Plaid Pitfalls and Piping

I have a wonderful enthusiastic young woman client who is a local artist. While her clothes that I make for her reflect her love of color and texture, it is the lining and different techniques that make sewing for her really fun…fun?…yes fun, a real treat!

Normally she brings me very nice fabric and a pattern which has to have a sway back alteration and the usual tweaking but this week she brought Burda 7185 along with some rust/brown wool plaid…a little over one yard.

  View A calls for one yard of fabric  so it seemed very straightforward until I spread the fabric out on the cutting table and found a flaw running across one end from selvedge to selvedge along with a hole where the threads in the weaving process failed to intertwine. Along that same line were 2 black grease marks too. Here is a shot of the problems and layout of pattern pieces.

In order to cut the pieces out avoiding the holes and marks, I overlapped the one selvedge over the other and did a trial layout. Now remembering that plaid needs to match on side seams and center back and center fronts seams, this was a real challenge. The yoke pieces could match to each other but not vertically to the skirt sections which you will see below.

To bring out the brown in the wool I suggested a brown linen piping to be added to the yoke’s lower edge and also facing the yoke with brown linen and interfacing the yoke with twill fabric for stability. The only question was what to use for lining the skirt…normally I use solid colored Ambiance rayon bemberg but it just seems too normal. That;s when I went through my stash for ideas and came up with this combo: While the silk lining has no real matching colors or relationship to the classic wool plaid, it sort of made it less boring and fun. Here is the finished result:

While most of the seam allowance was flipped up into the yoke, I decided to put a Hong Kong finish on the edge of the yoke facing so it could lie flat and be stitched flat from the right side along the edge of the piping. The wool was hemmed with a strip of my favorite rayon Hug Snug hem tape as it can snug up a flared hem back into submission to cup inside the lower edge with no puckers or tiny pleats that look so homemade. So there you have it, a less than perfect piece of fabric but a very happy customer who wore the skirt fresh out of the sewing room yesterday grinning about her great fit and secret funky silk lining. This pattern fit so well I did no alterations and assured my client that she could make this again with her machine using a solid fabric and no piping since she does make clothes for her family and friends that are a little less complicated.

Next time more brides…yes my friends the season is not over…there are 4 more before Dec 22 that have to be altered and steamed along with bridesmaid dresses the day after Thanksgiving. Unfortunately one of my favorite regular custom pants clients has had to wait to have her pants finished but she is very gracious to let a couple brides sneak ahead of her in line. Thank you, Nancy!

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10 Responses to Plaid Pitfalls and Piping

  1. Alethia says:

    Nothing like a good fabric challenge, but a great seamstress will know just what to do, or shall I say
    “make a way out of no way”.
    The skirt looks great and the lining you chose seems perfect. I love the piping detail!

  2. ElleC says:

    I am so glad you have some fun clients that you enjoy sewing for. Not just Bridezillas and crazy women.

  3. mrsmole says:

    It just takes one good one to cancel out 10 difficult ones….she is a gem!
    Readers should visit your blog for a real treat in piecing!

  4. Jacquianne says:

    Thank you for sharing that wonderful skirt and the funky lining.

  5. prttynpnk says:

    I was so glad to see that someone knows how fab you can make things and takes advantage of your creative skills! What a fun customer to brighten the day.

  6. mrsmole says:

    Thank you, Anne! The funny thing was, she tried on the skirt, did a few twirls and wore it out the door. Later in the day, a sewing friend sent me an email saying she saw my client and her new skirt out shopping so I knew it was a hit. Next year I am planning to drop alterations and concentrate on brides and custom work which I love.

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