more on mauds

(photo from J.G. Martindale, The Scottish Woollen Industry, (1954))

You may remember that a while ago I got all excited about the maud — the traditional shepherd’s plaid that’s woven and worn in the Scottish Borders. You can see one above being used for its original function — protecting the shepherd and his lambs from the elements. You may also remember that my enthusiasm about the maud extended to making myself one. It is a garment of which I rapidly became very fond, and since then, it’s been pretty much maud crazy round here. Using a variety of tweeds and linings, I’ve whipped up maud-shaped gifts for many of my friends and relatives. These mauds have been a real hit with all the women who’ve received one. They are more substantial and cosy than than a pashmina, but much easier to manage about one’s person than a gigantic shawl. Pat, who gets around in a wheelchair, was particularly pleased with hers: she told me to tell you that she finds heavy coats difficult to wear, but that in her maud she can zip about in Winter in a manner both warm and stylish.


A few of you have also emailed me to ask me how I made my maud. It is very simple. Here’s how:

You will need: sewing machine, basic sewing skills, two rectangles of warm tweed fabric, (18 inches x 40 inches) and the same amount of light lining fabric.
Begin by cutting out your rectangles of tweed, and lining to exactly the same dimensions. Take your time: cut slowly and neatly!

Click on diagram to see a larger version! (Diagram shows steps 1, 2 and 3).


1. Place the two tweed pieces right sides together as in the diagram. Pin.
2. Using 0.5 inch seam allowance, stitch together.
3. Open flat, press seam to the side.
4. Repeat steps 1 to 3 with the two lining pieces
5. Right sides together, pin lining to tweed, — take your time over this step, matching up corners and edges, ensuring the fabric is entirely flat, and using lots of pins.
6. Starting half way down one long edge, and using a 0.5 inch seam allowance, stitch all the way round your maud — leaving a 4 inch gap for turning.
7. Trim corners. Turn maud out to right side. Press all seams flat.
8. Press raw edges of turning point to inside. Pin.
9. Hand-stitch the turning gap closed, using invisible slip stitch.
10. Press again.
11. Finally: using a scant seam allowance, overstitch all the way around the edges. This gives a neat, professional finish, and ensures the lining lies nice and flat. Take your time and keep your stitching even!
12. Press for a final time.


Here is my Ma, happy in a maud. She is wearing it with the point just behind her left shoulder, but, as you can imagine, there are many ways to drape a maud, depending on your preferences. You could also easily make your maud longer, wider, or narrower, by simply cutting smaller or larger rectangles. My inner YorkshireWoman feels compelled to tell you that this particular incarnation is made from stitched together waste lengths of Hiningan tweed that cost me *less than a pound*. (I splashed out on a tana lawn lining, of course, ahem). My Ma’s brooch (which I love) is designed and made by Edinburgh textile artist Saskia Gavin, and you can find her work at Concrete Wardrobe.


If you are interested to hear a bit more about mauds, here with the permission of Sew Hip is the text of a feature about Border’s tweed I wrote for them a few months ago (it appeared in Sew Hip 4. This is my original text, not the published edit).

Oh, and I mustn’t forget to mention: if any of you stateside peeps are interested in meeting me in person, the lovely ladies at Rosie’s Yarn Cellar have invited me round to their place next Sunday afternoon. This is very exciting for me: whenever I’ve been in Philadelphia for work over the past few years, I’ve always looked forward to visiting Rosie’s. I’ll be bringing the original o w l s sweater, and a few other designs along, so do drop by for some knitting and a chat if you are out and about in Philly next weekend — I would love to meet you!

And finally, for those of you who have been asking, the neep is indeed imminent. . .