Posts tagged skirt

Crafters Retreat 2013

Have I mentioned that I have some awesome friends? Friends that plan crafting/sewing retreats? Yeah, I do. And I got to go on a retreat this past weekend and it was GOOD. (Read about past retreats hereherehere and here)

And as always, on these retreats, I take a bit of time to complete the yearly felt ornament that I started when Jude was born. This year, sensing a growing theme, I choose Felt Hot Cocoa. Don’t judge my iffy stitching. He looks handmade and that’s part of the panache. Ornaments of years past? Pickle (2012), bacon (2011), owl (2010) ((he’s the only non-food item… I mean, can you eat an owl?)), gingerbread man (2009).

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The porch in this house is one of my favorites and I spent some time there listening to an audiobook, drinking coffee and knitting. With a fall candle. And my awesome socks.

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I whipped up two super simple quilts for two sweet little boys.

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Got to finish a skirt that I’ve had planned for two years… It’s a lined, gathered skirt, with pockets and exposed back zipper (free tute here). I took time to enjoy the process – hand finishing seams, taking things slow. And I love how it turned out. I’ll model it for y’all soon.

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And and FINALLY made some progress on the Macaron Dress that I have had planned for two years!

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Overall, a thrilling weekend of eating good food and getting some stuff done that I can’t seem to find time for at this current stage of life!


Simple Gathered Maxi Skirt Tutorial

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You may remember that I made a maxi skirt a little while ago. It was so cute and so comfy that I thought I would make another one and I had the perfect fabric just waiting for me (got it from a little local shop – The Fabricker)! It’s seriously like wearing pajama pants in public, but much more attractive (although I’m still not very fond of the name – why ‘maxi’? It sounds like a feminine product). I’ve had a couple of real-life friends ask me how I came up with the pattern, so I thought I would do a little tutorial to show you guys what I did. There are a total of 4 seams (plus one gathering seam) in this skirt so it comes together pretty quick and easy!

salmon maxi skirt

First off, you need:

  • 2 yards of jersey fabric
  • 2″ wide no roll elastic
  • ball point needles
  • scissors
  • thread
  • marker/sewing pencil
  • walking foot (optional but very helpful)
I choose to use a walking foot because it reduces how much I try to push or pull on the fabric. A lot of people are afraid of jersey because of the waviness that can develop when sewing with a stretchy fabric – for me the combination of a ball point needle, zigzag stitch, walking foot and ironing the seams regularly as I go takes care of any waviness. Most importantly, do not push or pull the fabric! Let the jersey feed evenly through your machine. I choose to use a zig zag stitch because it is the best looking stretch stitch from my machine. Your machine may have several stretch stitch options – try them all out on some scrap jersey fabric and see what you like best!

The seam allowances I used were about 1/2″ – I was not very precise as jersey is very forgiving. Back stitch all seams unless otherwise stated.


You will need your waist measurement (x) and the skirt length measurement (y). Add about 1/2″-1″ to your length measurement to allow for the hem and the attachement of the skirt top to the waist band.

Take your waist measurement and multiple it by 2 – this will allow you to get the gathers at the top of the skirt. You are creating a rectangle that is 2(x) by (y). Check the selvedge of your fabric and make sure to cut off any edges that look bad. The past two jersey fabrics I’ve used have had a glued (?) edge that needed to be removed before I started sewing.

Cut all pieces of fabric.

  • The waist band is 5″ thick by (x) wide.
  • Your skirt body is 2(x) by (y). Here is the easiest way I saw to cut the pieces from the fabric. Lay the fabric out on the fold, selvedge edge to selvedge edge. Cut your length (y) and waistband.
  • You can also cut your elastic to be the length of (x) at this time.
Then sew straight up the open (y) edge to create a tube. This seam will go in the back.


Next up, the waistband. Fold the fabric in half long-ways and sew up the long side.


This will create a casing that will just fit the 2″ elastic.


