Posted on March 12, 2013
About a zillion years ago, I roped myself into a postage stamp quilt project. It was when our littlest was really little; in about two months, she turns three, and there is the slimmest chance this project will be done by then, God willing. It has been tremendously time-consuming, I won’t lie. By the same token, though, it has been an escape in a way that I wouldn’t have predicted: because the sewing has been really monotonous and there has been so much of it, I was able to turn my brain off for extended periods, and not have to worry or suffer from anxiety or angst. I could just SEW without having to stop and do too much math. And because the project kept expanding, I didn’t have long stretches where I could start something new and hem and haw about what that would be–it’s surprisingly productive to have something you KNOW you should be working on, and not have to do a bunch of square dancing trying to figure out where to spend your time. So as much work as these quilt tops have been, they’ve paid off in rewards I didn’t anticipate. And isn’t that the hallmark of all worthy endeavors?
These quilt tops are twins in multiple senses: they’re twin-sized, for one thing, and for another they’re matching–or, at least, as matching as a planned-scrappy quilt can be. I started making just a small quilt for our youngest, then realized that our girls would be sharing a room for the next four-plus years and decided to make TWO, and then wanted them to be larger quilts, which moved them up to twin-sized, but I wanted them to have a real drop and go all the way to the mattress lower edge at the sides of the bed, which means they’re actually 6 blocks by 7 blocks, or 72″ x 84″. That’s 42 blocks per quilt, or 84 blocks total, each block at 12″ finished. That’s a lot of 2.5″ squares to sew together–it’s 3024, as a matter of fact. All cut and sewn one at a time.
The color palette is determined by the initial collection with which I began–Dream On, a Moda collection from about two-and-a-half years ago. I call this “planned scrappy” in the sense that some fabrics are repeated and other aren’t, and that it doesn’t much matter WHAT fabrics are in the quilt so long as they adhere to the pretty strict color guidelines. I love the pink and yellow of the Dream On vintage-bedsheet-look fabrics, and must have been sub-consciously thinking of these fabrics when we painted the girls’ walls pale, butter yellow and their ceiling ballet pink. So there is a lot of yellow and pink here, in solids and in blenders. There is also a goodly amount of orange, which warms up the quilts, but nothing else–all the greens and blues are from the Dream On fabrics, and the mixers are limited to those three shades of pink, orange, and yellow.
I ran out of my original blenders wayyyy sooner than I thought–I foolishly thought I had enough fabric at the beginning and realized when I came back to this project a few months ago that those were NEVER going to be enough. I found some more that I really love from Pink Castle Fabrics, and added them to the bunch, working to mix the rows up and balance the newer prints with the original blenders.
There are plenty of seams here that aren’t perfect. No matter how much I chain stitched or how much I assembly-lined, they didn’t all match up. And I really, sincerely have no problem with that. Somehow–and this seems weird to me–even if my individual seams didn’t match when putting one row to another, the length of the overall row would meet up just fine. So I guess I was more consistent than I thought? In the end, every block came within 1/8″ of being exactly 12.5″ square, which is a little miracle in itself. I guess there’s something to be said for really diving in and doing whole chunks all at one time!
The colors are so springy and lovely, especially this time of year as we’re waiting for the warmth to come back. I can already imagine (partly because I already took a sample photo on Instagram) how sweet and little-girly they’ll be in their shared room once they’re done.
Naturally, because it’s me and I seem to have some sort of genetic block against doing things the easy way, I am only about halfway to being done with these. I have some really serious plans for the backs that I’m particularly attached to and working on as we speak. I can say “applique” and “falling blocks,” but won’t share anything else until I have something to show you. But let’s throw in that the quilt top won’t be the only star of this show, shall we?
