Have you been watching the Commonwealth Games? As I type this England are battling it out with Jamaica for the bronze medal in the netball. It’s 37-37 in the final quarter and it could not be tighter. Anyway, you may have spotted the Scottish team’s uniforms from the opening ceremony – a… erm… bold nod to their traditional roots. In a daft moment the other day I realised I could produce my own take on their lovely togs. While I was born on the English side of the border in Carlisle (and therefore support England), my granny’s family was Scottish so, y’know, there’s a tenuous link there.
So, you may remember the tartan-on-acid cotton I bought from John Lewis a few weeks ago. The orange and pink tartan is really not something that I’d normally buy, but it’s a fun print and it was on sale, so why not? I was originally going to make Tilly and the Buttons’ Picnic Blanket skirt, but after a bit of thought I’m not convinced that gathered skirts really suit my shape. I find pleats a bit more flattering, and in this fabric it’ll look vaguely kilt-like. Braw!
I used the box pleat skirt pattern from the second Great British Sewing Bee book, which is marked as easy and uses just three pattern pieces. So far, so simple, yes? Not quite. The skirt calls for a lapped zip, but while the written instructions are clear, the pictures do not match up which confused me no end. It took me a while to get my head round it (I’m still a bit suspicious of zips), but when I eventually worked it out the zip went in first time.
The other issue was a discrepancy between the instructions and the waistband pattern piece. The waistband has notches on both of the long sides, yet the instructions tell you to turn under the long unnotched side… You’re then supposed to match the notches to the top of the skirt itself but there aren’t any notches on the skirt pieces! I had to think long and hard about this (I swear, spatial awareness and visualisation are really not my strong points), and finally worked it out by how the overlap for the hook and bar would work. After that little headscratcher I found it all very straightforward.
With such a busy tartan I did not even attempt to pattern match through the pleats. I daresay it would be simpler if the tartan ran horizontally and vertically, but the print is placed on the diagonal, so it looks a little skewed but I won’t be losing sleep over it.
In order to keep in with the Scottish team theme, I paired this up with my Arcade Fire t-shirt – it’s the only top I have in anywhere near the right shade of blue. I think if this skirt is going to get any wear at all (cos let’s face it, it is LOUD) I’m going to have to wear it with a plain black or white top. Anything else and I think it’s just going to clash way, way too much. I like the shape of the skirt, and now that I’ve ironed out the issues with the pattern/instructions I will be making it again. Just maybe in a slightly more wearable fabric…
England lost the netball too… Boooo. Here’s a couple of outtakes…