In no time at all, my plaid top has gained a matching skirt.
And the back.
It was my HOPE to match the plaid at all four seams. Alas, my cutting strategy was off a bit, so the center front and back are matched:
And at the sides, not so much:
This is how I tried to match the plaid:
I compared the front and back pattern pieces. They were identical except the front was a quarter-inch wider. So I used that piece to cut all four panels so they would be identical, knowing I could just ease in the excess fabric. Then I pinned the pattern once and marked a reference intersection of lines in the middle of the pattern piece and the horizontal lines along the sides. I cut single layer, two face up and two face down.
Aha, two face down was my downfall. The fabric is a woven plaid; there is no wrong or right side. If I had cut all four face up with the plaids lined up with my marks, I only had to flip two pieces to get mirror-image matching along all four seams. As it was, the plaid hit the seam lines slightly differently on each set. So, the centers match on each pair cut the same, but the sides match only on the horizontal lines. This may be obvious to some, but it took approximately 36 hours of pondering for me to puzzle it out after the fact.
Live and learn.
But I did try a new-to-me technique to make sure the plaids matched when they were sewn. I folded the seam allowance to the wrong side of one piece for each seam then laid it on top of the other (unfolded) piece so the plaid matched at the seamline with the right sides facing up. Then I slip basted from the right side so the plaid would stay aligned. After that, I opened up the seam and stitched on the seam line. This took a lot of time, and it was a little tricky removing the basting stitches (which got caught by the real stitching here and there), but it kept my plaid from shifting around too much when I sewed. Good technique.
I also inserted the zipper by hand. I never really liked stitching them in by machine. It seems to be such a crapshoot: Sew and hope for the best. Hand stitching gives you much more control. Sadly, in my first time trying the technique, I stitched too close to the zipper teeth, leaving no room for the zipper pull to hide in the fabric folds. Lame!
Here it is from the right side:
But I do NOT like how it looks on the inside:
All in all, I consider the plaid skirt a success, even with the matching problems at the sides. Regardless, my pattern matching came out better than the example below from a higher-end national retail chain commonly found in malls:
I’ve already worn my happy top and skirt combo. Perfect on a not-too-hot summer day. Throw on a cardigan (of which I have many, many, many), and the outfit can easily be worn during our nice warm Northern California fall.
Next up is a linen version of the skirt that will be three inches longer. Here’s the mood board:
I’m not sure what, if any, attempt at pattern matching I need to make with this fabric. I haven’t examined it that closely yet. But I think there was enough unembroidered fabric along the selvage to use for the waistband.
But it’s linen, and Labor Day is around the corner. I need to get on this quick!
Butterick/See & Sew 5737
Pros: An easy four-gore skirt with a straight waistband that goes together in a cinch. It’s got a decent sweep, but not nearly the sweep of a circle skirt.
Cons: No finished hem width information on the envelope. The pattern companies seem to be moving this kind of information either to the pattern instructions or, worse yet, to the pattern pieces themselves. For me, this is important information when deciding to purchase a pattern. Fair warning to the pattern companies: I don’t want to unfold a pattern in a store to see the finished dimensions, but I will if I have to!