Monday, 3 March 2014

Tartan Army - My Favourite (ever) Make So Far

Please allow me to acquaint you with the item that I am most pleased with in my sewing career to date - my star make if you will!

It is a tartan dress, made from gifted fabric, using a vintage pattern and jazzed up with some sew on stones.  It's a simple princess seamed pattern that lets the fabric do the talking.

If you fancied making something similar, this current Butterick pattern might work: Butterick B5952. Although it is slightly different, but easier to match the tartan as there are less seams - do yourself the favour!

In "researching" for this, I found out that there aren't many a-line, princess seamed dress patterns out there (even in wardrobe patterns).... go figure!

There are a couple of things that make me love this dress:
* the fit - it skims me perfectly, giving shape without being uncomfortable
* the style - it's simple, yet effective; which works well for me
* the material - I love tartan
* the time I took - all the seams were sewn carefully to ensure that the tartan matches
* the balance - perfectly down the middle of the tartan (if only I could show this to Mr Grant on the Great British Sewing Bee!)
* the glitz - that little je ne ses quoi that really makes it me.

My tips for this make only relate to matching pattern, and are basically thus:
* use all the places possible on the pattern pieces to match the fabric pattern: notches, lengthening/shortening line, pocket placement lines etc etc.
* pins!  I put a pin in at each intersection point, checked it on both sides, adjusted if necessary, sewed, checked, then re-did if necessary.  A stitch in time saves nine, or so they say, in this instance it meant that taking my time brought me to the result I was after.

I have nothing more to say, so here are some (many) pictures.  I'm in love.  I wear this at least once a week, to work and to play.  Thank goodness it's 100% wool as it means it doesn't need to be laundered so much!


  1. Fabulous! I can see why you love it so much - fit is spot on, tartan, retro, jewels on the neckline!!!

    1. Thank you very much Annie - you've got it in a nutshell :-)

  2. Wowzer!!! What a star dress, and no wonder you love it so. The care and attention on pattern matching is well worth it and I bet very time you wear it, it is more special because of the time you've invested in the detail, fit, and bling!! Adorable!

    1. You are exactly right - each time I wear this dress it is like I'm having a new experience with a new friend.... Ha! I'm such a romantic sap. Thank you! Rachel ☺

  3. You look darling! I cam see why it's your favorite make ever. It looks great on you, fab fabric, and it's bejeweled! Perfect combination.

    1. Thanks M! Ha ha, I'm selfishly glad that you are on the internet. Coffee soon? Rachel 😉

  4. Totally awesome! I love tartan too. This got me thinking. Is Scotland a good place to buy tartan? I know that sounds ridiculous, but perhaps you don't have many fabric manufacturers any more?

  5. Thanks for your comment Sewingelle. I’m glad it prompted some thinking, especially of Scotland – it’s such a nice place to think about! My husband was given this fabric by a colleague of his who knew I was ‘crafty’. Bonus! I have seen quite a lot of tartan around, and of varying levels of quality, from high to low and with associated prices in between. I’m not sure how it compares price wise to other parts of the world though. Not sure if that helps at all! Rachel :-)


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