6 Ways to Wear a Tartan Skirt

Hi Everyone, I’m back on this blog after 4+ weeks of “sick leave” with covid. Feeling tired but a lot brighter now.

Sue Stoney’s blog post on her tartan skirt has given me the nudge I needed to think about tops for my own tartan skirt.

The zero waste Clair skirt is my favourite-ever zero waste pattern. It was destined for the Zero Waste Sewing book but was ruthlessly edited out in a purge to get the page numbers down and create some sort of order in the types of patterns the book contained. However, later I released it as a stand-alone pdf pattern (during worldwide lockdown – that’s why I’m the only model).

To show the skirt in a variety of fabrics, I was keen to have a red tartan. Unfortunately, unlike Sue, I was unable to get our family tartan (MacDonald) but found another red tartan, MacGregor, from a kilt shop.

The tartan Clair has made its way into my wardrobe, but I’ve been stuck in rut of only wearing it with black tops.

Clair skirt worn with Cendre top, for head-to-toe zero waste.

This is because the colours in the tartan are red, green and white, suggesting a red, green or white top would co-ordinate well, but tartan worn with red or green shouts Merry Christmas! to me. (And is white a bit Highland Dancer?) And while I have no issues with red, green or tartan at Christmas time, I live in Australia and a wool tartan skirt is totally inappropriate for a southern hemisphere Christmas. And Christmassy attire is inappropriate in July. So you see my situation here.

I wore the skirt during Me-Made-May, always with black tops, and asked Instagram friends for colour advice. They gave me some great ides! Interestingly, all the artists were first-in with suggestions!

Here are some of their ideas. They’re all flat lays – I would model, but I’m wary of overdoing it by prancing around in front of a camera.

Tartan with yellow/gold/mustard

There was the brilliant suggestion of this shade of yellow, inspired by the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Source: Jamiesons of Shetland

My extensive wardrobe revealed a mustard RTW cardigan and a handwoven scarf in black/olive.
I actually wore this combo before I got sick – loved it!

Denim is always a good idea

Denim + tartan. It worked for Viv Westwood and the Sex Pistols, and maybe it will work for me too.

Denim jacket and scarf – tick!
Note the boots from the “museum” section of my wardrobe – a purchase from Carnaby St during the Spice Girls era of the 1990s (they also came in white, but my finances did not extend that far).
I also tried it with a chambray Sandie shirt. Undecided.

Classic: tartan with cream cable knit

A creamy Aran knit jumper – a definite classic.

Unfortunately I don’t have one, only this cream rib skivvy. Still good though.
I think I’ll put it on my knitting bucket list, or see if I can get a second hand one.

The neutral zone

Neutrals to try include navy, chocolate, and darker shades of khaki or tan.

Brown jumper, buff suede jacket and brown boots. Felt like it needs a bit of a lift…perhaps a long flowing red scarf?
A red piece of fabric, standing in for a scarf.

Red, but make it burgundy

The thinking is to emphasize the deeper red shades in the tartan.

I don’t seem to have much burgundy in my wardrobe. However, this lego fabric top is fairly close, and then I remembered I bought a piece of burgundy-ish fabric from the op shop (can you see the price tag? 5 bucks!).

The jury’s still out on this one. I think it would work though, if I could just get the right shade of burgundy.

Teal: the unexpected

While taking the flat lay photos, I discovered that the old teal skivvy I happened to be wearing worked well too. It’s a similar colour to the green in the tartan. Also, my knitted beret with various shades of greens, blues and teals looked good with it.



  1. Victoria Barnett on July 11, 2022 at 8:13 pm

    So glad you’re back and feeling better. I’ve missed your blog.

    • lizhaywood on July 11, 2022 at 10:14 pm

      Thank you Victoria – many thanks for reading.

      • Mary on July 12, 2022 at 10:14 am

        Hi, Liz – As I sat down to write my blog post last night, it dawned on me ai hadn’t seen a post from you in a while. So sorry you had Covid, but glad you are on the mend now. Happy to see a new blog post from you this morning.

      • lizhaywood on July 12, 2022 at 4:06 pm

        Hi Mary,
        …meanwhile, I’ve been enjoying all your blog posts and following the renos – it will look great when it’s done 🙂

  2. Michelle Shaffer on July 11, 2022 at 9:05 pm

    Love the unexpected color combos!

    • lizhaywood on July 11, 2022 at 10:14 pm

      Yes, lots I hadn’t considered, and the teal was a bonus 🙂

  3. Laurinda on July 12, 2022 at 6:05 am

    I’m glad you’re feeling better.

    I really like the teal & the chambray with the skirt.

    • lizhaywood on July 12, 2022 at 4:04 pm

      Thanks Laurinda. Funnily, the teal looks better in real life and the chambray looks worse, but actually wearing them will tell for sure.

  4. Ania on December 19, 2022 at 9:44 am


    Where to get such a design of a tartan skirt for woman?

  5. Liseli on February 15, 2023 at 6:00 am

    I discovered your blog with delight not so long ago and I’m going backawrds in history, thanks for all this sharing!
    Sorry to be unhelpful but when I saw the last combination here, I started laughing right away, not that it’s unaesthetic but because for a French speaker like me, it reminded me straight away of this: https://www.tintin.com/fr/albums/l-ile-noire

    • lizhaywood on February 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

      Lovely to meet you, and thanks for reading. There is plenty of reading material here! 329 posts to date.
      We are Tintin fans, and had a good laugh too 🙂

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