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Saturday, February 22, 2014

· Winter Wool Vintage Plaid Skirt ·

It's kind of funny how much personal style and preference changes over the years.

For almost my entire life, I've been one of those people.  You know- those people who can't stand plaid.  Even now, I can't admit to liking plaid.  That would take too much acceptance of a variable, unpredictable design with a marked tendency to the unattractive.  BUT, I am pleased to report that I have now progressed enough in my Plaid Rehabilitation to say that I like this skirt and that I am partial to a precious few other plaids. ;-)  After all, one cannot immerse oneself in vintages photos, patterns, etc. without gradually becoming accustomed to the look.  And maybe almost fond of them.

Consequently, I never made a plaid garment.  This is the inaugural event!  Over a decade of sewing later, I can now feel like a well-rounded seamstress. :-)

All things considered though, plaid was a very handy thing for me to hate!  Designing was so much simpler without having plaid's foibles to take into account.  Pattern layout was so much easier without its pesky intersecting lines in both the horizontal AND the vertical.  Body imperfections loved not being highlighted by plaid's unforgiving nature.  Seamstresses appreciated not having to use 384 pins on each seam.

After finishing this skirt, I wondered why I didn't just revert to my former hatred and save myself any future frustrations.  And more importantly- why I had 3 more fabrics in stash set out for making in 2014?!

In all honesty though, I am so glad I persevered through the struggles and succeeded in making this skirt.  It has become a wardrobe staple, and I really don't know how I made it though every other winter without it!!

I was originally going to do a reproduction of an amazingly cool 1930s bias skirt with interesting seaming and insets- with this 2 yard piece of vintage wool that I picked up at the antique store.  Reality eventually set in after attempting 5 different layouts and thoroughly confusing both Mom and myself, and I reconciled myself to a plain, pleated skirt.

(Oh, and I must mention my newly-found and instantly-beloved arrow brooch!!  It is so perfect.  I LOVE it.  And it pairs quite nicely with my equally-beloved arrow hat. :-) )

The pattern is an 80s pattern with a suitably 1930s vibe- McCalls 2638.  I added the bias strips above the pleats to console myself over the loss of my original plan. ;-)  I wanted to keep this skirt "lighter", so I focused the visual attention on the white stripes.  The pleated insets were pleated to the white stripe, the center front of the skirt is a white stripe, etc.

The layout ended up working to assemble the skirt "to the sett" so that the plaid is undisturbed all the way around.  Due to fitting tweaks during construction, some of the stripes ended up needing to be a bit larger than the original, but all-in-all, I like the way it turned out. :-)  The front seams drove me nuts with their shaping!!  I made it up, it fit perfectly, but the stripes were chevroning in an unpleasing manner. :-/  Try again.  Still not good.  Try again.  Same.  Put in drawer.  Return next day.  Try again.  Still bad.  Use 247 more pins.  Pout.  Try again.  Success. (finally!)

And then there's the length.  All of my 1930s stuff ends up the same length!  And I feel like they're a bit too short.  So with this skirt, I was going to change that!  But despite all my good intentions, it ended up being the same length as everything else! :-/  Bummer.  It's still a perfectly acceptable length, I was just hoping for longer.  Next time. ;-)

But for now, I'm just going to bask in the accomplishment of successfully making my first plaid garment.  And the even more major accomplishment of liking it. :-)

· Pictures by the marvelous Kathryn! ·


  1. If anyone ever asks you what makes you stand out from other seamstresses in the world, you can just answer, "384 pins."

  2. Very pretty! Looks warm for winter. =)
    I also love your shoes - where did you find them?? I've been looking for a pair of heels similar to those for quite some time. I ordered some from ModCloth but they didn't fit =(

    1. Samantha, I got them at Sears about 3-5 years ago. The brand is I Love Comfort. :-)

      I'm sorry your ModCloth shoes didn't fit! That's too bad. :-/

    2. Thanks!
      Yes, it was disappointing, but I do have a pretty hard time finding comfortable shoes. I Love Comfort sounds perfect. =)

  3. Wow! For your first plaid garment this skirt turned out extremely lovely and the plaid is spotlessly matched! I can tell you, when I made my first plaid garment I was not as concerned with plaid matching as you were with this skirt. ;P
    As always, marvelous job!

    the Middle Sister and Singer

  4. So fabulous! You did a marvelous job :) I would definitely make myself more plaid garments if it weren't for the dreadful task of matching up the stripes... ugh!


  5. Cute, cute, cute! And, as always, your styling choices are so picture-perfect (read: I WANT YOUR HAT!!!). That arrow broach is precious, too - reminds me of Gwendolyn and the archery scene in Daniel Deronda. :-)

  6. Lovely job! The bias strips and pleats are so interesting. I'm partial to plaid anyway though. :)

  7. GREAT JOB!!! Love the vintage look!! You are such an inspiration to me where the vintage look is concerned. SO thanks for your great vintage styling!!!!

  8. Great job! Plaid can be very frustrating with all the matching & whatnot. I personally have a deep and abiding love for plaid - must be the Scottish in me! :)
    I have a couple wool plaid skirts & I couldn't have lived without this winter! :D I love how the pleats are just on the sides since pleats are so "fabric hungry". I have a pattern similar to this one, but it's quite a bit shorter...I think I'll try to lengthen it to achieve the look you have here! Love, love, love it! :D

    Sorry this was a bit rambly - I just started typing things out as they popped into my head. :)

    1. Ramble away, m'dear! Those are the best sorts of comments! :-)

      After the post, I'm almost tempted to tackle some of my other plaids...! But I have a few "must finish" projects between now and then. :-/

  9. I just bought this pattern because of your beautiful version :-) I'm probably not brave enough to make a plaid version though, but it might look nice to only do the pleats in plaid? Anyway - I love your skirt!

    1. That sounds like a fun idea! Can't wait to see what you come up with! :-)



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