Rad Plaid

A while back I was scouring Google maps for a fabric store that was en route to the in-laws and decided to check out a place called Fabric Recycles (no link because no website). I walked in to discover that this store doesn’t have bolts of fabric, but cuts of fabric rolled up and labeled with the fabric dimensions. There are cubbies full of fabric rolls sorted by color and I swear nary a repeat among them. I was overwhelmed by the mis-match between shopping expectation and experience. I had a hard time taking it in. I told my mom about the store and she said, “I bet there’s some really good deals there!” and yeah, I bet there are, but if you’re a novice sewer like me it’s hard to know exactly what you’re getting. I was perplexed and indecisive which always ends, for me, in shopping regret. What follows is the outcome of the fruits of this shopping expedition.

I bought three rolls of fabric.

One roll was blue with an eyelet border I had hoped to make into a child’s dress. Remember when I said the fabric dimensions were printed on the labels? I saw them, but didn’t really think too deeply about them and was surprised to find when I unfurled this cut that was long, but narrow – only maybe a foot and only suitable for a valence. I chucked it.

Another roll was shirting fabric that I immediately regretted. I had some idea of a child’s dress with the stripes on the bodice going a different direction from the skirt, but this fabric was ugly and slippery and not going to work for that. It wasn’t honestly that bad, but it also wasn’t something I was going to use. I made a muslin of the Washi dress bodice and tossed the rest.

The third roll was – you guessed it! – this eyeful. Take it in. How does it make you feel? I am repulsed and attracted to it in equal amounts.


Pattern: Willamette by Hey June
Size: 6
Fabric: Mystery plaid

This pattern is a marriage between a collared shirt and a blouse that I didn’t realize I was missing until I saw it. I like it so well that this is the 2nd time I’ve made it.

Perhaps I should have tempered the loudness of the fabric by cutting view A instead of view B. Mayhaps I could have combined the views for a business-in-the-front, party-in-the-back look if I was so bullish on seizing every opportunity to cut that plaid on the bias. I wasn’t that forward-thinking. I wanted to make view B and I wanted to use this fabric and cutting plaid on the bias is deeply satisfying. End of chain of thought. Result: a very loud plaid made louder and a boxy pattern made visually boxier.


And you know what?

I don’t hate it.

I think I do, it doesn’t seem like something I should like, but then I put it on and I’m like, “Huh. Not bad.”

I didn’t have quite enough fabric for the inside yoke, let alone cuffs or pockets. Luckily that yellow fabric scrap Grandma gave me was a good match. Weird how it came in handy on two consecutive projects. It also guided my button selection. That, incidentally, is one spare button down. Turns out they’re occasionally useful after all!

Notice the no shoes so you won’t know I have no idea how to outfit
I’ve got things on my mind. Things like “I’ve spent years avoiding the camera and I have no idea what to do with my face.”

You can see how lightweight the fabric is. I may have lucked into one of those good deals Mom was talking about if you can get past the colors. I’m wearing it today to a work party. Hopefully people will be able to hear me over my loud, loud shirt.


Sewing first: buying a pattern in a foreign language! In this case the language = French and the pattern = Les Brunes by Delphine & Morissette. Zoe’s sleeveless version grabbed me and and I went down the rabbit hole. Yes, I am referring to Delphine & Morissette’s unusual styling:

(image source: Delphine et Morisette)

Undeterred by models wearing rabbit masks or the fact I don’t speak or read a lick of French, I used google translate to write a simple message to procure the pattern and set about typing the pithy instructions into the same to get the broad strokes of pattern construction. I’ve made loads of similar tops and was sure I could wing it if the pattern translation didn’t make much sense which it often didn’t. I am reassured that some jobs can’t be replaced by computers – yet.

This pattern is so simple, I told myself, just a shell with a new-to-me bust dart placement with some ruffles stuffed in. Easy-peasy! Hubris. I trimmed the the ruffles to make them narrower, then didn’t pay attention to the selvage on the shorts ends so they weren’t captured in the seam. I expected the darts to come to a logical point, but they didn’t and I worry I got the angle wrong. I sewed the bias tape to the inside of the garment which isn’t going to work if you’re trying to hide it. There’s a lot of pulling and puckering at the arm-and neck-holes. I think using a narrower bias tape would help with that, but I was done having my ass handed to me by simple sewing and decided to call it good enough and chalk all the annoying mistakes to the growing pains associated with “winging it.”

Here it is and here I am in front of our ugly chain link fence. But look, wildflowers! There are blackberries,raspberries, and gooseberries back there, too, that I planted last spring for beautification and edibles. Some of the wildflowers are as tall as I am. Some of the weeds, too.

Pattern: Les Brunes
Fabric: Cotton voile from Fabricworm. That’s all know, folks.

I quite like it. Great color, good fit, and I do love those ruffles, I do, I do.