Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I was cleaning my sewing room today (you wouldn't believe the clutter!!!), but then I got distracted by this Ottobre magazine with the cute gingham blouse on the front. Out came my sketchbook and Sharpie markers.... I think I know what my next sewing project is going to be. I just need to decide on what style of skirt to add to the bottom of the blouse.

The fabric I'll use will be the Little Honey voile from Anna Maria Horner. I can't wait to get started.

But first I need to finish cleaning my sewing mess.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ruffled A-Line Skort

A skort, what is a skort? From Wikipedia: "Skorts are essentially skirts with a pair of shorts hidden underneath, though most resemble a pair of shorts with a panel of fabric over the front." There you have it.

I made another skort for Emily. This A-Line Ruffled Skort pattern is the second skort pattern from Cindy at Sew Blessed Designs. I sewed Cindy's first pattern in January and loved it then; I knew that I'd like this pattern, too, and I wasn't disappointed.

The pattern comes in girl sizes 3-10, all sizes in one envelope. The patterns are printed on heavy paper and need to be traced out at the size needed. Note that there are no pattern pieces given for the waistband and ruffles, but the instruction sheet tells how many and what dimensions to use for cutting these pieces.

Cindy's instructions are detailed and easy to follow and have clear, hand-drawn illustrations. The only two things I found missing that would be helpful to beginning sewers are (1) a diagram showing the pattern layout, and (2) instructions or a diagram showing which direction the waistband and ruffle pieces should be cut--lengthwise, cross grain, or bias (for the ruffles?).

Fabric: For the skirt I used a lightweight denim with appliqued/embroidered flowers, left over from my skirt. The shorts underneath are made from broadcloth.

Changes I made: The pattern gives the option for front hip pockets--a wonderful detail that I typically like. Because of the bulk of my fabric (I'd have to cut around the flowers), I left off the pockets. The only other change I made was to not sew in the slits at the shorts side seams.

Conclusion: This is another pattern that I will use again and again. I like that so many sizes come in one envelope for one price, from toddler size 3 to girls size 10. And there are so many options for different looks--ruffle, pockets, shorts--put them on or leave them off. I would like to sew this pattern again in a pretty floral fabric for a completely different look. Or perhaps in a soft corduroy for this coming fall....

Emily was in bed for the night when I decided to make this skort, and I guessed on the size, making a size 6. I really should have made a size 5 because the size 6 is fuller and longer on Emily than I really like. But she'll grow, right? So it's all okay. :)

The front: Sweet Emily is standing in front of my husband's garden, which by the way, is doing great this year.

The back-- don't you love the ruffles?!! I do.

We match! Okay, maybe a bit corny, but I don't mind and Emily doesn't mind, so let us be. :) Just don't ask one of my older daughters if they would like us to wear matching skirts. You know what they'd say---a resounding "NO!" I'm sure it won't be too many years and Emily will feel the same as her big sisters....

happy sewing,

Monday, June 21, 2010

Beautiful Voile and Another Skirt

This is Skirt #3 made from the Ottobre pattern that I wrote about recently. I didn't plan to write another post about my summer skirts, but I just have to tell you about the fabric I used for this skirt. The fabric is cotton voile. From Anna Maria Horner. The voile is beautiful. Silky. Luxurious. Wonderful hand and drape. Perfect for garments. I have other voile fabric on my shelf, but this Anna Maria Horner voile surpasses any voile I've ever seen before. It's that great. Really. You have to see it and touch it to believe it. It's just lovely.

I know, I sound like a commercial, don't I? Maybe Anna Maria will send me some voile for the advertisement---wouldn't that be nice? :-) The fabric is a bit pricey or I would be buying it in every print and color! As it is, I bought just two yards: the blue "Diamond Mine" that I used for the skirt, and the "Little Honey, Berry" line. (I'm not yet sure what I'm going to make with the Little Honey piece).

For the blue skirt, I used the same curved waistband pattern piece as the other two skirts. But instead of using the a-line skirt, I simply cut a length of fabric the full width of the fabric (about 55"), gathered it along the top, and attached it to the waistband. I put the invisible zipper at the side seam, and I did line the skirt with plain white voile (from my stash). One yard of fabric was more than enough for this simple skirt. However, if I wanted a more-fully gathered skirt, or if I was wider around at the hips, then I would need more than a yard.

happy sewing,

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Yo-Yo Hair Clips

When we were at Oklahoma Quiltworks on Thursday, I bought two sizes of Clover Yo-Yo Makers. It didn't take long for my 14-year-old daughter, Ellen, to figure out how to use this nifty gadget, and today she made five fabric yo-yo's. She sewed a vintage button to each yo-yo and then mounted them to ribbon-covered metal hair clips.

All five clips are pictured here in Emily's hair. Aren't they pretty?! Ellen did such a great job making these hair clips! I think she should make some for sale. Anybody interested? :-)

I've made yo-yo's like these many years ago when there was no such a thing as a yo-yo maker. Let me tell you, yo-yo's are sooooo easy to make with this fantastic tool. After seeing Ellen's yo-yo's, I may just make a few myself....

