Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Margot Dress and Daphne Knickers

I mentioned the other day that I scooped up multiple Violette Fields Threads patterns during their summer sale. I've got two more of them in action today. One is the Margot dress and tunic, which is one of the few VFT patterns drafted to be used with knit fabric. Since I have been on a knit kick this summer, I felt I needed that one. It is typical VFT in that it is a simple pattern that is dressed up with a few key details that make it special. Margot has a high-low hem with an added ruffle on the bottom and comes in two lengths; tunic and dress. It also has a fancy french cuff sleeve that can be made to coordinate with the ruffle for lovely additional detail. The cuff and ruffle are great places to mix in some woven fabric. I made my version in the softest, most gorgeous french terry fabric from Knitpop however, and I wanted to wrap her in as much of this luscious fabric as possible, so I made the long sleeve version with no cuff. For the same reason, I made the dress length. 

I fully intended to do some selfish sewing when I bought this fabric, but the girls couldn't stop petting it and raving about its softness, so I ended up sewing small clothes with it instead. 
I can make a single yard go much further when it is in size 5t however. She got a matching pair of Bonny Leggings to complete her outfit (they really love having super coordinated clothes in ways that almost make me cringe; I wasn't really thinking these needed to be worn together, but she feels otherwise. The ruffle helps me with this; breaks up the visual a little bit so it doesn't appear quite as pajama-y or jogging suit-y or something. Honestly though, I understand why she loves to dress head to toe in this fabric. She is awful huggable in this!)
 There will be more of these dresses / tunic in our future for sure. 

The other pattern I used recently was the Daphne Knickers. 
Cue googly eyes! I love this pattern. These little pants are so cute. They create the perfect balance of a structured pant with gorgeous details, whimsy, vintage charm and comfort. 
The pant is drafted for woven fabrics and can be made for all season depending on the thickness of your fabric selection. I actually used a knit fabric though, because I had this lovely liverpool that I felt needed to be used for this. I didn't adjust the pattern at all to account for the stretch in my fabric, because I used a woven fabric to make the ruffles and I sewed the ruffles on with a straight stitch that won't stretch. It worked out fine. 
The one thing I would do differently next time, is probably not make the ruffling strips quite as long. Lining them up and sewing them onto the cuffs and waist was by far the most challenging part of the whole process. 
I actually made two pairs, one for each of them, and they both enjoy wearing them.
 They are soft on the inside and have a comfortable elastic waist which is key in getting these girls to enjoy a pair of pants. We inherit so many pairs of adorable jeans / corduroys / pants with fly's that go unworn. 
It's a comfort thing. I get it. 
I love the compromise these pants provide. They have a button cuff on the bottom that adds a structured detail to the pants without hampering the all important comfort of the waist. (I just sewed the buttons onto both layers of the cuff and omitted the buttonholes. They slide on over their little legs with no problem, and I avoided sewing several buttonholes- hurray!)
 I might even go back and top stitch the cuff down completely instead of leaving the buttons as the only thing holding the cuff closed. Then there will be less of a chance of a button popping off and the cuff flapping open. 

So there you have it! Two of my new favorite patterns for kids.

 I kind of want to make myself a pair of knickers like this, but I haven't convinced myself I can pull it off without looking like I'm off to a renaissance fair. But who cares, right? If I want to wear it and think it is cute, why not. I specifically remember discussing with friends while in high school my style goal for myself: to be able to pull off anything. I wanted to be able to rock any trend no matter how extreme or mundane, no matter what decade it was popular in. 
I think it is probably rare that we look back at the wisdom of our high school selves, but I am going to try to draw inspiration from her on this one. 
I did make myself an adult romper. I am actually wearing it right now, and wore it out in public already today. 
I will have to share that with you soon!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Love for Violette Fields Threads

