Alexander McQueen Tartan Skirt

I have been reading Alexander McQueen Blood Beneath the Skin by Andrew Wilson.  McQueen was such a tragically brilliant soul.  His work is thought provoking and on the edge.  I decided to give one of his tartan skirts a go.  They are beautifully cut an like a puzzle.  The inspiration I gained from his magnificant work with plaids, really challenged my math and cutting skills. I hope you enjoy my rendition of Alexander McQueen Tartan Skirt.

McQueen’s skirt is basically a high/low A-line bias cut skirt.  Sounds easy, right?  Not so much.  Without being able to examine the skirt in person, I needed to go with the photo as my inspiration.  I would never assume I could cut this the way McQueen did, but I think I embodied the spirit of his design.

Cutting It Out

Since I was fairly unsure of how this would work out, I used and inexpensive plaid flannel from Joanne’s and a lining I had in my stash.

I cut two skirt backs, one side at a time to ensure the plaid match.  I cut one front piece on the bias, one half at a time.  Next, I cut the front off-center and then removed a few inches from each side of the cut.  I purchased 3 yards of fabric, cutting on the bias requires a fairly large amount of fabric, so I had about a yard left to cut the center panel which needed to be pleated.  I’m sure McQueen cut this as one piece, and I might try to figure that out at another time.  Today, however, I cut the center panel on the grain, sewed it to the left and right front panels and then used a French Curve to connect the high to the low.

Sewing It Together

Matching the plaid at the side and back seams was easy because I took care with the cutting.  The bias cut gives the skirt a beautiful drape and makes it fun to wear.  It moves softly when you walk.

Once the front was assembled, I cut the lining as one piece for the front and two back pieces.  I connected the flannel front assembly to the back pieces,  The next step was to sew the flannel to the lining at the hem line.  They matched up pretty well, I under stiched and top stiched the hem to prevent rolling.  Since the fabric is fairly inexpensive and cut on the bias, I expect it will sag after a certain amount of time, but it’s not the kind of skirt you can wear every week for several years, so I’m okay with it.

Sorthing Out The Pleats

After the hem was finished I basted the lining to the skirt at the waist and worked out the pleats for the front panels.  I added 3 small pleats to give the front edge a quiet nod to a kilt.  Final steps were adding the waist band, back zip and a hook and eye.

The Finished Project

I’m pretty happy with this skirt, it’s a fun addition to my Fall wardrobe.  It looks sophisticated and contemporary.

Find things you love and make them like this Alexander McQueen Tartan Skirt.

Sew What’s Fabulous,


PS If you are looking for more garment inspiration, check out my new Makes and Plans update.

One thought on “Alexander McQueen Tartan Skirt

  1. Sandi,
    I know your plaid McQueen skirt is an old post but I had to send you a comment. This turned out lovely! You’ve inspired me to give this a shot. I plan to start in 1/2 scale using the back grid side of some wrapping paper I use to make patterns with. The only change I plan to make is putting the front pleated panel off to the side. It looks like that’s what McQueen did in the photo. Even if he didn’t I like that idea. I will probably use a bright lining as well. I have a pretty navy blue and green plaid and think a green lining would be beautiful. A red lining for a red and navy (or black) would be stunning as well.
    Did you make another one? Did you figure out how to make the front in one piece? That’s why I’m going to try using grid paper and doing it in 1/2 scale to start. I may make it with fabric in 1/4 scale just to be sure it all lines up.
    Your line matching is absolutely perfect and looks like a very high end piece. I’d love to see one made using a nice quality piece of plaid wool if you did make it again.
    Thanks for inspiring me to try something more than just a plain wrap belted plaid skirt!

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