Going through my wardrobe recently I realised that the two plaid shirts I own were both pretty ratty, which is probably unsurprising when you consider that I’ve worn them for everything from Duke of Edinburgh expeditions to painting a stable roof. They’re also one of my go-to clothing options when I’m heading out for a leisurely ramble in the countryside. Unfortunately a trawl through the high street failed to turn up any acceptable replacements, so I’m turning to my trusty old friend the sewing machine to make myself a snuggly hiking shirt.

As I apparently like to make life hard for myself, I’m going to use tartan fabric. It remains to be seen if my blood-pressure levels will cope with the amount of pattern-matching that this is going to involve, but with luck the end result will be worth it. I’ll do a series of posts as I work my way through, and try to include some helpful tips in case you fancy getting your craft on and whipping up a checked masterpiece of your own.

Pattern – I’ve chosen Simplicity 1538 (view B, sans the contrast fabric), but you can use any shirt pattern you like. Try to keep it simple though – plaid is enough of a challenge to work with without introducing complex construction into the mix.

Fabric – I’m using brushed cotton in ‘Black Watch’ tartan from the lovely people at Truro Fabrics. This fabric is great as the pattern is woven rather than being printed on to the fabric. Woven is preferable, because if a printed pattern is even slightly off the grain of the fabric it will be much more difficult to work with.

Tip – When working with plaid it’s worth buying at least an extra ½ yard for small-scale designs and a full yard for large ones, just to give you more leeway for pattern-matching when you are cutting out your pieces.

In the next post we’ll look at some of the things you need to consider when working with tartan fabric  (including the dreaded pattern matching!)

Follow these links to see the rest of the posts in this series:





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