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Camy’s Worsted Cotton Comfortable Skirt with Lace Edging knitting pattern

I made my original Comfortable Cotton Skirt with a simple eyelet round at the bottom, but this one has a simple antique garter stitch lace edging, “Edging to Trim the Body and Sleeves” on page 43 of the book New Guide to Knitting and Crochet, published in 1847. You can download a free ebook copy of the book here. The edging was originally to trim a Baby’s Knit Body, but I have no idea what that is. :P If you do, please do leave a comment.

I also changed the hip increases to 4 distinct darts rather than 8 sections, but if you prefer the hip increases from my original Comfortable Cotton skirt, you can substitute that.

Like the original Comfortable skirt, this one is cotton for summer, and loose for casual wear. It has a little positive ease and is only slightly flared. The waist is drawstring rather than elastic so that I can loosen it on my fat days or after pigging out at my favorite restaurant.

This pattern/recipe is for my size, but there are instructions at the bottom for customizing for your own measurements.

To fit waist: 32”, hips: 43” (about 7” down from top of waistband) with 1” positive ease
Unstretched measurements:
Waist: 36"
Hips: 44.4"
Hem: 46.2”

Yarn: Knit Picks Whisker Comfy Worsted
Exact amount of yarn used: 284 grams = 619 yards
(I was shocked it used the exact same amount of yarn as my original Comfortable Skirt, even though the shaping and edging is different!)

US 6 for waistband
US 7 for skirt
US 5 for i-cord

4.5 sts and 6 rows per inch in stockinette stitch and US 7 needles
(Worsted yarn)
284 grams of yarn = 619 yards

I think the original edging had errors as written—it seemed to be lacking a few knit stitches—so I (hopefully) corrected the errors here.
Cast on 7 stitches.
Row 1 (RS): slip 1 st knit-wise with yarn in back, k2, YO, k2tog, YO twice, k2
Row 2 (WS): YO, k3, p1, k2, YO, k2tog, knit last stitch through the back loop with one live stitch from hem
Row 3: slip 1 st knit-wise with yarn in back, k2, YO, k2tog, k5
Row 4: cast off 3 sts (1 st will be on right hand needle), k3, YO, k2tog, knit last stitch through the back loop with one live stitch from hem
Repeat 4 rows for edging.

Note: my lace edging came out rather fluttery. If you want your lace edging to lie flatter, I would suggest that for every 2nd and 3rd repeat of the edging, on Row 4, knit last stitch through the back loops of two live stitches from the hem. You will end up knitting 8 stitches of the hem for every 3 repeats of the edging (as opposed to 6 stitches of the hem for every 3 repeats of the edging, as I did).

CO 144 sts in the round tubular cast on with US 6 needles.
k1p1 until 0.75” from cast on.
(k1, YO, k2tog, p1) 36 times (or until the end)
k1p1 until 1.5” from cast on.
Next round: Switch to US 7 needles and stockinette stitch and place markers every 36 sts (or, if your cast on was a different number, however many stitches to make 4 sections).

Increase round #1: (knit 1, Make 1, stockinette stitch to marker, Make 1, slip marker) 4 times (8 sts increased, 152 sts).
Repeat Increase round every 0.75” four times, then every 1.25” three times (208 sts, 46.2” circumference).
The 5th increase round (about 4.5” from cast on) should fall around your hip bone (give or take an inch).
The 7th increase round (around 7” from cast on) should fall around the widest part of your hips.
The 8th increase round (around 8.25” from cast on) is an extra increase to make the skirt bell out a little and be a bit roomier. You can skip this increase if you don’t want the extra shaping.