     Well, it happened again. I got busy and neglected my blog. Here we are at the end of summer and a wonderful summer it was. We stayed busy for sure, and I even did some traveling with my husband sans kids. We made sure to really appreciate the kid-free aspect and to pack our days with long hikes that the kids wouldn't have been able to handle. But man, I missed those girls. I've been married to this amazing man for ten years this fall though, so it was good for us to go off the two of us like newlyweds, visiting friends and family and both familiar and new exciting places along the way.
      I have actually heard from a friend though, that she has been missing my posts. I have a reader. That feels quite special, thanks Amy. And my sewing machines have stayed a-whirring so there are always things to share. 
       Since I had been showing some love for my favorite sewing businesses when I left off, I figured I would continue in that vein with the always lovely Violette Fields Threads pattern company. I could spend hours scrolling through their website admiring not only their patterns, but their adorable models, the gorgeous photography, and especially the fantastic vintage / bohemian vibe in which it is all styled and pulled together. Even if you don't sew, you will appreciate the gorgeous looks they create for little girls and come away with some style inspiration.
          Most of their patterns are for woven fabrics as opposed to knits, which I think is where most people begin their sewing adventures. This is also nice because it enables a good deal of upcycling vintage fabrics, i.e. pillowcases and table cloths. Most of my good upcycle scores are wovens, I know that. Plus, it can be sew hard to resist the wild and wonderful prints that they put out on quilting cottons. While these fabrics have terrible drape, VFT offers many patterns that feature a panel in the bodice or some other just right place to include quilting cottons and incorporate them into a more complete garment that utilizes different appropriate fabrics in other areas. 
        In case my ramblings are getting confusing, I will try illustrate my point. 
     The Matilda pattern is your basic peasant dress. It has an oversized raglan style top with an elasticized neckline and waistband fitting it to size. I have made dresses like this before without a pattern. But VFT's version has a flutter sleeve option that I was drawn to, along with multiple other sleeve lengths and I have really been appreciating having pattern pieces to trace instead of revisiting tutorials and repeating math and guessing at armscye curves. Plus, they had a sale this summer, so I scooped up a few patterns that I had been ogling. 
       I'm not sure you can do better for a basic summer dress pattern. I always feel like the girls need a fun new dress each summer. We have been heading to a bluegrass festival each year, and it is such a good deadline / excuse to sew each of us something fun to dance in. 
Two Matildas
      Althea's dress is a great example of using a quilting cotton mixed with other fabrics. I could not resist this lilac print when I saw it. 

I also new that I had this purple cutout fabric sitting around waiting to be turned into something, so it didn't take much to succumb to the lilacs. 

I did restrain myself to a 1/2 yard of the lilacs though, and it worked out perfectly for the bodice and flutter sleeves of this dress. It is lined from top to bottom with the (nice and soft) old bed sheet that I used for Fern's Maid Marion dress and I was able to reuse the hem on that. 

The bottom of the punched purple fabric was not going to fray, but didn't look very polished, so I added a purple grosgrain ribbon that I had as a bit of trim detail. 

Since the bodice has black and dark colors and two layers, the dress can get a little hot when it is 95 degrees, but Oh. My. Word. Both she and I LOVE this dress. 
         It has been a go-to for her all summer long and she wears it at least 3 times a week (for part of the day anyway; my kids are outfit changers!) Sure makes a sewing mama's heart smile.
     It's not bad for twirling either.

         Fern's dress worked out better in the heat. A white dress is really the thing for summer time. Especially when you are camping and dancing and sweating for 5 days straight. The thing about white of course, is that it gets dirty. There is no difference between the front and back of this dress however, so she took advantage of that by putting it on backwards for this dress's second showing at our festival! Smart kid. This is a really fun fabric that I bought at Knack, a great little store in my area selling repurposed craft materials. They sell fabric by the pound. Which is amazing. I got yards and yards of this awesome white stuff with teal flowers embroidered on it for about $5. Totally guestimating there, because it has been a while but I'm telling you, this is a great place to find treasures and deals.

Anyways, I did the short sleeved version here. The dress is unlined and I cut the skirt on the selvage to avoid hemming. Man, I love doing that. This had a plain white selvage that worked perfect.

 And I think this became the perfect dress for strumming a ukulele....

Or for watching Rushad Eggleston with your girlfriends...

Or banging on a drum with a large kitchen spoon with your sister...

Or giving said sister a bath with a bubble gun.
Reinventing the bubble bath right here. 

