Sunday, December 27, 2009

Knock It Off : How I copied my favorite Plaid Skirt (PIC HEAVY)

I REALLY LOVE this skirt.....

I always pair it with black tights and a cute pair of Mary Janes, throw on a fierce jacket ( did I just say "fierce"--I sound like Christian from Project runway season 4--- LOL!) , and maybe a scarf and I've got a cute look.  The other day I got to wishing I have a few more of these skirts. Then I thought to myself, "why not knock-it-off?". After analyzing it I realized it's as simple as a skirt goes and has no complex design elements just a front piece and back piece with 2 darts. So I set off to copy this skirt.

Now this isn't my first time copying a ready to wear garment. I did it once before, maybe about 2 or so years ago, for a client. To be quite honest it was FAR more complex than this simple skirt. It was this Narcisco Rodriguez dress work by Julia Louis Dreyfus (Elaine for all you Seinfeld fans!!!) for one of the Emmy's (can't remember which one).

 Aside from a few changes it was a pretty good match. I'll have to tell you that story one day--hopefully before the year's end. It's a pretty funny one and I thank God that although I didn't really know what I was getting myself in to the end results were great. But I think it took me a couple of weeks to recover from the stress I'd been under. That was an intense experience....and one I learned a tremendous amount from.

Ok, back to the plaid skirt. Where was I? Oh....yeah, so after analyzing the skirt I decided to go ahead with it--especially since it was super simple. I folded the front skirt piece in half and traced it with Pellon grid material. I would've used tissue paper but for some reason couldn't find any. Well it turns out I like this better anyway. I found it at Jo-Ann's in the interfacing section.  I probably should've tried ironing out the wrinkles but to be quite honest I wasn't sure if it could handle the heat. I didn't think the few wrinkles would be too problematic.

(skirt front folded in half in preparation for tracing)

(tracing material)

(up close of tracing material)

(tracing the plaid skirt onto the grid material)

I  traced the skirt and created a pattern that required laying the fabric on the fold. But then I realized that in order to have the plaid pattern point diagonally I had to cut the fabric on the bias which required me to open out the skirt and trace the full skirt pattern piece. I only needed to do this once since both the front and back skirt pieces were the same. Once I traced the skirt pattern I added all of the seam allowances. I added 1" to the waist, 5/8" to the side seam and "about 1.5" to the hem.

I found a perfect plaid in my stash to use--it has a tan base with brown, salmon, and burgundy lines in it. I laid out the fabric, overlayed my pattern on the bias and cut out two pieces. Since I cut this skirt on the bias I was a little nervous that it would need time to stretch a bit before sewing so I hung it for a couple of hours. After trying it on I decided to go ahead  and sew it but leave out the two darts in the back since the skirt seemed somewhat snug in the waist.  I sewed up one side and added a 7" invisible zipper in the other. For the waistline I added 1/2" twill tape and folded it down 1/2" twice and sewed it down---just like the original skirt. Then I just sewed the hem and I was done. It was as easy as that.

Here it is the Finished Product: I think it turned out really well. I wore it to church and it wore well. But I noticed that the waist expanded a little with wear. Since the bias is the stretchiest part of the fabric it makes since that this would happen. Besides needing to go back and add the original  2-1/2" darts in the back it fits perfectly. I'll definitely make a few more of these in some other cute plaids. What do you think????


(FYI: This is the reference book I used to gather some info on copying ready to wear clothes. I think chapter 24 or 25 covered this )


  1. I think you did a great job of copying that rtw skirt. Great job.

  2. Your new skirt is perfect and looks great on you!

  3. Very cute! Those plaids always make the best skirts that last for years...Major stle milage!


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