The finished skirt striaght and ruched up with drawstrings showing a bit of a red calico pettycoat.
It can be bustled for an 1890s look, pulled up on just the sides and worn with hip pillows for a paniered look of the 1700s, scallop it all the way around for a Civil War ball skirt, or draw it up on just one side for a wench or lady pirate look. The length is up to you.
This one is just about ankle length, but shorter versions make up just as well as overskirts for Renaissance gowns or dance.
Depending on your fabric choices, you could also use this for a belly dance piece if built in a sheer chiffon worn with or without dance pants and a choli.
First, you need to put together your gored skirt. I do this my old tried and true method with minimum to no waste. Yay Green Sewing! Measure from your waist to the desired hem length of your finished skirt and add 5/8" for seam allowances top and bottom, plus enough for fold over casings in waist if you're going to have an elastic waist in a self casing. Three inches at the top is a good number for an elastic waist with self casing. It gives you a 5/8" seam and a roomy casing which can be stabilized by sewing close to the fold at the top before you insert your elastic.
Fold your goods lengthwise to this measurement, folding it accordion style until you have the number of panels you want. Four double folds or panels as the fabric is cut off the bolt will give you a super hem sweep. Add a few more panels for a ridiculously full skirt or less for a more tame version.
Here's where that math you learned in school comes in. Measure your waist and add six inches for wearing ease for a skirt with a fitted waistband. For a fuller waisted skirt either gathered into a waistband or with a fold over casing with elastic, take your waist plus the six inches wearing ease and double it.
Whichever figure you end up with will be divided by the number of panels or gores you'll have doubled. This will be the size of the smallest end of the folds in my cutting diagram in the next step.
Example: Say your waist is thirty inches. With wearing ease, that measurement will be 36". You've made four folds or panels in your 45" fabric. That will give you 8 layers of fabric because each panel is doubled as it comes off the bolt folded in half down the center of the cloth.
2. This diagram shows how your panels will stack up and where your cutting lines should be.
So you double your folds for the two layers of cloth for each fold, which would be 8 waist ends and 8 hem ends on each crosswise edge and divide your waist measurement by 8. (30" waist plus 6" ease or 36: / 16 layers of cloth or 8 panels = 2.25"). Add 1/2" to this measurement and round it to the next closest number. In the case of a 30" waist, that will be 3". This allows for a gore seam to be sewn.
(**This is the start of what I hope will be a regular series of patterns for simple garments that are the basic building blocks of what I do. I've come full circle after 45 years of building with lint. I've learned that the simplist cuts and most economic lines are the best - just as our ancestors did because of the scarcity and value of cloth.
If there's a particular item you'd like me to address, let me know.)