    I will continue with some more VFT love in a more fall related fashion. Soon. I promise.
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Variety of fabrics for raglans

          I am going to continue sharing my Patterns for Pirates projects, because that is practically all I have sewn this summer, on my journey of sewing up my wardrobe and not buying any clothes.
          There are two raglan patterns from P4P, the regular fit and slim fit raglans. There is also an "accessory pack" full of options that you can use on either pattern. I thought the regular fit was going to be the one for me. My waist measures two sizes larger than the rest of my body, and I do not like to have things fitting me snugly there. So I got the regular pattern, and made a shirt. I decided that I would make it reversible since I had decent yardage of each of two fabrics that I wanted to use and couldn't decide which should be the body and which should be the arms.

        I spent longer than I should probably admit thinking about the pockets. This is not the first time I have done this to myself. I finally have come to terms with the fact that it is not possible to make a reversible garment with side seam pockets in which the same pockets are accessible from either side of the shirt. Because if you are making pockets with a pocket bag on the side seam, being able to access them from the inside and outside of the shirt would mean that your hand would go right through the shirt to the inside when you reached in. I know this sounds confusing, but I feel like I need to put this in print so that I don't try to rack my brain figuring out how to make it work another time. I ended up making a pocket for the righthand side of each version of the reversible shirt.
       But do you know what is possible? Following the directions exactly as they are written. If I had done that and made side seam pockets that are sewn to the front shirt piece (which I wanted to avoid for some reason), then I would have saved myself a lot of trouble and ended up with two pockets for each incarnation of the shirt. 
        Anyways. The fabrics for this shirt are so soft, and I like it a lot aside from that striped cuff fabric.  Doesn't  quite match.  But  I am going to  say it works. Tie dye from my  dirty hippy box from Knitpop; floral from that long ago knitfix from Girl Charlee, stripe from JoAnn's.                                 

         I also wanted to use a raglan pattern to make myself a rash guard. I asked on facebook what people thought about sizing down the regular and many were adamant that the slim fit and regular are completely different patterns and that sizing one down does not yield the other. And then they had a sale, and I ended up with the Slim fit raglan in my cart along with a few other things. It seemed like the way to go for a rash guard. I did grade between sizes when I cut the pattern, and man this is why I sew my own clothes. It feels like such a miracle to be able to grade sizes and turn a pattern for something that I thought I wasn't capable of wearing any longer into something that I LOVE to wear.
There's my rash guard. Fits well through the arms, shoulders etc. but is loose at the abdomen. 
I will have to get a picture of me twinning with Fern!

         I splurged on some merino wool from New Zealand Merino and Fabrics when we got our tax return. The shipping was steep, but that is to be expected since it came from the other side of the world. The conversion rate from kiwi $ to US was definitely in my favor though.  Both my husband and my favorite store, Ibex, is not a cheap place to shop and I had been looking for a place to buy merino wool so that I could try to make us some performance clothing items that would be on par with something we love to buy ready made. Also, I would like to buy merino products for the kids but really can't justify it seeing how fast they grow out of things. So this purchase made sense in many ways. I had been scared to cut into this lovely stuff though, until I practiced my ideal pattern on another type of fabric and got the fit right. I had been thinking that I wanted to make myself a regular fit raglan, but through sewing both of the previous shirts, I realized that when I grade, the slim fit raglan is perfect for me unless I am wanting to make a bulky sweatshirt style shirt.
         So I made a slim fit,
with a wrap around hood,

and side seam pockets as the pattern instructs

except that I added a zipper to one of those side pockets.

I also used the thumb hole cuffs and enjoyed seeing the way Judy teaches thumbholes. It was totally different than what I have done in the past.
 I love everything about this shirt. It would have cost big bucks if I bought it elsewhere and I got all of the details I wanted with a perfect fit. Not to mention the satisfaction of knowing I made it. Winning all around.

        I continued on and have made one more slim fit raglan so far. I used the gorgeous purple dahlia on blue poly cotton spandex from Knitpop. It is a pretty basic shirt, but it represents everything I love about sewing. The print had been calling to me for a while. Some do that. It is interesting to me how different ones say different things to different people. As it is with all art. But the colors, the size of the print, the different take on the popular floral theme, I love it. I also love this pattern. The print is so exceptional that I knew I would use a fairly plain pattern that doesn't distract from the fabric. Also, it may seem that the fit is not super flattering in photos, it is exactly what I want. I'm fairly square, so there aren't that many curves to accentuate, and I am tired of being asked if I am pregnant. I also love leggings and slim leg jeans, yet I lack tunic length tops. So this covers many categories for me, with the tunic length and graded out waist and again I LOVE IT. 

