A Very Local Skirt

This is it- my slowly sewn, 1934 oneyearoneoutfit skirt. It’s an all wool winter skirt and I can hardly wait to wear it. It’s not very photogenic  (like me sadly!) but looks lovely in reality. It’s the same pattern as this linen skirt but I’ve added a back pleat (as worn by Mrs Durrell in The Durrells), dropped the waistline and lengthened it to just above my ankles.

I chose a visible button fastening instead of the invisible snap panel. Although I do have some British made snaps from the days when factories here still made that sort of thing I decided to go with these lovely buttons.

Close up of the pleat topstitching – it’s the same back and front.

Now for the nitty gritty :

Fabric : Bought from Cambrian Wool, it’s a herringbone weave using Jacob wool in its natural colours.

The wool came from a farm in West Carmarthenshire and was spun at the Natural Fibre Company when it was still operating in Lampeter.

It was woven at Melin Teifi at Drefach Felindre. This is the location of the National Woollen Museum of Wales.

Buttons : Bought from a local craftsperson at the Wool & Willow Festival held at the Minerva Art Centre in Llanidloes. They are made from blackthorn.

Thread: Unravelled from the fabric and surprisingly strong. The darts were sewn with some very fine thread spun by my kind friend using fleece from sheep farmed in the local community. I was worried about sewing the hem invisibly with wool thread, but I needn’t have worried because it can’t be seen at all.

Overall : I love this skirt. It’s entirely handsewn so it was very slow to make. It was enjoyable though! I’m getting into handsewing.

Except for the linen at the waistline it is made entirely from very local Welsh products – I would guess that everything comes from less than a 100 mile radius of my home.

I don’t like waistbands and my 1934 pattern doesn’t use one either so I went with the undyed linen. It helps to stop the waist stretching.

What would I change?

I think it may need a lining to make it a very long lasting garment. I also feel that a winter skirt without a lining isn’t really right – does anyone agree? I may add one in time.

EmilyAnn has been sewing 1930s with me. A lot of very interesting topics have come up, including 1940s laundry. I recommend you to take a look.

If you are wondering what oneyearoneoutfit is, take a look here.

I have been busy over the summer, although not blogging. There’s a completed linen top – dyed with garden dyes – waiting to be blogged. And I’ve been knitting up some local wool. More to follow…

Thanks for dropping by,

Norma x



Filed under Clothes, dressmaking, history, sewalongs, sewing, textiles

35 responses to “A Very Local Skirt

  1. Well done! It looks delicious. Hope to see more photos of it on you. What an achievement!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are doing better than I am with the 1year1outfit. I have a bag, a half finished dress that needs to be dyed and a coat that is not working. And only three months to finish. Sigh! I adore your skirt, the fabric is stunning.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful work, Norma, using lovely wool material. Really enjoy learning about your use of natural, locally available sources for fabric, thread and buttons. The blackthorn buttons are very nice. We have blackthorn around here too. Beautiful blossoms in the spring, but I’ve never seen the fruit. It’s a very hard wood, I know that. Buttons cut from branches of just the right diameter, I imagine.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love your skirt and the whole Oneyearoneoutfit project you’re participating in. What about making a linen or cotton slip to go under it, rather than a lining? Then you could trim it with some hand tatted lace if you were so inclined.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. piecefulwendy

    Oh my — what a lovely skirt! I can’t imagine making that. I’m much better with quilts!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Norma! The pleat looks perfect. Your hand stitches are so neat, too. The line right above the pleat looks as precise as machine stitching. I agree a lining would add to the skirt’s comfort and durability. What kind of locally produced fabric will you use for the lining?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I might buy a roll of lightweight linen if I can find any


      • I never heard of a linen lining before. How will y


      • I think this got sent twice. sorry. this is very interesting. I never heard of using linen as a lining. Will it hang smoothly under the wool? How will you clean the finished skirt? Linen and wool are difficult to press when laundered at home.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Only part of it arrived the last time. Glad you added this.
        There are some very fine linens that can be used for underwear, handkerchieves etc. and that’s what I shall look for. It works rather like those very fine cotton linings you get in high class summer clothes.
        I think the wool cloth will be cleaned by removing any spots and then steaming. I have lots of linen clothes & have never have any trouble with it – launders beautifully and is extremely tough.
        All depends on whether I can source fine undyed Irish linen. If not, I may resort to an old silk dress I own but don’t wear.
        I steamed the wool before I started – a lady who no longer blogs gave me that tip – preshrinks the cloth.
        I am rather keen on laundry so I’m not too worried.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You’re very resourceful. I’m learning some new things from your projects. Thinking of fine cotton and linen linings I think there was a dress, very beautiful and airy, where Dior used a similar type of lining. I have to check my reference books and post a scan when there’s time. I usually think of silk and taffeta-like fabrics for lining.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I hope you find it – I would be interested.
        I like using different things but they don’t always work.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think there are two dresses where a tissue weight linen or muslin was used. One of them had a sunburst pleat overskirt. Give me a little time to go through the books. I’ll post it eventually.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Impressive, both the concept and the techniques you used. Can’t wait to see the next project!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sorry I missed this when you posted it last week but hurrah, it’s all done! And it looks gorgeous, that wool tweed pattern is so scrumptious and I bet it’ll be lovely and warm in the winter.
    I always, always line skirts, no matter whether they’re summer or winter ones. I don’t have any real concrete reason why, I just feel that they’re finished then. However, I am moving away from lining dresses thanks to my original 1930s patterns that generally don’t include them. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Beautiful and amazing that you sewed it all by hand. Will be a great skirt for winter. I do like Mrs Durrell’s clothes. She wore a pair of fantastic wide-legged trousers in the series too. I kept peering at the screen for a better look!


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  12. Love the fabric–it is so pretty. I can’t believe you were able to find everything so close to home.I think it would be trickier in the states–we don’t make anything ourselves any more.

    Liked by 1 person

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