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bloggy Meet Up

Something wonderful happened yesterday; my daughter, Ellen, and I got to meet Lori from Girls in the Garden and her two 15 year old daughters! We met at Oklahoma Quiltworks in the city and Lori and I talked and talked and talked. Then we went for lunch and talked some more. I'm afraid we didn't give the girls much chance to talk because Lori and I just didn't stop. It was so fun! Afterwards, I realized that our conversation was not very sewing related---and I had so many sewing/fabric questions I wanted to ask Lori!

If you've ever listened to Lori's Sew Forth Now podcast, you know how informative and interesting it is. I think I've listened to every episode Lori has made, and I am eagerly awaiting the next. Hint, hint, Lori! Well, I guess I'll give you time to get home from your trip before expecting another podcast. :-) It sure was nice to meet you and your girls; thank you for taking the time to meet up!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Green Bean Mountain

Mark loves to garden! And I'm thankful for the harvest. :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Skirts, Skirts, Skirts

I'm on a skirt kick right now. Skirts are fun to sew, easy to fit, and comfortable to wear. They can be dressed up or down. I love to wear skirts, especially in the summer, and so I decided to sew a few for myself. Both these skirts are made from the same pattern, and yes, it's from Ottobre.

Pattern: Ottobre 05/07 Design #4
This easy to sew lined skirt has a curved, fitted waistband and closes with an invisible zipper down the center back seam. The magazine gives three variations of this same pattern. I like that it only takes one yard of 60" wide fabric.

Skirt #1: I made this blue floral skirt first.

Fabric used: I used a stretch cotton that I discovered does not really have enough drape for this pattern. The skirt tends to stand out from my body, but hopefully after I wash it a few times it will hang better. One way to fix this problem would be to take out some of the flare from the pattern, but I don't feel like taking it apart to do so. So, I'll leave it alone as is. The skirt is lined with lining fabric from my stash.

Changes and Construction details: I like my skirts to fit about 1" below my natural waist. I think this pattern must run big because I had to take bigger seam allowances to make it fit right. I should have compared my low-waist measurement to the pattern pieces instead of just going by the pattern measurement chart.

I interfaced both the waistband and the waistband facing to give the waist extra body and to prevent the waistline seam from stretching out.

Oh, I just love my Pfaff invisible zipper foot. For years I sewed invisible zippers with a generic plastic foot, but let me tell you, the "real" foot works 100% better.

Skirt #2: What do you think? Is this next skirt too little-girl or too "homeschool mom" for me? My 2 older daughters at home seem to think so. I kind of like it, though. Casual for summer and hey, just about any color top matches.

Fabric: The fabric is a lightweight denim with appliqued flowers. I bought this fabric at Hancock's because it was marked down at a good price. This fabric is not something I normally would choose for myself, but I found that I love this skirt in this fabric.

Changes and Construction details: I took off some of the fullness/flare of the a-line skirt by taking off two inches at the side seam hem and tapering up to the original waistline. Also, the lightweight denim does not require the wearing of a slip, so I did not line the skirt. The waistband is faced with a red floral print. I stabilized the waistband seam with twill tape to prevent stretching.

Conclusion: I love this pattern, I love both skirts, and who knows, I may make another one...or two....

Coming soon: With the remaining fabric, I made this sweet skirt for Emily using a delightful pattern from Sew Blessed Designs. I'll tell you about it next time.

Happy Sewing,

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

How to make a twirly toddler skirt!

Earlier this Spring, my local quilt store, The Patchwork Place moved and had a grand opening sale.  I picked up two small pieces off of the bargain table not knowing what I'd do with them...they were just cute and sort of coordinated!  Do you ever buy fabric like that?  If you love it and it's cheap, I say, go for it!!

It turns out, the pieces I bought worked well for a little layered skirt for Marie...they were approximately 9 and 10.5  inches long each when I bought them.  Because the one was a bit longer then the other, I able to layer the two pieces, and put in a simple elastic waistband to construct the skirt.  Pretty simple actually, but I thought a photo tutorial might be fun, so here we go.

My fabric pieces were 9 and 10.5 inches tall.  This was perfect for a size 24 mo. skirt for my daughter.  You would need to use taller pieces for taller girls.  I ended up using the full width (44inches) of the fabric for the width of the skirt.  In my opinion, this ended up being a bit too full and for Marie's waist.  I had trouble gathering the bulk tight enough to fit her.  For bigger girls, I think the full fabric width would be great, but for smaller sizes, I'd cut it down some in the future. 

In the first picture above, I sewed up the side seams and put in the 1/2 inch hems for both pieces.  The top layer (the floral print) is 1.5 inches shorter then the bottom piece. 

Next I layered the blue polka dot piece (the longer, "bottom" piece) on top of the floral piece (the shorter "top" piece) with both pieces facing right sides up and sewed along the top edge about 1/2 inch from the edge.  This feels "wrong" because I want the finished skirt to have the floral print on top with the blue dot peeking out along the bottom, but when you finish sewing the seam and turn it to the inside, you will have a finished edge along the top waistline and the two skirt layers to be facing out right (see below).

It's hard to see in this photo (above), but after I turned the blue polka dot piece to the inside, I sewed a casing for the elastic waistband.  If I'm using 3/8 inch elastic, I sew about 5/8 inch down from the top edge, leaving a 1 inch opening to insert the elastic.  

Insert elastic and sew up the opening and you'll have a little twirly skirt!!

Here's the finished skirt on Marie....she's my little sweetheart!