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The skirts of a seventeenth century gown were separate from the bodice, which makes things simple from the start. Not only will you not need to mess about attaching skirt to bodice, you’ll also have the beginnings of a mix-and-match wardrobe.
As you can see, there seem to be two skirts:
- a paler coloured underskirt and
- an overskirt that’s split down the front.
You have four options as to how to go about creating this look in a convincing way:
- Make two skirts (the “keeping it real” approach)
- Make two skirts, but make the underskirt out of something cheap such as calico, with a panel of something fancier sewn to the front (keeping it real and saving money too, although you have fewer options for pinning the skirt back later)
- Make the two skirts and put them on one waistband (I wouldn’t recommend this – it saves a little time but feels heavier at the waist when worn)
- Make the underskirt just a panel rather than a full skirt (saves money and time, also good for hot climates, but you end up with only one way to wear it, with no options for pinning the overskirt up in interesting ways.)
The first, red pirate gown just had a panel as an underskirt effect, but for the Black Pearl I went with option 1 and made two full skirts. The fabric I was using wasn’t expensive and I didn’t like the restrictions that the underskirt panel imposed. With the Black Pearl I was able to pin the overskirt up in a huge variety of ways, or omit it altogether. In other words, if you make a skirt with a panel, you have a skirt. If you make the two skirts, you have infinite variety.