Yeah, the nursery are having a Tartan Day event, which means the children have to dress up in appropriately Scottish attire. Now, I love men in kilts – my own husband wears it particularly well – but I really envy countries where the women get fabby national costume as well. I mean, check out Norway or Korea – sweet, huh?
Whereas a Scotswoman in a kilt is generally just wearing a tartan skirt, and there’s a big difference… I did, for a while, wear a man’s kilt (to gigs, it was a long time ago, in my defence) and it was phenomenally comfortable. It sat so beautifully on the hips and into the lower curve of the back, and it was warm. Unlikely that I can get Miss Small into something like that for tomorrow (not even I will attempt to sew a kilt in a night) so I will take the easy route and make a wee tartan rosette for her cardi.
I’ve got two different tartan ribbons here: Rose and Macdonald. Neither is my own clan – unfortunately Hobbycraft were a little restricted in choice. Macdonald is the broad one; it’s 4cm wide, so I’m cutting a piece 35 cm long. That’s 8 3/4 times the width. Okay, so I eyeballed it…
Right. Sew it into a loop. I used my serger because I’m a big old lazy-pants.
Now, sew running stitch round one edge. Don’t knot the end of the thread, so you can use both tails to tie it up when you’re done. The smaller the stitch the less deep the gathers, I think is how it works, although I can’t think why. If you’re wise, you’ll not jab the needle into your thumb just to see how sharp it is. Trust me, it’s probably sharp.
My stitches were probably about 1/2 cm long. Put the tails to gather the fabric into the centre like so, then tie off tightly. I’m keeping the long tails to use to sew the rosette together. I’d like to say that was preplanned but it’s only just occurred to me.
Do the same with the smaller ribbon. Mine is 2.5cm wide, so I’ll cut about 25cm. Here are the two rosettes. Look! I made a funny face…
Now I want to sew them together onto a backing. I’m also going to add in a couple of tails. I don’t want them ridiculously long, only around 13cm each, so I’ll cut one piece of 26cm and fold it at the top, that’ll reduce the chances of it falling out in wear. (it might not surprise you, although it took a while to dawn on me, that the radius, ie from the middle to the edge, is 4cm. Y’know, the width of the ribbon.) Sew the tails on first.
Then the big rosette and then the little one. This bit can be hard going ‘cos you’ve so many layers to get through. If that’s the case, try to aim the needle up through the hole in the centre, then catch the rosette on the way back down only.
Finish it off with a button to hide the scrunchy-up middle. This scrunchy-up middle isn’t too bad actually.
But see how much better it looks:
Then all that’s left to do is stitch a brooch pin onto the back – or a safety pin at a push – and wear with pride!
You could use buckram instead of felt for the backing, if you wanted extra toughness. And you could totally make this in other fabrics and colours – smart striped grosgrain would be gorgeous on a summer jacket or bag. Or maybe pin on a couple of vintage school badges – I particularly like one that says ‘vice captain’ although, to be honest, my vices are pretty mild these days.