A Tweed Skirt for Autumn

Mood Fabrics Wool Herringbone -- Cressida Skirt -- Idle Fancy-1017

There are some projects that begin so perfectly, with just the right match of fabric to pattern, that the universe has to step in and make things more exciting, so that a seamstress doesn’t get too smug. That’s my theory anyhow. Despite being a relatively straightforward pattern, the making of this skirt was filled with calamity! You wouldn’t know to look at it now, of course. It’s all tweedy and prim, with that lovely houndstooth lulling one into dreams of autumn, as if it hasn’t caused a thousand headaches. Don’t be fooled. This skirt may be cute, but it’s evil.

Alright. I might be anthropomorphizing a bit here. My mind is a bit clouded from the hours I spent yesterday, mending a hole in the back of this sucker. Earlier this week, I was happily preparing this skirt to be hemmed, trimming extra threads and praising myself for such diligence, when my scissors slipped and I clipped the skirt itself. There, right in the middle of the back, was a nice floppy triangle of fabric caused by my over-exuberant snipping. Cue some over-exuberant cussing. For me, it’s always the “easy” projects that seam to go awry. This skirt was meant to be a calming project, in between two complicated dresses, but that wasn’t to be. No worries, though. After a few days to regain my composure, the strategic application of interfacing, and a bit of hand sewing, the snip isn’t even noticeable. The skirt was saved!

Mood Fabrics Wool Herringbone -- Cressida Skirt -- Idle Fancy-1024

That’s very good news, we can all agree. I actually adore this skirt, calamities or no. After the release of Jennifer Lauren’s newest pattern, the Cressida skirt, I put all other projects aside and printed the pattern immediately. It’s a semi-circle skirt, with the option of a single or double button placket, and a high waistband. Coincidentally, I had just received the most divine wool houndstooth from Mood Fabrics, a nice medium weight tweed with very fluid body, almost like a heavier challis. It’s ideal for a full skirt, like the Cressida, since it moves beautifully. Even better, with its lines of maroon, navy, and forest green, it matches nearly every sweater in my fall wardrobe. Score! I bought some variegated brown buttons and started sewing.

Mood Fabrics Wool Herringbone -- Cressida Skirt -- Idle Fancy-1033

The construction of this skirt, aside from the clipping horror, was rather easy. Wool, especially in suiting weights, can stretch on the bias more than a regular fabric, so I took some extra precautions. Before sewing, I steamed the heck out of it, to prevent any post-sewing warp, and stay stitched both the skirt waist and the waistband. To match up plaids as well as possible, I cut the whole skirt in one layer, rather than on the fold, with the waistband and button placket on the cross-grain. The herringbone on this gorgeous tweed isn’t quite symmetrical horizontally, however, which I only realized after the fact. I’m going to call the resulting button placket mismatch visual interest and go with it. The side seams, at least, match beautifully.

My favorite thing about sewing with wool is how well it takes seams. They blend like butter, y’all! A good presscloth, some steam, and you’d never know they existed. This tweed was no exception. Once all plaids were matched, I used French seams on both sides and sew-in interfacing for the waistband and button placket. Add a catch-stitched hem and some buttonholes and–voila!–one almost perfect, except for that mended bit, tweed skirt. I’m going to believe my husband, when he claims not to see the mend, and blissfully wear this through the fall.

Mood Fabrics Wool Herringbone -- Cressida Skirt -- Idle Fancy-1111

In the end, this skirt really is perfectly autumnal. For our mild days right now, I’m pairing it with a sweater and my favorite penny loafers, but it’s made for tights and boots weather. I’m so looking forward to breaking it on chillier days! This gorgeous tweed really does go with just about every sweater I own. Plaids always surprise me with their versatility. I’m now plotting this in a few other wools from Mood, actually. I need a whole army of swishy, warm skirts, don’t you think?

Mood Fabrics Wool Herringbone -- Cressida Skirt -- Idle Fancy-1101



  • Faye Lewis
    October 26, 2014

    One word – GORGEOUS!

  • The Nerdy Seamstress
    October 26, 2014

    I love it! Makes me want to make this skirt out of wool too. Very cute as always!

  • Amanda S.
    October 26, 2014

    It’s lovely! And I can totally sympathize about the easiest projects being the biggest headaches. This is true for me 75% of the time. Try to cleanse my pallet with an easy project and end up pulling my hair out. BUT if I attempt a complicated fitted jacket that takes several weeks to stitch up I’ll encounter nary an issue. Go figure.

  • Liz
    October 26, 2014

    Oh I really like this on you. I wasn’t so sure how this would look on the more curvy of us, but it is really flattering. I think I have similar proportions to you so will now be looking to purchase this pattern! Can you make the double breasted one too? 😉 I am thinking a navy one for myself.

  • justine
    October 27, 2014

    I love your skirt! I tend to get careless when making the easiest projects and then make more mistakes.

  • Fiona
    October 27, 2014

    O how beautiful for this time of year! There are so many gorgeous autumnal colours hidden in that tweed and the buttons you have chosen are perfect. Well worth rescuing from calamity!

  • Sallie
    October 27, 2014

    Every year around this time I dream of EXACTLY this skirt! It’s just perfect, and it oozes autumn like apple cider! I’m getting serious vintage-New-England-Collegiate vibes from this, and I love it!
    And I absolutely agree that for whatever reason, the ‘simple’ sewing project are always the ones where I meet with peril every step of the way! Great job saving your wayward snip!

  • Ginger
    October 27, 2014

    Love this on you! It’s a perfect color scheme for fall! So sorry to hear about your cutting incident… I find that, for me, those kinds of mishaps ALWAYS happen right before the finish line. Every single time! Ugh! But this is a beauty and you sure can’t tell it caused you any angst!

  • Cennetta
    October 27, 2014

    I’m glad you were able to save this super cute skirt. It looks great on you with the cranberry colored top.

  • Lori
    October 27, 2014

    I love your skirt, the flare and drape is so pretty. I can just imagine how your heart sank when the scissors went into the beautiful fabric. I am so happy you were able to save it.

  • Sarah Gunn
    October 27, 2014

    Great job on the skirt. Love the buttons!

  • Peter
    October 28, 2014

    The skirt looks perfect — so classic! I have made a few of those dropped-the-scissors mistakes in the past — thank goodness for fusible interfacing is all I can say. Great job!

  • Sew Busy Lizzy
    October 29, 2014

    Oh scissors! They can be our friends and enemies! despite the disaster and the cussing – you have a lovely wearable skirt. It’s lovely on you.

  • Sew Well
    October 31, 2014

    I just spent too long looking at Mood’s tweed fabrics thanks to you! Love this skirt on you. Great fabric and pattern combo! Sorry to hear about the scissors, but I don’t think anyone will ever notice!

  • Alyce Ferguson
    November 25, 2014

    Beautifully done.