Southern Plaid top

The Theme
This week’s Sew Weekly theme was “Mad For Plaid.” In the words of Mena:

“Whether you call it “plaid” or “tartan,” this week we’re heading into Fall and back to school with the fabric that originated in the British Isles back in 400 to 100 BC. And, from the learn-something-every-day category, did you know that there are official tartans for the US States?”

The Facts

  • Fabric: about half a metre of plaid knit fabric. I’m unsure of the fabric’s make-up – it’s quite thick and soft and stretchy, perhaps some acrylic/synthetic blend? Cost me the grand total of 20c from Fabric-a-brac a couple of months ago
  • Pattern: one I drafted myself about a decade ago
  • Year: 2011
  • Notions: none
  • Time to complete: 40 minutes from getting the pattern out of the drawer to pulling on the completed top. Woot!
  • First worn: walking the Newtown-Island Bay section of the Southern Walkway today
  • Wear again? Yes, definitely!
  • Total cost: 20c (how’s that for a bargain?!
  • Why ‘Southern Plaid’ top? no exciting reason – it’s plaid, and it first got worn on the Southern Walkway. I wasn’t feeling overly creative with naming it today!

The Story
Originally, I started off making a 1950’s dress in a green-and-white gingham/plaid type print. But I lost interest in it before I even finished cutting it out – it’s too summery and I wouldn’t have been able to wear it for another couple of months, so I’ve put that on hold. I wanted something I could wear now!

That’s when I remembered this remnant of plaid knit fabric I picked up a couple of months ago. Conveniently, there was just enough for a short-sleeved top. I considered making it into a short-sleeved cardigan, as I’m lacking in me-made cardigans that I can wear for Self-Stitched September, but since I’m lacking in me-made tops as well, and a top would go better with what I have planned for next week’s Sew Weekly challenge, it became a top. One loose enough to go over the top of fitted shirts, yet still fitted enough to be tucked into high-waisted skirts. And it’s soft and snuggly and warm to wear as well. 🙂

I considered using a vintage pattern for a knit fabric top, but the reality is that when I make knit fabric tops, I fall back onto a pattern I drafted years ago. Which is what I did again today. I know the pattern so well, I’ve got no idea how many times I would have used it over the past decade but it’ll be a lot!

I finally got around to buying a rotary cutter and cutting mat a couple of weeks ago, after hearing so many of the online sewing ladies talking about them. And all I can say is, I loves them!!! I probably knocked about 10-15 mins off the total time to make this top by using the rotary cutter, a button jar and a candle as pattern weights, and only using pins to fold the fabric along the right line when cutting and again to match the centre of the sleeves to the shoulder seam. The rest I did without pins. Yes, even the turning under of the edges to top stitch them. Thank you lovely sewing community – without you, I never would have thought of these time-saving tricks! You rock.

The Photos
Spring is here (yay!), and today was a gorgeous day – bright blue sky, only a small breeze (for those of you who don’t know Wellington, the strength of the wind features a lot in our assessment of the weather each day). Perfect day for walking, in fact. So Steve and I set off to do the section of the Southern Walkway between Newtown and Island Bay. (We did the Newtown to Oriental Bay section last week. Turns out we live about 1/3rd of the way along the Southern Walkway.) Steve took his camera, and we got a few photos along the way. The two above were taken near the start of the walkway on the ridgeline overlooking Newtown.

Disclaimer: if you’re not interested in hearing about a walk between Newtown and Island Bay, you probably want to stop reading now. I won’t mind, honest.

The Walk
The walk was gorgeous – lots of wandering through bush, listening to native birds (heaps of Tui everywhere today!), seeing glimpses over the southern parts of Wellington. Lots of fun. 🙂 Steve got a few photos on the way, so here are a couple of things we saw on our walk….

We started the walk not far from our house, and headed up to the ridgeline. You could nearly see our house from there – it was hidden from sight by the little apartment block a couple of doors down from us, but you can see where it is in the picture below.

A bit further along, we started seeing glimpses of Kilbirnie and Evans Bay over the other side of the ridge.

Unexpectedly, at one point we burst out of bush to come across a gorgeous old garden – lots of pathways and arches and walls and massive old rhododendrons. I had no idea it was there, but it was the gardens built by the late Truby King. His mausoleum was there as well. It was a gorgeous area – shabby in places, it looked like it had been neglected for quite a long time but it’s now being restored. Truby King is someone who has always interested me – he was a pioneer for women’s and children’s health in New Zealand. We got a few photos here, the gardens were so pretty. First up, the plaque commemorating a hundred years of the Royal NZ Plunket Society.

There were lots of cute little paths, with archways, planter spaces, steps and seats in old bricks dotted amongst them. And in my opinion, the cracks in some of them only added to their appeal.



Further on, we got views over towards Lyall Bay, Moa Point and the airport, with the southern coastline in the background. We could see three lighthouses from there. I like lighthouses. 🙂 There are two in the photo below, little white dots on the cliff in the distance.

Just before we started heading down from the ridgeline back towards the coast, we got views over Haughton Bay. Crazy massive waves hitting against the shores.

We came down to Haughton Bay and stood for a while admiring the waves (they were rather impressive) before we headed off on the last leg to Island Bay and then caught the bus home (admittedly, we could easily have walked home from Island Bay, but it took us 2.5 hours to do this leg of the Southern Walkway, so we got chocolate and took the bus instead. 🙂 ).

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10 responses to “Southern Plaid top

  1. Wow–what beautiful scenery! So lovely to be so near to the water!! The walk looks like it was amazing! I LOVE your plaid top–40 minutes? Woot, woot! That is AWESOME! Great job!!!

    • Thanks Debi! 🙂 I was pretty stoked to get the top whipped up in only 40 mins – it almost felt like it was cheating with the week’s challenge, it was so fast!

  2. Lovely pics Kat, thanks for them, love Newtown many fond memories, going to tech there, my side of town, nice job with the oldy but goodie pattern, I have a little library of those – will have to revisit my fave trousers soon. The weeks are slipping by crazily and I am now the proud owner of a ufo 70’s top, and a gingham (plaid) upcycle pipedream, already planning to have a stab at fabric painting, and have just the fabric for the autumn colours week! But just really want to get a headstart on my mad men outfit incase Mena springs that on us! I am with you in spirit!

    • Oh yes, I’m wondering when she’s going to spring the Mad Men challenge on us! So glad she’s started letting us know about challenges a couple of weeks in advance – it’s nice to be able to have a bit of thinking time, rather than having to make a quick decision about what to make. :- )

  3. Pingback: Self-Stitched September 2011 – days 1-5 | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

  4. I love this shirt, and I LOVE the picture of you looking back at us over your shoulder – so michevious!!

  5. Pingback: Self Stitched September – days 6-10 | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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