Thursday, November 6, 2014

Rescuing Plaid

If you're familiar with our blog you will know that I like to rescue fabrics from thrift stores.  This is one such fabric.    
The Fabric:
I found this length of wool plaid and just couldn't pass it up because of the beautiful saturated colors.  There's always a risk with wool that it will most certainly have some moth holes and this one really did.  You can't see it in this picture but I held the fabric up to a window and put a blue chalk X on each moth hole.  As if plaid matching isn't hard enough I had to plaid match around all the moth holes as best as possible.  I think I did pretty well with only one pattern piece having some moth hole damage that I repaired with tricot fusible interfacing applied to the wrong side of the fabric.  I don't know if that's the "right" way to fix a moth hole but it worked for me. 

I have to say if you are going to match plaids that my tried and true method is to cut each piece separately unless you have a piece that must be cut on the fold.  Then I match up the lines using pins to hold the fabric together before I pin my pattern piece down.  I also always examine the notches of the pattern to see if the placement matches.  There are a lot of sewing blogs with more detail than I'll offer here on how to match plaids, if you do a search you're sure to find one.  A few of my favorites: here,  here,  and here.  I also like to read my Vogue sewing book for things like this.     

I used bemberg rayon for the lining.  That stuff is a slippery little booger but it makes the inside of your skirt feel so wonderful.  I picked mine up at Hancock fabrics, occasionally they carry it there so when I found this gray bemberg on sale I grabbed several yards. 
The Pattern:
The pattern is from the Sew U Built by Wendy book released some time back.  I'm noticing that there is a copy for dirt cheap on Amazon right now and if I were a beginning sewist I'd snap it up.  I have had this book since it first came out and this is the first pattern I've used from it.  I like the book for the sheer inspiration but I now like the book because this skirt turned out well!  Now I'm kind of itching to make the other two included patterns in the book. 

I made a size Medium from the skirt pattern and my waist is 29 inches and hips 39 inches.  I did however sew the side seams of this skirt with a 3/8 inch seam.  I was worried it might be too tight and have pulling.  I probably could've used a 1/2 inch seam on the sides since the skirt is a smidge loose.  I added a waistband to the skirt as per this tutorial from Colette.  It worked great.  However next time I might widen the waistband about half an inch and then add belt loops.   
She's back there saying "where's my play shoes?"  She's obviously ready for us to go outside. 
I can't decide how I like this skirt best.  I tried it with my tall black boots and with my bootie boots (is that what you call them?).  I think I'm leaning toward the booties but I would like to get more wear out of the tall boots.  I am no styling expert but I think either pair of boots will work.  I also think that this skirt could be styled with a nicer t-shirt or a white button down.  The top in these pictures is a thrifted Ralph Lauren sweater.  I also think that it works well with the top tucked or out.      

Yes that is a baby-doll behind me.  There was playing going on back there.

I'm entering this skirt in the Pattern Review Surprise Sewing Bee Contest going on right now so I had a few parameters that they require you to follow.  My personality is kinda "meh" about parameters- blame it on the "P" in me from the Myers Briggs.  But I am glad that I made this wool up into this skirt because I am going to love wearing it.  The contest had several specifications for your project: A-Line Skirt, Zipper, Closure, Hem, Lining.  So one good thing about all of these specifications is that this is probably the nicest skirt I've ever made.  
See the plaid matching across the side seam!

I've never lined a skirt (a dress but not a skirt) and I did that here.  Makes it muuccchhh nicer.  I used this tutorial to figure out the lining.  I did vary with the zipper since I didn't have an invisible zipper.  I just hand sewed the lining to the zip at the end of the assembly.  I also made sure the hemline was finished well, I serged the edge of the hem and then sewed lace tape to it and hand stitched the hem lace in place.  One other detail is that I used a vintage metal zipper.  It is bright red and sooo cute.  I always love a good excuse to use a vintage notion. 

Over all I am really glad for making this skirt with the right attention this fabric deserved I know I will wear it a lot this winter and it makes me so happy to rescue some sad moth bitten fabric and turn it into something classic.  Its also nice to pull out all the stops and pay attention to detail with a project- a quick make is sometimes what you need but a make with a little extra TLC makes you feel special when you wear it. 

Here's a few final insides pictures for those who might be curious.  
Vintage zipper here. 
Hemline here. 
These are the moth holes that couldn't be avoided.  I just fused them with tricot interfacing.  You can't detect them from the outside of the garment.  
Well if you made it down to the bottom of this post thanks for reading to the end and happy fall sewing!!


  1. This skirt turned out so nicely. You've got a winner there and wil surely get a lot of use from it. Nice job matching plaid and lining. It's very pretty on you and looks good with the sweater and shirt. Love mama

    1. Thanks Mom! I thought you might like this plaid- you were always such a fan of plaid wool skirts. Love to you! E