On the plaid that nearly drove me mad

I love plaid. I really do! Someday, I will have my own kilt, like both of my parents, who faithfully (if somewhat unwillingly due to the haggis) wear theirs every year for the Robbie Burns dinner. This is not that day; I still have to choose a tartan for my kilt!

DF Navy:red:white cotton plaid

For the time being, I must content myself with plaids such as this. I found this cotton plaid at Downtown Fabrics in the spring and bought a yard, thinking it would be nice as a skirt. Then I avoided it, dreading all of the matching that I would have to do. I finally got around to it last week and it was an experience I will not soon repeat!


                                      Burda 8-2015-118 in black wool and grey pinstripe wool

I started with a simple three-seam pencil skirt pattern from Burdastyle magazine. It’s one I have made before with success. After the grey skirt proved a bit long, I had shortened the pattern. I also changed the vent to one that overlaps. The shorter length proved suitable for a summer skirt. Four darts, three seams, a zip, a vent and a lining: not much to this one, but for the plaid.

Some may not be aware of it, but I am a little particular. Somewhat fussy about things that should align and match. My first issue was with the lining. My navy scraps were not skirt-sized. So, I went with my standby:

Burda 8.2015.118 plaid vent


There is no magenta in this plaid. The line running through it is, in fact, red. However, undaunted, I used my magenta lining AND magenta thread in the serger, which is visible on the vent and hem edges. I’m revolting (in the verb sense) against expectation.

My main objective was to have the hem rest along a dominant white line in the plaid. To this end, I succeeded. It was impossible to match the plaid exactly over the side seams, given the curve of the hip and the fact that one side seam houses the zip.

Burda 8.2015.118 plaid lining

In endeavouring to match the plaid, I installed the zip on the right, rather than the left, side seam.

When I tried on the skirt for the first time, I wondered why the vent was in front. Oops! But look at these side seams and how the plaid matches:

Success! After three attempts to install the zip before finishing the side seam. The fourth try involved finishing the side seam, then putting in the zip. I pinned every single one of those white lines to hold them in place for stitching. The centre back seam looks pretty good, too!

Burda 8.2015.118 plaid back

Again, not an exact match on the plaid, but a match across the seam.

The only remaining difficulty was the waistband. As cut, there was no way it would align with the plaid of the skirt.

Burda 8.2015.118 plaid alternate waistband

The original waistband, cut on the cross grain.

I knew that the waistband would never be seen under a top, tucked in or otherwise. It didn’t really matter all that much, except to me. I am particular about these things, after all. My solution was to recut the waistband on the bias grain so that the direction of the plaid would change.

Burda 8.2015.118 plaid bias waistband

Bias cut waistband doesn’t need to match.

I had to piece the waistband, which means that its side seams don’t match, but even I am not fussy about that…


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