Vintage Sewing

Mad at the Plaid

January 12, 2013

Hey, I made a plaid dress! More pictures are on my blog.

I worked on this dress in stops and starts for a few weeks towards the end of last year. I love plaid/tartan but completely understand why I don’t often sew with it – it makes me mad. Getting everthing to match and line up is time consuming and, let’s be honest, a real pain in the bum! It also doesn’t help when the plaid I’m using is rectangular as opposed to square, but that’s what you get when using fabric from your stash that you thrifted years ago for about $4. You can’t have it all.

13 Jan 2013 3

13 Jan 2013 6

I have to admit though, that despite the time consuming nature of the fabric, I am quite chuffed with how it turned out. Especially where the shoulder straps line up with the bodice. I think it’s also a lovely detail the way the plaid in the straps is angled before coming into a nice matching line down the bodice front.

13 Jan 2013 7


13 Jan 2013 5I got the back to line up! Yay!

I’m not as pleased with the bias waist band though and really should have tried harder to make sure I started with the point of a rectangle in the centre top as opposed to the middle of one. I didn’t really have enough fabric to recut the waist band but the print itself, luckily, is busy enough to compensate for that. You live and learn.

Overall I really liked the pattern. I was worried about the bodice fabric bulging out the side of my arm pit because there are no side bust darts in this dress, but it sits really nicely. The bodice is fully lined with the same plaid fabric and the waist band is underlined with a plain white cotton (which I highly recommend if you are cutting this on the bias – gives the fabric more stability.

Overall I really love this dress. I wish I could have made the skirt a bit fuller but there just wasn’t enough fabric, I added as many pleats in the skirt as I could!

I think it’s going to be a great transitional piece as we head into autumn this year, and it works well as a summer dress that’s more work appropriate. I can now tick number 3 off my sewing list.

Pattern 10

Do you use plaids in your sewing often? I’d love to hear any tips you have for making it less ‘a pain in the bum’ if you have them!


  1. Wow. That is sew beautiful.
    A real eye catcher & the pattern is really cute.
    One of my pet peeves is plaids, checks & stripes that don’t match up on purchased garments, but it is an arduous task to get them all right when you are cutting. Good work, I think it looks brilliant.

  2. I love your dress! Don’t be too hard on yourself, if you didn’t tell I would not have seen it!

    I do love plaid/tartan fabrics too but I can totally obsess about matching everything so I don’t use it that often.

    1. Hi Anthea, I’m the same with plaids. I tend to avoid them if I can because it’s so time consuming trying to match them. But it’s nice, having spent all that time on the dress, that it’s one I’ll get lots of wear out of!

  3. This is really nice! Very jealous of your matching skills! I love that pattern, especially that cut jacket that goes with it. Are you going to give that a go?

    1. Hi Lianne, I don’t have any plans to make it yet – it’s a bit too hot over here for it at the moment! But I might make it in a few months time if I can find some fabric I like that matches 🙂 My matching skills came with many an unpick and a few tears, hehe 🙂

  4. I love it!

    You’ve done such a great job, I’m yet to sew a frock with tartan from my stash… but I have had some tricky times just matching up stripes, so I feel your pain 🙂

    You’ve inspired me, I’m looking to winter and autumn too…

  5. I LOVE your dress! It’s a wonderful style on you! The only reason anyone would guess that you made it is because it fits so well & your plaids match so perfectly – I can tell you really spent some time on it. I especially like that the plaid at the hem and pleats are lined up horizontally. (The only reason the waist bugs you is because you stared at it up close for so long – in a couple weeks, you won’t see that as much.) Beautiful job! =)

  6. This is lovely and, as someone else above has mentioned, I’d never have noticed the thing about the waistband if you hadn’t mentioned it. And even now that you have mentioned it, I still don’t see it as a problem!

    I really like how the pleats came out in the skirt. Did you use a pattern or just wing it?

  7. So beautiful! I didn’t notice your waistband mess up and I refuse to look. I love this dress! What a great job!
    The only stripe matching tip I have is use double sided fusible tape to line up the plaids before you sew. Just learned this when working with knits but if you were working with a fiddly woven I think it would work too.

  8. I think it looks great. I’ve maid a plaid/tartan skirt before and didn’t even think about matching up the pattern and it turned out ok naturally. Planning to make another skirt this time differenct cut but still won’t worry about matching.
    the best way is not to obsess over it and just go witht he flow.

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