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!
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.
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.
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?