So there are my four raglans from this summer so far. 

I have some short sleeved versions planned as well.
Such a great staple item that can come to life in so many different ways depending on the fabric choice.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Handmade wardrobe goals and P4P

         I tend not to make super specific New Year's Resolutions, because I have a hard time keeping them. I have yet to break the habit of destroying my cuticles for instance. I do like to think of goals that may span the year though, or things that I want to accomplish or hobbies or projects to work on. Somewhere around the turn of the year, Katy of No Big Dill was announcing her plan to not buy any new clothes this year. As I've been enjoying sewing so much lately, that seemed like a reasonable and fun goal to me. There is also a lot of noise about creating a capsule wardrobe. Colette has a series called the wardrobe architect which is totally worth checking out. I know I could benefit from this.
       I haven't really tackled both of those things though. Doing the capsule thing involves more purging than I have done yet. I will get there. In the meantime I have been distracted by pretty fabric and the idea that I want to be capable of sewing any item that I want in my closet. This has meant that I have been sewing with fabrics that are new to me. And spending money on said fabric. So that lead to a third goal for the year: to sew with patterns more often! Good patterns not only save time, frustration and wasted fabric, but they teach you new tricks and tips as you use them, and they are so worth it as I continue my journey of educating myself as a seamstress.
         This brings me to the other site I was alluding to in my last post; the other sewing related business that I am obsessed with. Judy Hale and her Patterns for Pirates. This woman has made a huge impact on the revolution of (mostly) women sewing their own clothes. Most of her patterns are for women, but there are plenty for girls and boys and even some in there for men. And these are reasonably priced patterns for everyday staple items that you will use constantly. They are great ways to fill in gaps or to make an entire wardrobe. There is also a P4P facebook group that is almost 24,000 members strong, filled with people that share their creations, ask and answer questions about the patterns and provide encouragement for other members in a way that is uplifting to see. So if you are thinking about sewing something for yourself, just do it. Join the P4P page, check out the coupons she has for facebook group members, and take the plunge.
         One of the most iconic patterns from Patterns for Pirates is the peglegs. This is a basic legging pattern which, it must be said, requires a fabric with at least 50% stretch in both directions. (This is one of the patterns with a FREE coupon code if you join the fb group). I am in love with it. The pattern has four lengths: shortie, biker, capri and full length.
         I have sewn three plus one: shortie, biker, capri and a version between the shortie and biker length.
Fabric from left to right: Knitpop cotton spandex, Girl Charlee Rayon Spandex, a poly spandex blend from JoAnn's, back to the knitpop again

I basically followed the pattern as written, except for making the blue pair at an in between length (which I prefer to the shortie). The one other modification was doubling the height on the waistband on the purple bikers. This was my first pair and I had heard folks say they like to do that to create a control panel. It does work as this I think, but looks pretty maternity if I get caught with my shirt pulled up! In any case, I like them all and definitely will be making piles more for fall. 

 So like a dummy, I cut two of the same piece of these  instead of mirror images. So I ended up making two pairs. And I ended up giving the other pair to my mom! She seemed psyched about them which was great. She is going to use them as her beach shorts for the summer. They are super soft, I want to live in them.

Paisley pegs, perfect!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Knitpop Love

      I have become addicted to two sewing-related companies this summer. In such a good way. I finally got some pictures of things I have made with their fabric and patterns respectively, so I am going to rave about each of them in the next few posts. I'll start with Knitpop, the fabric selling company of Sarah Jaggers Knook based out of San Diego. She has a website, which sells tons of great stuff, but she also conducts about 3 x weekly online fabric auctions on facebook which are SO ADDICTING!!! If you want all the details on how these work, you can join the facebook group, read the pinned post and start stalking auctions; it becomes self explanatory pretty quickly. Basically, they cut a 1-2 yards of several somewhat coordinating piles of soft gorgeousness, post a picture and people start bidding on it.  Oftentimes you can score great deals (my last auction box was full of 12 yards of beautiful, high quality stuff for less than $5 / yard including shipping) and almost always you will see some unique things that she doesn't have the quantity of to post in her shop.
      Aside from buying fabric and having it show up on my doorstep 2 days later (everything always ships same day on 2 day express in flat rate boxes or envelopes) I have been loving learning about different types of fabric from this site and facebook group. They carry such a large variety of knits and have descriptions available along with seeing people post what they make with each thing. The best learning experience for me however, was when I bought a Knitpop scrap pack (which was AWESOME! I know not everyone gets quite as beautiful of a box as I did, but man it sure got me hooked- a big pile of 8 gorgeous fabrics for $25 + $12 shipping)
See what I mean?
Plus - huge bonus for me - just in case this picture isn't letting you know, most of this is on the orange side of pink. 
I don't think I could have designed a more perfect scrap box if she gave me free reign of her warehouse.

