While our most common mental image of women in the early decades of the 19th century might be of them dressed in beautiful gowns, women of the Regency era, just like women of today, also wore separates, ie. separate garments for the top and bottom of the body. In this series on "Mix and Match Separates of the Early 1800s," I'll go through several historically accurate options concerning what women could wear as what we would think of as tops. However, today we have a quick discussion on skirts, the item that would have been worn on the bottom of the body with all the different sorts of garments that I'll be exploring.
In the Manitoba Living History Society, a simple rectangular tube with a drawstring waist is very popular. This option is easy to make and, with its adjustable drawstring, easy to lend to others to wear without having to worry about size. Other construction options that you might consider when making a skirt include cutting the front piece as a trapezoid, rather than having all the skirt panels be rectangles, and gathering the waist of the panels all around or just at the back. The skirt panels could be attached to a waistband with straps (like this example on the right from the Nordiska Museet) or to a small sleeveless bodice (like this example below from the National Trust Collections), both of which options would help keep the waist at the fashionable high waistline.
I hope you'll enjoy exploring these different wardrobe option with me and that they will help inspire you as you build your own historical wardrobe.