Skirts, in some version or other, have been a part of the human wardrobe for millennia--prehistoric cave paintings show male and female figures wearing a type of skirt. Roman and Greek men also wore a form of skirt (as well as tunics and togas, more like a draped dress). In Western cultures, men stopped wearing skirts by about the Middle Ages (14th century)--with the exception of kilts, of course--but in hot climates, they continue to wear skirt-like garments (the Indian dhoti, the sarong).
Women's skirts--and we're talking about the "skirt" part of a dress at the moment, not necessarily a separate garment--quickly evolved into elaborate constructions with elaborate underpinnings--crinolines, petticoats, and hoops, reaching a pinnacle in the 18th century: hoop skirts during the Civil War era were often an astonishing six feet across.
A brief history of the skirt in the twentieth century: French designer Paul Poiret introduced the hobble skirt, which was as it sounds: a skirt that was tight around women's legs, substantially altering her gait.
|A hobble skirt: 1911 postcard. Image from Wikipedia|
Let's go! Skirt styles, some practical, some fantasitc--and again, some are attached to bodices and are thus part of a dress--currently on offer from the Pattern Patter team.
(As always, please click on the images to make them larger.)
|Top row, left to right: 4-gored skirt from 1939: McCall 3188: She’ll Make You Flip|
8-gored full skirt: Simplicity 4674: Blue Tree Sewing Studio
Accordion pleats: Vogue S-4832: RetroMonkeys
Middle row: Knife pleats: Simplicity 1279: JFerrariDesigns
Inverted pleats: Vogue 8668: Redcurlz
Back pleats: Simplicity 4368: Fancywork
Bottom row: Pencil/straight skirt: Butterick 5594: VioletCrownEmporium
Wiggle/slim skirt: McCall’s 4167: Grandma Made with Love
Modern hobble (1960): McCall 5320: SoVintageOnEtsy
|Top row, left to right: Exaggerated full circle skirt: McCall's 4357: SewBetty and Dot|
Two gores, inverted pleat/two gores, underlay, slot seam: McCall's5048: MidvaleCottage
Back gathers: McCall 7581: VioletCrownEmporium
Middle row: Tiered skirt: McCall 7258: PrettyPatternShop
Micro mini: Butterick 6592: Bessie and Maive
Bottom row: Mini: Butterick 5553: AnnesVintagePatterns
|Top row, left to right: 1920s wrap skirt: Butterick 1480: Vintage Needle Finds|
Reversible wrap: Simplicity 7699: ClassicCabin
Wrapped and buttoned: McCall’s 3887: EmSewCrazy
Middle row: Flounce in back pleat: Style 4859: All the Precious Things
Flounced hem: Butterick 8792: PaneenJerez
Bottom row: Sarong style: Advance 8634: pinkpolkadotbutton
Tulip skirt: Vogue 2568: AdeleBeeAnn
That wraps up--pun intended--this quick (and gorgeous!) trip through Skirt Land...there are so many variations and combinations of these styles available. Just search "vintage skirt pattern patter" and see what treasures you'll uncover! Tell us in the comments about YOUR favorite skirt style!