         Once it came and after I finished petting it and rubbing it all against my cheek and opening it up to get the full effect and gauge sizes, I got to work trying to to decide what everything was. I had seen the tie dye on the left being sold in an auction box listed as rayon spandex. The 2 cream colored ones were obviously sweater knits. I'm not totally sure if this automatically qualifies them as hacci or if a fabric has to have a specific tightness of weave to be hacci, but sweater knit is good enough for me. (One is ribbed, one heathered). The floral next to the tie dye is very lightweight, perhaps rayon spandex as well, perhaps jersey. The stripe is about the same weight as the rayon spandex although maybe a bit lighter and is also SO soft. It may be a brushed poly? Hmmm. I do feel confident on the rest of my analysis though: floral next to the strip is liverpool, next one down to the right is scuba and the floral on black is a ponte de roma. All three of the last ones were things I had heard of but not actually seen and touched and sewn.
        As much as I had read about these fabrics before and heard others say what they do or don't recommend them for, nothing beats having them in your hand to truly understand what the fabric is about. The scuba for instance (which gets its name from being a distant cousin to neoprene wet suit material) was screaming peplum at me. Unfortunately, I didn't have quite enough for that, so it became a regular tank top instead, with some of that ribbed sweater knit as a side panel to fill in where I was running short.
Yup, it's a cell phone mirror selfie. 
And the shirt is not top stitched as of yet. We will have to revisit this in the future. 

           The tie dye wanted to be cropped palazzos, because I really felt like I needed those in my summer wardrobe. I was unsure at first if I would have enough to make the pants and the waistband out of the same fabric, but not only did I have enough, I had enough to match stripes, make a large foldover yoga style waistband and still have scraps large enough to be project worthy on something for the kids.

The stripes I believe will end up as nighties for the girls, along with a shirt for me. They already saw some life as the trunks of the skirt (paired with the black floral ponte) in my last post.   I have a pretty adventurous pair of pants brewing in my mind that uses the black floral ponte. The liverpool is also a great bottom weight; I see knickers for back to school. I have yet to sew with it, but love the feel of it so much that I bought another liverpool print for some shorts for me and overalls for Fern during a July 4 flash sale that I found posted on Knitpop's website while I waited in the worst Cape traffic in the history of my life (because a little technology in the wrong hands can do a lot of harm.....getting off 495 to beat the traffic is a TERRIBLE idea, trust me).
During that sale, I also picked up some french terry that Fern has fallen completely in love with (me too!), a fun mustard jersey with doves printed on it and a (generous) yard of this purple dahlia on blue poly cotton spandex that I had seen in some auctions and then on the site and had been haunting my dreams. I probably should have ordered more, but I thought it was going to be a 4-way stretch fabric and perfect for leggings. It actually is more of a 2-way stretch, so instead I made a tunic (which would have been a dress if I had gotten a little bit more). Regardless, I love it.
 Photo credit is going to Fern on a lot of these. Man, pictures of myself are tricky. 

I cannot get over how much I love this print and how soft and comfortable it is. 

          The first auction box that I bought from Knitpop was on a day when Sarah's husband Sander was running the auction for a bit. (I kind of feel like I know these people - which I am going to allow myself to not feel creepy about. Our family business has turned customers into friends on more than one occasion). He was adding funny lines of commentary to each box....blurred transmission; eighties' mixed tape, hippy in a box. The one that spoke to me was dirty hippy. Ha! I will admit I've been called that name before. Plus the fabrics were great (cotton lycra tie dye and cotton spandex paisley). Plus I was planning to attend a Phish show a few weeks after this box posted for the first time in a few years. How could I pass it up? 
These are my two dirty hippy fabrics, although this picture was taken after I had cut into them. 

