Fix-it Friday: Turquoise Tartan

I bought this 70’s skirt from The Paper Bag Princess op-shop a while back – please help with my addiction, it doesn’t even fit!  I loved the teal and turquoise colours, and I’m making a concerted effort to add colour to my wardrobe so the decision was easy really…..

…when I saw these massive seam allowances:

Looking closer, it has been taken in even further on one side.  Whoever made the alteration removed half of the waistband, took in the R side seam, and sewed the waistband back together again – all to avoid interfering with the zip.  This means the darts and tartan are both off-centre, something that Needs To Be Changed!

However I’m happy that they didn’t trim the waistband extension off, because I’m going to need that!  It has a half back lining and a CB inverted pleat, and lots of wrinkles!  The lining has a CB ease pleat, and the lower edge has been stitched and pinked:

Today I finally got around to letting it out to fit.  I practically unpicked the whole thing – although the original stitching was tidy, the later alteration was a bit RSB*

The skirt was basically returned to it’s original fit, the only change was to straighten the hip curve a bit. Unfortunately this meant resetting the zip – something I hoped I wouldn’t have to do as lapped zips are such a pain in the side seam!

So here it is, a much better fit:

I really like it with purple for some reason, and fuschia for a real pop:

And maybe I can make  it work with my new golden bargain investment from the House of G:

Any other colour suggestions?  Amazing really, once you get more colour in your wardrobe, how much more interesting your options are.  I know – it has taken me a long time to come to this conclusion!

*RSB – this is a term my first employer used to apply to poorly made garments, or a machinist who favoured quantity over quality.  I think it must be ‘old rag trade slang’, as this is the only time I’ve heard it used.  Actually, she used a lot of these types of phrases – a whole new terminology to me, lol – but they still echo in my head and I think of her whenever the appropriate situation arises! 
What?  You want to know what the R, the S and the B stand for?!  Ok then, it is rip, shit or bust!

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Designer, Patternmaker, Blogger Of All Things Sewing. Follow as I share projects, patterns, and my favourite tricks of the trade.

39 thoughts on “Fix-it Friday: Turquoise Tartan

  1. Both my grand mother & mother use ther term RSB, my mother worked in the rag trade in the late 60s but never my grand mother, I'm not sure if she got the saying off my mother, but I have heard her use it a lot and also my late grandfather used it.
    Thanks for the great posts.


  2. I'm not sure mustard is the right colour for me either! I figured with red lipstick and a jewel colour nearby I might be able to wear it, so I'll see how it goes!


  3. Wow, it's always interesting to sort of disect these garments that have been in the hands of others – I mean, been sewn by or altered outside of a factory. It's like unearthing a time, and a situation, and a personality!

    I've hit a bit of a slump in my sewing (actually, a costuming project has taken over), but I'm in the middle of friday-fixing a thrifted, home-made shirt, and whoever made it used the tiniest machine-stitches ever for the hemming… there must have been 30 or 40 to the inch!

    Anyways, I like seeing what has happened to garments, and then of course.. to add my own layer!

    Oh, and the skirt! I love these colorful outfits, they suit you! The fuschia cardigan especially is a favorite!


  4. What great colours! Not sure if I prefer it with the fuchsia or the gold, they are both lovely. I've never seen a lining finished like that before. I'd be afraid of fraying, but it obviously didn't.


  5. In our family the saying was RS tear and bust. My parents are English, went to NZ in 1955. Both worked in the car industry, but not sure if that has any bearing on where the saying came from. We have a few odd sayings in the family.


  6. Lovely refashion. In the 50's and 60's this was a standard style of skirt. The better quality ones were fully lined. I remember my cousin having many of them. Her Mother was an expert seamstress and her's were the standard by which I measured everything. A more affordable example was made with the seat lining to avoid stretching the wool after sitting. I remember seeing the pinked edges, no hems on these because it would shadow through. A very nice example this one. I admire your jump to adding more color. With that, I continue to struggle.


  7. I would have never thought to pair the purple & fushia with that skirt, but I really like the combo. I especially like the mustard with the skirt. Yet again, I learn something from you!


  8. Oh, how neat! You know, I don't think it would even occur to me to look at the inside of a too-small garment to see if it were able to be let out. Great save! And great looks with all the colour… 😀


  9. Nice score on the woolen skirt! It was nearly a complete remake, sounds like, but at least you didn't have to cut it out in the first place. I like the colors in the plaid. They're almost like indigo in that they go with every other color.


  10. Yes – cutting plaid…!
    The waistband isn't centred at all though, and it isn't even interfaced so I suspect it might have been salvaged from the hem at one stage. I used it though as it was buttonholed, plus I didn't have any choice!


  11. My Dad used to use RSB, he was a panel beater, maybe it's trade/blue collar talk? As for colour, I think in NZ we are dangerously obsessed with black; I love watching people take the leap into colour. Especially during winter I always find a bold hue will perk me up no end!


  12. Ahhh great find! Being a little larger, when I go thrifting I find many things are too small, but I never remember to check the seam allowances. I'm going to do this always now! I think the skirt would look great with navy on top!


  13. I agree, I think NZ needs colour so your new skirt fits the bill perfectly! In my parents home it was always rip tear and bust, but I grew up in a catholic family so that may explain why we used the “nice” version. I like your reference to “House of G”. I have to admit to owning a few “house of g” cardigans myself!


  14. A great save – I've had this exact “before” look with skirts in my own wardrobe, but am not very good at getting them to the “after” look…

    I love your colour combinations, especially the yellow cardigan.


  15. It looks great. It was a lucky break that the last owner left so much seam allowance on the garment. I like it with the fuchsia and I bet it would look good with a bright green too. The skirt looks great on you. I can't believe how nice and green everything in the background looks! Its still bleak and snowy here in Canada.


  16. The skirt worked out really nicely.
    And I know what you mean about adding colour to one's wardrobe. Once you really get started a whole new world of possibilities opens up…


  17. Great save! I love the jewel tone pops of color! I'm constantly snatching up thrift items that don't fit, yet have lots of refashioning potential in the seams.


  18. Lovely skirt and those colors are a blast. I like both the mustard and the jewel tones… it's so fun to play with different contrasts. The fuschia is a pretty color on you. I just saw a spread on color that paired seafoam with a cooler coral and they were so beautiful together. I know coral tends to be a spring/summer color but it could be something to try!


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