Friday, November 9, 2007

Plethora of Plaid

I have been a very lazy blogger lately, but I have been sewing. I have always loved plaid fabric. And for some reason, plaid has been popping up in my life a lot in the last few weeks. I finished my purple plaid swing jacket. McCalls pattern 5480. I love the violet background color and the grey bands match grey dress pants/skirts for work and faded black jeans for play. It is the first time I have ever made a bias cut jacket and I chose to do it in an uneven plaid. It is hard to see, but the bands of grey stripes are wider in one direction. If I had thought this project though, I probably would have never started. Sometime it is good to just plunge in, unaware of the trials and tribulations ahead. I carefully cut all pattern pieces out one at a time, matching the plaid at the notches. The right and left front were identical mirror images of each other, the bands of the plaid chevroning perfectly at the center front. Only after I had cut everything out, did I realize the jacket right front overlapped the left a good 2 inches, and because of the uneven plaid it would not match at the overlap. After much thought, I decided to make the plaid chevron at center front by adding a separate band for the overlap. This simulated a center front seam where the plaid matched and continues the pattern into the left front . The pattern called for big 1.5 inch buttons. I cringe about making big button holes because they always seem to gape and stretch. I notice that in this fall’s RTW clothes, a lot of big buttons have big snaps under them, eliminating the need for the button holes. But I chose to use the center front seam for in-seam button holes, which are easy to make.
While I was working on the jacket, the family attended a Celtic Festival and Highland Games. I really enjoyed looking at the plaid kilts of the game contestants and in the vendors' booths. Each one was prettier than the previous one. Both my husband and I have Scottish ancestors, but they must not have been “highlanders” because there is no plaid allocated to the names. Too bad, my 15 year old son really wanted a kilt. Yes, I was shocked too! There were some guys there that really looked good in their kilts. A pair of wide shoulders, the pleats of their kilts swaying from narrow hips, muscular calves in thick socks. Nice! But I don’t think it is a good look for my 140 lb, 6’ 4” son with his stick legs. I also noticed that some men have the same fitting problems as women, like shapely butts and rounded tummies. Unevenly hanging pleats really emphasize them.
Earlier this week I asked my husband what he would like for his birthday, he replied “ I want a new plaid vest, just like the one you made me.” When my memory failed to recall this item, he went down to his work shop and brought up the reversible vest shown in the pictures. The thing must be over 25 years old. I can’t remember if he was my boyfriend or my husband when I made it. Based on the gap in the front when he tries to close it, I say he was still a boyfriend. I was amazed at the work that went into it. I quilted the heavy brown cotton fabric to some kind of batting. There are shaped bands around the armholes, welt pocket on the wool side and patch pockets with flaps on the outside and button closures. My sewing skills were still developing when I made it. I can see the “large” hand sewn stitches tacking the armhole and bottom bands in place. The plaids on the welt pocket don’t match. I can’t remember the pattern I used or doing any of the work, which bothers me a bit. He requested that the replacement have a reversible zipper and a brighter plaid. And, I thought to myself, I can use pre-quilted and water/wind resistant fabric, snaps for the pocket closures, elastic ribbing at the bottom. It is amazing the new fabrics and notions that are now available to sewers, that were not around back in the 80’s. And I will need to make it. Hubby is a Medium Tall. Retailers seem to think all tall men are “big and tall”. A quick perusal of the Cabela's, Woolrich, etc. catalogs did not yield exactly what he wanted. Plus my stash contains loads of wool plaid remnants from the Woolrich store in Woolrich, PA which was conveniently located near Penn State University, where I went to college.
And the last plaid coinky-dink. The Activities Committee at work announced November’s activity as an outing to a dinner theatre. The play…..Forever Plaid.


  1. Wow, that jacket was some hard work! Well worth it though, it's beautiful!

  2. Love your plaid jacket. Purple is one of my favorite colors as it is so versatile. Your DH must have really treasured that vest you made him. Good job on the 2nd one.