Thursday, February 28, 2019

A Circle Skirt and Sweater - Wool for Winter

Back in November I decided to make myself a plaid wool circle skirt. I was inspired by the 1950's full plaid skirts which were making regular appearances on my Instagram feed. I decided I needed one in my closet. I had the perfect fabric in my stash - 3 yards of plaid mid-weight wool I'd recently picked up at Goodwill. And the pattern was easy too - I already had the Crop Dress pattern from Winter Wear Designs which featured a full circle skirt and a contoured waistband, just the pattern pieces I needed!

*Note: I received the patterns shown in this blog post for free in exchange for writing this blog post, but all thoughts and opinions represented are my own.

I printed out the pattern, taped it together, and laid it with the wool - in a pile of fabric in the corner of my sewing room. I intended to make the skirt relatively quickly, because I wanted to be able to wear it all winter long, but, well, that didn't happen. There was always a more pressing project ahead of it on my never ending list. Thus, in the corner my wool fabric and circle skirt pattern sat. Every week I put it on my "I will make this this week" list, yet every week it was the one thing (or one of the things) that didn't get done. My plaid wool circle skirt was in serious danger of not getting done this winter. 

Then Suzanne, the designer behind Winter Wear Designs, announced the February blog tour theme would be "Sew Yourself Some Love". It was time for us bloggers to take the time to make something we wanted for ourselves! With a theme like that, my make for this blog tour was a no-brainer. My plaid wool circle skirt was going to happen!

One of the reasons I put off making this skirt for nearly three months, was because it intimidated me. You see, plaid matching really isn't my strongest suit. It's basically something I avoid at all costs. I know some people are great fans of pattern matching, and take great pains to make sure their plaids, and even some prints, always match across seams. I admire those people. And I will never be like them.
When the idea for this skirt entered my mind, however, I knew I wanted to do it right and match the plaid across the seams. Luckily, with a circle skirt there are only two seams, so this plaid matching thing isn't as bad as it could be. But, still, it wasn't something I was looking forward to.

That said, I did it. I very carefully cut out my skirt front and back so the plaid would match at the side seams.

Then I carefully matched the different stripes together along the side seams and proceeded to slowly sew, hoping for the best.

And it worked out pretty darned well! Even across the lapped zipper I installed in the left side seam!

Sorry, my hand is kind of blocking the zipper, but, I promise you, it's there!
Once I sewed up those two side seams, put in pockets, attached the waistband, and inserted the zipper, I stuck the nearly finished skirt on my dressform for a couple days so the fabric could relax along the bias and I could level the hem, prior to actually hemming the skirt. Due to the nature of the cut, a circle skirt is bound to wind up with an uneven hemline eventually, so it's best to let them stretch out first thing - because it's a whole lot less trouble to fix an uneven hem before you sew it, than it is afterwards.

While my un-hemmed skirt was hanging out on the dressform, I turned my attention to making a top to go with it. Boy was it hard to decide what kind of top to make!

I was sorely tempted to make my standard Winter Wear Designs fallback - a hacked version of the Outer Banks Boatneck (I've made this pattern 7 times so far, and there are definitely more to come), but I decided it was time to go with something different. After a fair bit of deliberation between multiple different WWD top patterns, I finally decided to make the Crossroads Sweater - one of the newest WWD patterns.

The Crossroads Sweater is a mock-wrap top with a wide shawl collar, and multiple length options. It must be made from a stable, somewhat heavy, structured knit in order to keep its shape. (From a drapey knit this sweater would look rather droopy and sad.) Luckily, I had just the right fabric in my stash - the gray sweater knit left over from the scrooge nightcap I made for my brother last year.

Or, rather, it would have been just the right fabric if I'd had enough of it for the entire sweater. As it was however, I only had enough of the fabric left to cut out the front and back of the sweater, along with approximately half of the sleeves (the top half, from shoulder to elbow). Another fabric was going to have to come into play for the wide shawl collar and the other half of the sleeves.

That other fabric turned out to be this sweater from my "to be refashioned" bin. I acquired it at some point in time because I liked the embroidery and appreciated the fact it was a wool blend, rather than all synthetic as many sweaters are. The reason this sweater hadn't been refashioned yet? It was on the small side, so there wasn't a lot of fabric to work with. There was, however, just enough fabric in this thing to finish off my Crossroads Sweater. Almost.

I used the bottom half of the original sweater's sleeves for the bottom half of my sweater's sleeves - thus keeping the embroidery I loved on the original sweater.

I was able to cut the shawl collar from the body of the sweater.

And I even got to keep the chest embroidery from the original sweater and use it across the back collar of my sweater.

Because of this I really, really, like the back view of my new crossroads sweater - though the front view is pretty great too.

The low, open, front neckline requires a tank top or something be layered underneath this sweater. Winter Wear Designs released a new tank top pattern, the Starting Point Tank, just for this purpose, giving me the chance to add a little extra color to my outfit! The only question, of course, was what color tank to make!

Blue to match the pale blue stripes in my plaid skirt?

Or perhaps pink to match the pink stripes?

Or even a red that coordinated nicely with the pink stripes? 

Ultimately, I couldn't pick, so I just made one tank of each color - now I have plenty of options!

And speaking of options - this sweater also looks great with jeans, just in case you were wondering!

 Remember how I said the fabric I harvested from the thrifted sweater was *almost* enough to finish up this sweater? Well, even after adding the sweater fabric to my original fabric pick, I was still short on fabric. I didn't have enough of either to cut the hem band for the Crossroads Sweater - and I really wanted that hem band so my sweater would be long enough to stay tucked into my skirt. So, I found a plain gray jersey knit in my stash and used that to finish up my sweater. It worked, and as it was a rather thin fabric compared to the other two, it was actually ideal for the hem band adding very little bulk under the waistband of my skirt!

All in all, I couldn't be more pleased with how my plaid circle skirt outfit turned out! 

Also, if you're interested in any Winter Wear Designs patterns for yourself, you can get 20% off any and all women's patterns with the coupon code SYSL2019 through this Saturday (3/2/19)!

Don't miss any of the inspiring stops along the tour:

Patricia of Sew Far North


Meriel of  Ellie and Nels

Aurelie of Maglice and So (guest posting at WWD)

Livia of Liviality
Diane of Sewing with D


  1. I find plaid matching to be a finicky, nervewracking business, as well. But well worth the finished results.
    You did a wonderful job with it. Your skirt is fabulous. And I love your partially upcycled sweater. The sleeve embroidery is so pretty.

  2. Really beautiful outfit! I LOVE your skirt! Great job with this!!

  3. Wow! I really like this outfit. You did a great job matching the plaid.

  4. I'm loving this plaid skirt,The whole outfit is great.