Laid flat — this shows how simple the shape of the skirt is. The only seam is at center back (top straight edge in this photo). Additional shaping is provided by one small dart on each side of the waist.
First I made the foundation skirt, a free-hanging lining attached to the outside skirt only at the placket and waistband. It serves as a petticoat, providing shape and structure for the fullness of the skirt. I cut the foundation on the same pattern as my skirt, but made it about 1-1/2" shorter. As seen above, it is a partial circle skirt, cut so that the majority of the fullness falls in the back. Since the hemline is very curved, I used a 4" bias facing as a hem. I followed period examples and interlined the hem with a bias strip of tarlatan, a lightweight, open-weave cotton that is heavily sized. It is light but firm, and when cut on the bias, behaves much like modern horsehair braid, providing structure and body without stiffness or weight. I added a dust ruffle inside the skirt, to help the bottom stand out from the legs while wearing it. The ruffle is about 6" deep, pinked on both edges, and gathered over a thin cotton cord.
The outside skirt is cut to "dancing length", just skimming the tops of my feet. It is hemmed the same way as the foundation skirt, with a 3" bias facing (without interlining, however).
Here are detail shots of the hems:
Lining dust ruffle
The skirt and foundation are joined at the placket, which consists of a 1" underlap of the outside fabric. The placket closes with snaps, which began to be used during this period. Since there is no pleating or fullness in the skirt where the placket is, I thought snaps would be best for keeping the opening concealed. Both skirt layers are attached to a 3/4" wide waistband made from the blue silk. The waistband closes with two hooks and eyes.
Skirt placket and waistband
Now the skirt just needs trimming! I will be adding a deep chiffon flounce, a band of beaded trimming, and some accents made from a deep pink silk.
The bodice for the dress is nearly finished as well. More details on that coming up soon!