was finished only 1 hour before we left for the Highland Games event. I wore it with my vintage Advance 6754 blouse I described in my previous post.
I was not sure how good the skirt would look like or how it would fit, but it was surprisingly comfortable to wear and it looked quite decent, especially compared to many commercially made outfits I saw at the event. And again I felt a little bit proud to have an unique garment, not perfect, but truly what I wanted and fitting my figure. I will make also for me an underskirt to wear with the plaid skirt, completing my medieval inspired Scottish Highland dress.


  1. Liebe Doris,
    ich bin ganz begeistert, was Du mit Deiner Nähmaschine zauberst. Ich wünschte ich wäre mit meiner geschickter. Ich mag Vintagekleider und wünsche mir oft, ich könnte eines nähen. Diese Kleider sind viel schmeichelhafter und detailverliebter als alles was aktuell im Laden zu finden ist. Die karierten Röcke sind wunderhübsch. Ich schau gerne mal wieder vorbei.
    Danke für Deinen Kommentar bei mir.
    Lieben Gruss von Sabine

  2. Liebe Sabine, herzlichen Dank für Deine Zeilen... Ja, Vintage-Kleider sind wirklich viel "weiblicher" als manches, das aktuell uns Frauen zum Kaufen und Tragen aufgeschwatzt wird. Ich müsste nur etwas mehr Zeit haben. Danke für's reinschauen!


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