19th Century Cartridge Pleated Skirt

Sew a complete skirt project with beautiful gauging appropriate for 1830s to 1860s.

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Move beyond knife and box pleats!

Learn the beautiful technique of cartridge pleating while creating a fashionable skirt you can wear for 1830s, 1840s, 1850s and early 1860s dressing.

Called gauging in the Victorian Era, cartridge pleating is the method to reduce a great deal of fabric down into a small length by creating tiny pleats. This particular technique was hugely popular in the early Victorian decades being that fashion called for voluminous skirt widths.

Through 5 lessons, this class will cover the steps of starting from scratch with your skirt project through to final closure. A wearable garment is yours when you finish the class!

No pattern needed! We calculate yardage amounts for your skirt in class and cover appropriate fabrics too.

Each lesson has detailed sewing video tutorials along with PDF handouts full of photos of each step and written sewing instructions to accompany what you see in the videos. It's a complete course from start to finish!

This class is for beginning-to-intermediate historical costumers.

You’ll learn exactly how to complete each step in creating the skirt, but you should understand basic sewing techniques including grading, topstitching, and hand sewing stitches such as the running stitch, whip and slip stitch.

The priority of this class is for you to understand how cartridge pleats are created while making a wearable garment. We go beyond the sample board here!

Once you understand the process of creating cartridge pleats you’ll be able to use the technique on other garment areas like sleeves in the 1830s and 1840s and Renaissance/Elizabethan skirts. Even the hem methods taught in class can be used on all Victorian Era skirts - 1830s through to 1900. The skills you learn here will take you far in your historical costuming journey!

Detailed Tutorials:

  • Welcome and Getting Started: Discuss time periods appropriate for the project, supplies needed, and fabrics best for your skirt
  • Lesson 1: Take measurements, calculate yardage needed for your skirt, and cutting all skirt pieces
  • Lesson 2: Sew major seams and hem the skirt; also includes BONUS of finishing the hem with protective tape
  • Lesson 3: Prepare the waistband and skirt edge
  • Lesson 4: Mark and sew the cartridge pleats
  • Lesson 5: Finish the project for a beautiful skirt ready to wear

In each tutorial section you have a chance to ask the instructor questions, post photos about your project as you work on it, and get feedback. Open dialogue with other students working on the same issues can be motivating and boost confidence as you work through your project.

Individualized help and feedback is available through email as well.

Skills & Techniques You'll Learn in Class:

  • Fabrics specifically recommended for 19th century skirt projects
  • The tricky calculation for yardage required for a cartridge pleated skirt
  • Hem facings - the techniques of application and why they are important
  • Making a waistband separate from the skirt which makes it easy to re-do a skirt later for another size
  • How to level a skirt from the hem up to waist for a perfectly balanced skirt
  • Creating various sizes of cartridge pleats
  • Both creating the pleats as well as mounting them to a waistband
  • What to do with the threads that create cartridge pleats
  • Applying a hook & bar closure

Challenge your historical sewing skills. Get started today learning this much-loved technique. Make a fabulous new skirt for your next Victorian event! See you in class!!

"Awesome class
This class is so easy to follow along with! Every detail is covered and completely takes the mystery out of cartridge pleating, plus you end up with a new Victorian skirt...or hem it to mid calf and make it a 1950's skirt, which is what I did. Love love love :)"

~ Mahan W.

"Jennifer Rosbrugh is amazing! She is such an encouraging person! Her classes leave every question answered, and her teaching method makes historical sewing a breeze!"

~Richard Herr

Course Curriculum

"Jennifer, you have inspired me so much to branch out to new things. I have started a project to to make something from every decade of the 19th century."

~Libby Dasbach

"What I enjoy the most... is that there are actual, practical tips and videos that are truly helpful. Thank you for putting so much obvious love and attention into everything you do."

~Jill Lane


Begin your skirt today!

Your Instructor

Jennifer Rosbrugh
Jennifer Rosbrugh

Teacher to hundreds of sewing and costuming students since 2004, Jennifer dreams of the nostalgia of the past and brings it into her modern life through creating costume ensembles from about 1780 to 1920. Dark chocolate, Jane Austen and bustle dress fanatic. Daughter of the King.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the class start and finish?
The class starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online class - you decide when you start each lesson, complete the sewing, and when you finish the project.
How long do I have access to the class?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this class for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
Can I get personal feedback and help with my class project?
Of course! We are here to see you succeed in creating historical fashions you love. We help you every step of the way through conversational comments in each tutorial and through email, if desired. We create a joyful and safe environment for you to ask any question about your project and receive answers and feedback that can be used immediately.
What if I am unhappy with the class?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and give us the opportunity to address your concerns.
If I change my mind, can I request a refund?
Due to the nature of the materials and intellectual property presented in the class, all sales are final.

Get started now!