Making of a green wool costume for 1899: the skirt

I visited Venice on February, and the event I most looked forward to attending was Carnevale Fin De Siècle 1890-1907 walk hosted by Rêverie.

I didn’t have a costume ready for that time period, so, as usual, I took too long to decide what style of outfit I should make, and ended up making a last minute costume for the trip.

I fell in love with a Vittorio Matteo Corcos painting of Jole Moschini Biagini, and designed a costume that would be very similar, but not an exact copy. The skirt in the portrait looks really lovely, but I wanted to make a mermaid style skirt with a little bit of train. So after I found a skirt pattern diagram with narrow hips and quite a bit of hem flair from one of the Patterns of Fashion books, I made a mock up and was pleased to find that it was the exact style I was looking for.

However, to get the shape just right, I had to make several fittings and changes to the mock-up and was about to despair. But the end result was worth it. Here’s the skirt with foundation skirt but not yet hemmed or having a waistband or closures:


The skirt is unlined, but it has a silk taffeta foundation skirt of the same shape sewn into one waistband, so the foundation skirt is acting like a lining. Both the wool and the taffeta have wide facings made of plain cotton.

Hem facing
The two skirt layers
Silk taffeta foundation and facing

It has a habit style back closure with hooks and eyes.


  1. Anna says:

    Ah that is so interesting about the taffeta lining! I wonder if a separate taffeta petticoat would have nearly the same effect…I have an 1890s skirt that’s a bit limp right now due to lack of layers but somehow I didn’t think even a crisp cotton would have the right effect. Might have to try taffeta. Thank you for sharing — it looks lovely! I drooled over your pictures of this whole outfit on Instagram when you first posted it.


    1. Thank you! And yes, separate taffeta petticoat would work just as well.


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