Bring the short ends together and sew just the inside half of the casing together, allowing for enough room to thread the elastic through.


Thread the elastic through and overlap. Pin.


Sew several times so that the elastic lays flat and trim off any excess elastic.


Pull the waistband so that the elastic lays flat within the casing. Hand sew the opening shut.


Now to finish the skirt – set your machine to the longest straight stitch and baste, close to the top. Do not backstitch.


It will look a little wonky when you are done, like this.


You can see that waistband is much smaller than the top of the skirt, so gently pull the top basting threads, distributing the gathers across the top of the skirt, until…


The waist band and skirt top are the same width.


With the skirt still inside out (seam on the outside), place the waist band inside the skirt, with the raw edges matching. Pin.


Sew, with a zig zag stitch, just below the basted stitch, careful not to catch the elastic. Trim any extra bulk in the seam and iron flat. Hem if desired. I chose to fold the bottom edge up about 1/4″ and zig zag stitched it in place for a clean finish, but since jersey doesn’t fray, this is not a necessary step.

Enjoy your new maxi skirt!



hand me down dress refashioned

One of my good friends often cleans out her closet and bequeaths me with her hand me downs. I love this arrangement! Sometimes though, I’ll get something from her that I really like . . . except for this one thing. In this case, I loved the fabric and colors in this dress. It was comfy! But! It looked a bit like a nighty and it was WAY too short.

hand me down dress

Unwilling to give up on the fabric, I decided it needed to be a skirt and a bralette. Easily enough, with a little seam ripping, the two pieces came apart! I hemmed the top of the skirt and then used some elastic thread to ruche the top.

hand me down dress to paper bag skirt

Here’s a close up of the ruching, I started it about an inch down and then ironed everything flat when I was done. Don’t judge my hemming job. . . the fabric was a little slippery!

hand me down dress to paper bag skirt

Here’s the bralette – I just created casing for the elastic at the bottom. Easy peasy. Who knows if I’ll ever wear it, but it’s cute!

hand me down dress to bralette

My thought was to wear the dress like a paper bag skirt. I think it turned out pretty close! I’m pretty happy with how it all turned out!

hand me down dress to paper bag skirt

tank dress

Ahhhh finally. Some sewing for me! I decide to take a break from all the custom orders I’ve been working on to whip up a little something from myself to enjoy!

I don’t generally consider myself a trendy dresser. I tend to try and purchase items that are going to last me more than one season and I’m slow to adopt any ‘current’ styles. This season though, I’ve been seeing a lot of those tank dresses around and tons of tutorials for them. Since I worked in an office pre-child, I really never bought many shorts and now that summer is most definitely in full swing I’m getting a little hot wearing jeans every day. Enter simple tank dress. Nice and cool. No need for a strapless bra. A throw it on and go type of style. The very reason I adore dresses.

Since I am still being very cautious on where we spend our money, I decided to try and and replicate one at home using items I already had. The only thing I bought was some wide elastic for the waist. I referenced a couple of tutorials to guide me, but really kinda made it up as I went along.

Tank Dress

The tank top was one I bought years ago while I was still interning and it shrank up just short enough that it’s annoying to wear. I have a policy in my closet: if I haven’t worn it in a year, it gets given away. Well, I decided to give this one away until I considered repurposing it for a better use. So it lived in my sewing room until yesterday.

The skirt fabric is one that I bought on clearance awhile ago without any purpose because I loved it so much. It’s a sheer black with white embroidered flowers. Very fun. Because it was sheer, I lined the skirt with some black cotton.

Tank Dress

I am really happy with how it turned out and that it only took one nap time to complete! Although, in my head it looked more casual that it ended up turning out. I think it looks more dressy than I thought it would. I guess I’ll just have to make another one with a ribbed tank top for a more casual look and next time I’m adding pockets!

