The great thing about sewing patterns in my opinion is that they’re just a starting point. You can play with them until you have something that makes the final garment even more awesome than the original design. Every time I come across someone who has done just that with one of our patterns it makes me so excited. I absolutely love playing a part in bringing someones imagination into reality. Today I’m showing off one of these makes: a tweed Jade Skirt by Sally Fort, aka TinkeringTimes. Below she’ll tell you what inspired her skirt and how she made it.
This Jade Skirt was inspired really by a very particular need. My friend Grace, aka Beyond Measure, sells tweed samples woven at a local Lancashire mill near where we both live on the Lancashire / Yorkshire border in the North of England. Textiles is part of our local heritage and local industry and we’re both very passionate about it so it means a lot to us to be able to use locally woven tweed. It’s really soft, beautiful quality, mostly wool (sometimes mixed with silk or cotton).
She held her first open day last week and we wanted to be able to display some demonstration items so people could see the potential for the tweed beyond the purses or applique they might normally think of. So as well as the two scarves I’d already made for my parents last Christmas, I wanted to make a structural piece of clothing (because I’ve always loved the clothing designs of Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen, so there is a very small and humble homage to them behind it).
There was a practical issue though, in that the tweed samples are only about 15cm wide. So I decided to sew a lot of them together to make a piece of wide fabric.
I’ve also had the Jade skirt saved on Pinterest for ages, waiting for me to get round to making one (in face since Lisa first made her own, before a pattern existed!)
Since I like short skirts and it looked structured in a way that wouldn’t add to my curves (in the way a bustle would) it seemed perfect. I bought the pattern and then noticed it was intended for knit fabrics.
So – having the pattern and fabric, I thought I’d try something I’d already tried out with a t-shirt, which was to use the stretch fabric pattern on cotton, but cutting it on the bias, so it had the stretch needed. And remembering to use a stretch seam every single place it needed stitching so it stretched with the fabric and didn’t ping back and snap.
First of all I did a practice version on cotton just to test out the idea and get used to the folding and construction of the item.
I loved the result so then when it came to my tweed skirt, the ‘how’ is really pretty simple – just piece fabrics together to make a big piece of fabric, cut everything on the bias, and use stretch seams everywhere. So anyone could apply that to any pattern and anything they have in their stash really. I tend to pin, tack (baste) and press frequently too. The back is just the same, and the off cuts were pieced together to make the waistband. I also reused an old chunky metal zip in the back, and used a satin type curtain from our old house for the lining. And pre-washed everything before starting to avoid mixed shrinkage later.. So I’ve tried to make it minimal wastage. The tricky bit was more in the working it out, getting all the pieces the same width, and working out which to put next to one another to get the best colour combinations, and of course working out the folds!
Thanks so much for sharing this Jade Sally! It is just gorgeous – if imagined beforehand I wouldn’t have thought the diagonal stripes in the fabric would work with the folds, but they only enhance each other. The colours are so rich and the tweed is perfect for a winter skirt. Plus it’s so cool to know that cutting a woven on the bias works for this skirt, something I have wanted to try myself but haven’t gotten around to.