As an example, here are my actual numbers:
Increase round #1: 152 sts, 33.8” circumference.
St st for 0.75” (2.25” from cast on)
Increase round #2: 160 sts, 35.6" circumference.
St st for 0.75” (3” from cast on)
Increase round #3: 168 sts, 37.3” circumference.
St st for 0.75” (3.75” from cast on)
Increase round #4: 176 sts, 39.1” circumference.
St st for 0.75” (4.5” from cast on)
Increase round #5: 184 sts, 40.9” circumference, 4.5” from cast on
St st for 1.25” (5.75” from cast on)
Increase round #6: 192 sts, 42.7” circumference.
St st for 1.25” (7” from cast on)
Increase round #7: 200 sts, 44.4” circumference, 7” from cast on
St st for 1.25” (8.25” from cast on)
Increase round #8” 208 sts, 46.2” circumference.

St st until 17” from cast on.

Keep live stitches on needle. With a double pointed needle size US 6, cast on 7 stitches using a provisional crochet cast on.
Follow the 4-row lace pattern until all the live stitches of the hem have been worked with the edging, ending with row 4.
Kitchener stitch the live edging stitches with the provisional cast on stitches.

Drawstring: CO 4 sts with US 5 needle, knit i-cord for 46”. After threading it through the eyelets, I strung a pony bead through the CO/BO yarn and then wove in the ends.

Customize sizing:
Disclaimer: I’m not a clothing designer, so these are just calculations for other sizes. I did not test knit any of these.

Take your hip measurement at the widest part of your hips. If you want positive or negative ease, add or subtract one or two inches from your hip measurement. My skirt had about 1” positive ease, so I added 1” to my hip measurements (43” + 1” = 44”).

Assuming your gauge is the same as mine (4.5 sts/in), multiply your hip measurement by 4.5. Then round up or down to a number divisible by 8. This is your hip stitch number, let’s call it X.

Minus 56 from that number X, and that’s the number you cast on for the waist. Because of the tubular cast on and the eyelets, the waistband will stretch up to or maybe even past your hip measurement, and the drawstring will enable you to tie the waist several inches smaller. The waist of my skirt, calculated to fit a 32” waist, was actually about 36” unstretched and stretched all the way up to 46”.

For example, 36” hip measurement, plus 1” positive ease = 37”.
37” x 4.5 = 166.5. 168 is divisible by 8, so round up to 168 (this is your hip stitch number X).
Minus 56 = 112 sts.
Cast on 112 sts for waistband. If your waist is more than your hip measurement, it might still fit but it’ll have some snug negative ease through the upper hip area, and it will only loosen closer to the widest part of your hips.

Another way to customize, especially if the cast on at the waist is really off when compared to your actual waist measurement, is to eliminate or add more increase rounds after the ribbing for the waistband. If your waist is a lot smaller than the unstretched waist measurement when you cast on, you can cast on fewer stitches (in multiples of 8) and just do a few more increase rounds to get to your hip stitch number X. Or if your waist is a lot larger than the unstretched waist measurement when you cast on, then cast on more stitches (in multiples of 8) but do a few less increase rounds to get to your hip stitch number X.

Also, this pattern has the hipbone at 4.5” from the top of the waistband, and the widest part of the hips at 7” from the top of the waistband, but everyone’s pelvis is different. If your hipbone and/or the widest part of your hips is higher or lower than 4.5” or 7” from the top of your waistband, then increase or decrease the number of stockinette stitch rounds in between increase rounds.

If you like romance novels, please check out my list of free short stories, novellas, and novels available on my blog! I write Christian contemporary romance and romantic suspense as Camy Tang, and Christian Regency romance as Camille Elliot. Click here to knit the antique scarf pattern from my Regency romance novel, The Spinster's Christmas.


  1. For a *much* neater copy of the book, Project Gutenberg has it (with images) at:

    Still free. AND Project G. has other knitting/fiber books, all public domain. The books are all copied and proofread multiple times into modern type/font available in multiple file types, including just reading online. (I volunteer for them occasionally; I like encouraging them.)

    and, of course, PG doesn't collect your information like Google.

    1. Thanks! I didn’t realize Project Gutenberg had this book!

  2. oh, in addition to other comment -- thank you for this. I'm looking for a skirt patter and this one just won the search. And, I wouldn't have thought to look at Project Gutenberg for knitting patterns if I hadn't checked for your source!

    1. You’re welcome! I love it when I find antique knitting patterns.


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