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Just before our cross atlantic trip, we followed¬†Alice Bygrave’s skirt Louisa Bygrave convertible skirt, and Mary & Sarah Pease’s cape, to make our mock-up toile for the next garment by Madame Julia Gill, a Court Dressmaker, whose patent was filed in 5th Jan 1895 and accepted on 16th Feb 1895.

Nadia, our incredibly talented tailor/pattern cutter, worked with Julia’s patent and our detailed brief that pulled together all sorts of other cultural and historic references to construct a pattern and also make a toile.

Julia Gill’s patent indicated 2 flounces, 1 covering a cord running through a set of ‘rings, tapes, eyelet holes etc‘ and is hoisted up to become a safe, easy and graceful riding garment’ with the lower flounce transforming into a peplum or ‘basque for the bodice‘ with the aim, as always, ‘effectively disguising the form of the limbs‘.

Nadia provided a toile with this paper pattern.

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We then re-reinterpreted in miniature in paper and again in fabric maquette form….

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It was then time to cut the mock-up. We chose a similar weight wool to the final garment.

rachel pattern cutting

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made…

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There was the usual unpicking….

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and period tailoring guides were consulted for the perfect seam finish….

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we then assembled the under flounce curtain rings

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and here’s how it comes out!

On the surface it appears to be an unassuming yet flattering A-line walking skirt. It converts into a surprisingly short fashion garment, with wasp waist and bustle combination, and beautiful double peplum effect. We nicknamed it the bubble skirt.

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