          Here's what I have so far:

Aaaaaaaaand.......that hoodie is reversible: 
 I think the girls may see a maxi or two from the tie dye. And I am hoping for a sports bra out of the paisley. Figuring out ways to use up all of this lovely knit fabric is such a fun challenge to be facing. 
 I actually have another auction box as well, in which I see a romper for myself, leggings for everyone, and multiple solid coordinates to help fill in the gaps. Once I have caught up a bit, there will have to be another post for that box!
Until then, thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

"Skirting the Issue" with Simple Simon and Project Run and Play

        Here we are in the midst of the summer! What a great time of year. There are so many fun things I want to talk about, but first I want to share a meaningful project that is hosted by the lovely ladies at Simple Simon and Company (who also happen to be the main gals behind Project Run and Play; the sewing-for-kids equivalent of Project Runway that inspired me to blog about sewing) every year during the month of July.
       "Skirting the Issue" is a touching event they have begun, in which sewists from all around, connected by the internet, sew lovely and unique skirts to be donated to kids in the foster care system. It's a great way to help kids who have had a rough start in life feel special. You can read more about the event, and how to participate, here.

        So in honor of skirting the issue, I am going to talk about sewing a skirt with attached shorts. In my house, the general rule is that shorts are worn underneath skirts and dresses unless they are maxi length (and sometimes even then) because I have yet to see the girls wear one without flashing what is underneath at least a dozen times. Honestly, I have started wearing shorts under my own skirts that come above the knee as well! Chasing kids, bending over, wind blowing.... who knows what might happen and with some shorties or bloomers underneath it doesn't bother me.
         Having trunks attached makes it even easier to follow this rule, and you know that they will always coordinate. This can be accomplished very easily when making a skirt that has a waistband of some sort, i.e. an exposed elastic waist or a foldover yoga waistband. Basically, you sew your skirt, sew your trunks, baste together and add the waistband.
         To help illustrate, I sewed a skirt-with-trunks from some lovely, soft, knit fabric (both fabrics from a KnitPop Scrap Pack) and added an elastic waist. First, I decided what pattern to use for the shorts. This was an easy decision for me, because Baste & Gather has a FREE (hurray!) pattern for "summer shorties" by Selvage Designs.  This is a great pattern for sizes 12M-8 that creates snug shorts made from knit fabric; perfect for this application! Also, it uses a waistband to finish the top of the shorts, so you don't have to make any alterations to get a perfect fit. (If the shorts pattern you choose creates a waistband by folding down the top of the shorts, then you would need to cut the fabric about an inch and a half lower on top to get a good fit sewing it the way I am about to present).
      Using this pattern, I cut out two legs as mirror images of eachother,
then laid them right sides together and sewed the front and back crotch seams.

           I used a serger for this, but you could also use a zigzag stitch or stretch stitch on a regular sewing machine. Just make sure to use a stitch that will stretch for you.
          The next step is to line up the crotch seams on top of eachother, and sew the leg inseam. Now you have created shorts, and can hem them at this time as well.
           Knit fabric doesn't fray the way woven fabric does, so hemming is optional. I sometimes like to leave knits unhemmed, because no seam that I add will ever be as soft and stretchy as the fabric itself. Hemming does look more finished however, and also helps finish the bottom of my serged inseam, so I decided to hem these shorts. Again, make sure to use a stitch that will stretch when you do this! I folded my fabric about 1/2 inch up the inside of the leg (I only folded once instead of twice, because as I mentioned earlier, the knit won't fray) and zigzagged over it to hem my shorts.
           The next step is to create the skirt. I decided to make a simple, slightly gathered A-line skirt and made my own pattern piece for this.
This is my skirt pattern piece; the straight side on the left will be placed on the fold of the skirt fabric when cutting. I cut two of these skirt pieces. 

