I visit charity shops on a regular basis, almost always blinkered, and head directly to the fabric section and back. But a couple of weeks ago I was drawn magnetically to the back rail and to this wonderful tartan skirt.
The lady who served me knows me all too well and said she just knew it had my name on it!
The label read ‘Basler Collection’, which I hadn’t heard of but I was assured it was sign of good quality.
Back at base and on further inspection, that was verified…
French tacks held the facing in place.
The pattern matching is faultless, across all pleats and seams.
And an internal button and loop adds that extra safeguard to zip-ups and unintentional zip-downs. Fine quality zip too!
The hem is blind stitched by hand. Though I can’t guarantee this was an original feature.
I only say that because the detective in me has spied that the previous owner had made adjustments to make it smaller… by making two fat darts at the back of the skirt. Inclusive of the lining. Very lazy and detrimental to the positioning of the side seams but I suppose that’s the sewing-snob coming out in my know-it-all self!
All the above aside, this lovely skirt was way too big for me and way too granny-long. And so my mission which I chose to take to the table, was to fix it and properly. I put my £7.99 where my mouth was and turned this beaut into something that should have already have been in my wardrobe.
Yes I know I could have made one from scratch. It’s not that tricky. But not for anywhere that price tag. The label says 100% virgin wool. Virgin, I tell ya! I even had to Ask Jeeves what that was! Transpires that stuff can sell between £20 and £80 per meter!!
And so I was already quids in. And so I decided it was worth the work.
First to unpick those fat back darts.
Initially, I was going to pin the excess at the waistline whilst wearing the skirt. But have you ever tried to do that without stabbing yourself or at least getting both sides even.
Common sense prevailed thank goodness and I opted to measure my waist, measure the waist of the skirt and deduct the first measurement from the second…. doh!
Once I determined how much I needed to lose (6 inches in total!), I divided by 4. I needed to mark 1.5 inches down each side from the top of the waist band and gradually blend in with the side seam where it felt natural. I was quite keen to keep the width of the pleats and to create a more A-line silhouette at the same time
I needed to separate the facing from the skirt and also the lining from the facing. More detail was revealed in a 1cm fusible stay tape at the top, sandwiched between the main fabric and the facing.
Once I’d stitched and pressed the seams open I tried it on for fit.
All was good so I evened up the seam allowance and overlocked. I left a generous SA as before as there’s every possibility I’ll need an increase after Christmas. This skirt is definitely in for the long haul, baby!
I didn’t reduce the width of the lining. Merely pleated the excess to one side. Never a worry to have the lining bigger than the skirt.
Lastly, I just needed to shorten it. Luckily this skirt was cut perfectly so all I need to do is follow the horizontal line of tartan to cut.
I overlocked the edge, pressed well and hand stitched with invisible stitches
Me in my new perfectly fitted Basler tartan skirt!
I wish I’d have taken a before picture now. There is such a difference. The shaping has made a much better silhouette and the shortening of the length has made if much more modern!
Not quite as exciting as a brand new make. But I’m so glad to have gained a great quality skirt at a fraction of its worth and to have given it a second life… and of course the feel good factor of having donated to a good cause in the meantime. Win, win, win!
And throughout the whole sewing process some totally fond ‘virgin’ memories sprang to mind …