An Emerald Isle Gem
The mornings and evenings are getting chilly, the leaves are turning, and wools are comfort sewing if ever there was such a thing. The new Avoca herringbone wools are also in at Fabworks, and I am eager to try the new palette of super fabrics, but first I wanted to make up my 2m of Rich Mossy Green Donegal Tweed Herringbone, which I got in the spring and then found myself putting away whilst I made up dresses in linen and cotton.
The colour is as lush as an Irish field (the sort where you see racehorses munching the quality grass) and it has a nice weight, neither coat-heavy nor cheap and cheerful (so often the fabrics you buy in ready made clothes look better in images than they are when handled). This is not a cheap fabric by any standards. Yes, it is expensive for a Fabworks cloth, but my goodness, the quality oozes from it, and having made up the skirt I wanted I can say with confidence it would cost well into three figures if you bought it off a hanger in a shop, and would certainly not fit as well.
The soft greenish lemon of the light Donegal fleck in the herringbone lifts the emerald that blends with deep dark leaf green in the blending of colours, and has a classy understatement to it until you get up close, when it just explodes in jewel emerald, peridot and tourmaline greens.
When lining my garment I used a viscose lining that matched that greenish-lemon, just to accentuate the brightness (though my iPhone photos look rather flat and grey and do not do the fabric jewel colours justice. The main photo above is super accurate).
My pattern is a six panel skirt from Simplicity (S1560), and I selected the more A-line rather than the kicking out hem. I washed the herringbone by hand, as per usual, and it responded very well, neither shrinking nor losing more than the slightest amount of ‘dressing’.
I dried it flat, of course. I then overlocked all edges of the pieces once cut out and tailor tacked, and it made the making up very satisfying as well as easy. The internal finish looks very professional (though again the colour is not showing very well, sorry!).
When I had it made up I showed it off to my family and friends, who all remarked upon the excellent fit and the nice weight of swing to the skirt, which is down not only to the pattern but the drape of the cloth. I tend to wear my skirts long, especially in winter, though I will be making the next one shorter. It just seemed wrong to cut off excess when the fabric was so good and I had been a bit eager to start and just cut to pattern rather than checking the length accurately. The weight of the fabric could take a couple of asymmetric pleats in a straighter skirt or if you have the legs for it, make yourself an above the knee pencil skirt with a kick pleat in the back, and a matching waistcoat. I am exceedingly pleased with my own result, and know it is going to be a mainstay of my wardrobe for this winter. I am now about to get myself some of the newest Avoca woollens to enjoy, including trying out a colour combination (a nice way to experience two gorgeous colours and be inventive and personal) and I have a cunning plan for what to do with the off-cuts when I have used more of the colours in the range.
When it comes to autumn and winter, it is the ‘expensive’ season for sewing enthusiasts, since cottons are usually cheap to play with whereas wools aren't. However, look at the way a good wool will wear, and remember that a pure wool garment from the high street (and even pure wool lengths from many online fabric sites) cannot give you the value you will get from an investment in a fantastic quality Avoca Donegal Herringbone.
This emerald is actually a diamond of the first water. I thoroughly recommend it to discerning fabric enthusiasts, and am glad I grabbed some first.