A Sewing Saturday (and Sunday)

I haven’t sewn anything since Jude’s Kimono two days before he was born. That’s about 2 months now. Quite sad if you ask me. Well, we had another SEWcial this past Saturday, Jason and Jude had a ‘Daddy Day’ and I got to sew with the ladies! I took this opportunity to catch up on making some slings as gifts for several coworkers and friends that will be having their little ones soon (and one was for Jason too)! I finished up all six that I had set out to make and felt quite accomplished:

You might also notice the lovely lady in gray that is showcasing the slings. That was a craigslist deal that Jenn found for me. $15. . . crazy what people give away! She is an adjustable dress form. I’m pretty excited to stick her in my new craft area at the new house. I’m pretty sure she needs a name. Any suggestions?

And the Sunday sewing (it was started on Saturday but didn’t quite get finished before we needed to get to bed). Since I’m still not down to my pre-pregnancy weight, I have only be able to wear my maternity jeans. And it is HOT here in Austin. It’s been at or near 100 degrees outside since Jude was born. So, I’m determined to make a few skirts so that I am not sweating every time I step foot outside. So here is the first:

It’s a little girlier than what I typically go for, but I couldn’t get the thought of having a ruffle with this Alexander Henry fabric out of my head. So I went for it and I like it. 🙂 I used Sew What Skirts to guide me through the process. Hopefully there will be several more skirts being made soon.

So yay, with this post I can call this a craft blog again! 🙂 There will be more to come!

Sewing and surprise secrets!

I’m pretty excited. You want to know why? Well, Jason surprised me by buying me a new sewing machine. You see the machine that Amanda is sewing on in the picture on the left? That’s my new machine, the Singer Confidence 7470. That’s right – the machine I sewed on at Maker Faire. The one that I sewed on while exclaiming ‘It drives like a luxury car! My machine is like the economical sedan’. And it’s going to get here sometime this week! Ahhh!

He purchased it Thursday evening, while I was helping a friend sewing a quick ring sling and the machine just kept error-ing. Apparently he had already done a bunch of research on different machines, so he logged onto amazon and bought the refurbished machine (complete with warranty – yay!). Of course, he can’t keep a secret for long, so once he spilled the beans about my surprise [which happened when I asked if we could use some money from our tax return so I could get a new sewing machine – to which he replied ‘We could do that, or you could just wait until next week when you’re new one gets here in the mail], I decided to stop sewing and just concentrate on cutting out the projects that I wanted to work on with my new machine (oh, I get so excited just THINKING about it)! I did manage to finish up a couple of projects on my machine before Jason spilled the beans, so I thought I’d share.

The first was turning a pair of too short maternity jeans that I got on craigslist into a maternity jean skirt. I used this tutorial for turning jeans into a jean skirt and it translated fine with the maternity jeans. I’ve already received a couple of compliments on my skirt. 🙂 Makes me feel pretty good when people say they can’t even tell that I refashioned it. . . I would say to consider adding a back slit or side slits on the skirt (which I will probably do, and re-hem with my new machine [yay!]) because, I love the shape but it’s a bit hard to walk in. Short steps. . . not how I normally walk.

Next, I finished up a sling for my friend’s husband. Pretty funny. . . camo . . . oh my!

And here’s the queue of projects that I have cut out (with more still to be cut). My sling (which I’m considering modifying to look like this, which I’m sure will be one of many. . .), a diaper changing pad, a bunch of bibs and the baby quilt (all along the bottom and the brown binding up the side)! I can’t wait to start sewing these things up!

The square of green and blue big polka dotted fabrics and the darker blue border (far right) will also be the fabric I use to the make the crib bumper. I’m holding off on that because the foam bumper inserts are $20 and I’m trying to find them somewhere local so I don’t have to pay shipping. I am contemplating switching the 3rd square over to the blue fabric I used to make my friend’s baby sling. I think I have enough scrap of that left over to get three 4.5″ squares out of. . . what do y’all think? Does that fabric work with the rest of the fabrics?