      I calculated the skirt pattern dimensions as follows: my shorts were ~9 inches tall at their highest point, so I decided to make the skirt 10 inches long.
       I wanted the waist to be slightly wider than the waist band would be. I was basing it off my daughter's measurements and she has a 21.5" waist. Since my pattern piece would be cut on the fold, and two pieces would be cut, the waist of the skirt would be almost 4 x the waistline of the pattern piece (actually just under 4 because of the seam allowances on the side seams). I made the top horizonatal line, aka the waist, 6.5" long. This will yield a finished waist of 26" minus about 1" for 1/4" seam allowance on the each side of both skirt pieces; so a 25" waist. Great. There really is a lot of freedom when calculating this measurement. I felt that this was a good size that would be large enough to be easy to slip on over the hips and bum, and not have so much fabric that it created a bulky waist seam at the end. I did curve the waist-line up slightly at the outer edge for a more circular waistline.
        I wanted the skirt to flare out in an A-line shape, so I drew a diagonal line from the edge of my waist out to about double that at 12" and free hand curved the bottom line up about an inch and a half. So my skirt should have a bit of freedom and twirl to it. You could also do a full or half circle skirt if you wanted an even twirlier version.
        I will take a moment to talk about skirt fabric right now. I had been thinking of using a soft, slinky knit whose content I am not totally sure of, but must be rayon spandex or cotton jersey or something. It was so soft and it was beautiful. But it occurred to me that without another fabric lining it, it was most likely going to be clinging to those trunks all day long. So instead I used this one, which again I am not 100% on content, but I believe to be a ponte de roma. Moral of the story: something a little more heavy and with a smoother finish will end up working better for the skirt here, so that it doesn't cling to the trunks. If you have a light, soft, probably grabby fabric that you are dying to use though, making the legs of your trunks super short will be a good idea. You could also insert a lining fabric in this skirt / short sandwich if you are so inclined.
       I cut two of these skirt pieces on the fold. You do not have to worry about mirror images here because the pieces are symmetrical, but do pay attention to if your print is directional or not (meaning is there a top / bottom to the print).
                I then laid the skirt pieces right sides together and sewed both sides of the skirt.
               Once the skirt was constructed, I sewed a gathering stitch along the top.  Also known as a basting stitch, this is a straight stitch set to the longest length between stitches that your machine offers; for me that is at 4. Leave long thread tails at the beginning and end of the stitch. Then, holding the bobbin thread, you can gather the skirt along the thread, distributing the gathers roughly evenly around the skirt.
            Next, I inserted the shorts into the skirt (right side facing out on both, or right side of shorts to wrong side of skirt), lined up the side seams of the skirt with the sides of the shorts, and pinned them together at the sides, front and back. This is a good time to adjust the gathers as needed to ensure the width of the skirt and shorts lines up well. You can pin more if you prefer.

                I then basted the skirt and shorts together with a narrow zigzag stitch, to make it easier to sew them both to the waistband without losing part of one or the other in the process. I made sure that my zig zag was lower than my gathering stitch, and then removed the gathering stitch with my seam ripper. I didn't want that straight stitch to interfere with the stretch of the skirt waist.
                Next, I created the waistband. I am a little bit obsessed with all the glitter elastic I have seen at JoAnn's recently. I had some of this silver on black elastic that I had used to make myself a belt earlier this summer. It seemed to be the perfect thing for this skirt once I decided to used the floral on black fabric for the skirt. I cut a piece about 21"; slightly smaller than my daughter's 21.5" waist, so that it will be snug enough to stay up well but not overly tight. I sewed the ends of the elastic together, right sides facing, then folded the ends out towards the side and topstitched them down to create less bulk.
                 The final step was to sew the waistband onto the skirt. I placed it along the top of the skirt/ shorts with right sides facing, and sewed it on. I could have used a zigzag stitch on my regular sewing machine but I decided to live on the edge (terrible pun intended) and serge it, keeping a super close eye on not letting the elastic go under the blade. If you cut this type of elastic along the long edge, it begins to unravel.  I did have to stretch the elastic a bit as I went, since the skirt / shorts were wider than the band. I made it all the way around without any casualties, and ended up with a lovely skirt!
Note that I did not hem the skirt itself. The drape is so nice without it, I didn't feel it needed it. I just had to carefully tie off those side seams. 

         A beautiful skirt, a playful skirt, a modest, cartwheel friendly child-sized skirt. Fern was more than happy to be my model. 

Over at Project Run and Play, they are sharing skirt inspiration all month long! Go check them out!

And thanks for stopping by!