I don’t know if anyone have missed the series Outlander. The series is about Clare Randall a combat nurse from 1945 that is thrown back in time to 1743. The set is the Scottish highlands and the costumes are even if they are not historically accurate really amazing. The series gave me a real craving for wool tartan in greenish tones so after binge watching the first season in one weekend I started looking at fabric options. I wanted to make a 18th century petticoat of the “apron style” inspired by all the wonderful outfits in the series. The “apron style” petticoats are handy as you tie the front and back piece separately making it a good skirt for both modern everyday wear and period wear as the waist is easily adjusted.
But yeah, I needed it to be a pure wool fabric as I don’t like mixed wool fabrics and I wanted it to be a reproduction tartan as I like the idea of reproductions. And that combination have a tendency to come with a high price tag so for a minute I started to think that this skirt might not happen. Also it usually is made in single width that would mean that I would need 4 meters for a skirt, far to expensive for “only a skirt”.
I had given up on finding a fabric when I stumbled over a end of bolt double width pure wool fabric on Ebay. 2,2 meters god weight and prefect colour, the price for the fabric + shipping was around the same as one meter of half width wool tartan from the sites that sell reproduction tartans. So I was very very happy.
I ended up with “ancient black watch” tartan, a tartan originating in the early 18th century and it is also not a clan tartan. I did think a lot about wearing tartan, having no connection to it at all. Black watch is a army uniform tartan so it is not connected to any specific clan. That felt good, not invading a specific family colours.
Making the skirt was pretty straight forward. Sewing two widths together to form a tube, leaving two slits in the top. Pleating the front and back to separate waistbands making sure that they would overlap a bit in the sides when worn.
I choose to make the font waistband wider then the back, as I have seen in original skirts and then both front and back is finished of with long ties attached to the waistbands. As I had just enough fabric I choose to face the hem with a linen fabric in stead of a ordinary hem, this helped the skirt fall very nicely.
Then I just had to take some Outlander inspired pictures, I had all of the other pieces of the outfit in my wardrobe already from my 18th century common woman that I made last autumn. I choose to not wear the chunky knitwear that Clair wears as I wanted to keep my look more historically accurate. Even if I as a Swedish woman from the 18th century never would have worn tartan in this way the cut of the skirt and the other pieces are true to the style of clothing a Swedish woman would have worn at the end of the 18th century.
But mostly I wear this skirt for my “modern” everyday wear paired with modern or other parts of my historical wardrobe, my favourite combo is to wear it with a 1910 chemise I made and 1940 style knitted cardigan.