In the next few weeks, as the sun makes its return, I’ll be working on the back in hopes that not too long past Easter I can get these quilts complete and put them in the girls room. That will be the alarm moment, too, to make the Big Transition: our youngest will be potty training, our four-year-old boy will be moving out of the toddler bed and into a Big Boy bed so that the littlest can have the toddler bed, and we’ll be swapping a ton of furniture all at the same time between the rooms–including selling the crib, since we won’t have another baby to put in it. Big stuff happening at our house this spring!
For their part, the two little girls–ages six and almost-three–are VERY excited to have matching bed quilts. They currently love sharing a room, and my husband and I talked the other night about when we would shift them to NOT share a room. We both think that because there is a four-year age difference, somewhere around when our six-year-old turns nine or ten, she’ll want a room of her own–but we’re not going to be the ones to suggest it. I love that they love sharing a room, the way I loved sharing a room with my sister, and I don’t have any belief or expectation that children need to have rooms of their own. And if they want to keep sharing until high school, well, I’m down with that. Plus, these quilts were a LOT of work, y’all–here’s hoping we get more than a few years’ use out of them!
Posted on March 11, 2013
It’s here!! The Sewing Clothing for Kids e-course starts today and I am seriously excited. The class includes EIGHT patterns for boys AND girls (including the always popular Overmost!), with lots of options and variations to play with. Plenty of video lessons, lots of basic techniques, and a ton of cute fabric to look at as we go–all of which means that as long as you have basic sewing skills and a desire to sew clothing for kids, you’re totally ready to take the course!
Look at all the cute projects!! I love teaching this class online, and walking through these patterns with folks as they sew for the little ones in your lives. Plus, it gives me an excellent excuse to start working on a spring wardrobe for my own little ones–since these patterns range in size from 12m to 6, I get to sew for my kids while you sew for yours!
See all the registration information and details, and then click through to join the group. There are still spots left, and I’d love to spend these last few weeks before spring has truly sprung, making some projects to treasure and love.
Posted on March 7, 2013
Full disclaimer: this was not a DIY project. But we did gut this bathroom down to the studs and make it our own. Which, in its own way, is pretty exciting.
This is the Jack-and-Jill bath that the children share. The two younger girls are in one room, our boy in the other, with the bath in between. It is the world’s smallest ever Jack-and-Jill, measuring just 6 feet by 8 feet. SMALL. And when we first bought this house, it felt a whole lot smaller.
You know how when you fantasize about doing a home renovation, you have that one project that sticks out and you say, “Until XYZ is done, I will not be able to draw breath or function in this house”? No? Just me and my mom, then. After we closed on the house–possibly even the very next day–my mother drove over to stay for a week and help me do some projects to make the house ready for us to move in. Primarily, that involved painting every surface in sight, but there was one other task necessary before we could be at peace in this house: removing the sliding doors from the shower in the Jack-and-Jill bathroom. That’s right, people: a bath measuring just 8 feet by 6 feet had SLIDING GLASS SHOWER DOORS in addition to a FULL-SIZE vanity and a door from one bedroom that was designed to swing IN. Which meant that if you entered through the door in the picture above, you would stand by the vanity, close that door, rotate in place to move past the toilet, be less than an arm’s length from the shower doors, and have to maneuver past a WHOLE OTHER DOOR to pass through the bathroom. It felt like a coffin. A pretty, pretty white-and-blue bow-covered coffin.
It was so bad that these are literally the only photos I have of the bathroom before the sliding shower doors were removed:
You know why they’re so blurry? Because the DOORS MADE ME CRY. They had to go, and they had to go first.
No, wait, OK, I have one other with the doors in it:
See how the door from our boy’s room opens INTO the bath? And the vanity is, like, RIGHT THERE when it does? And what you can’t see in this is that the toilet is juuuust out of frame in that lower right corner. You had less than 3 square feet of space to function in this bathroom, and it felt like the walls were closing in. Fortunately, removing shower doors is pretty quick and easy.
So Mom and I got on that already, back in Dec 2011 before we even moved in:
Pop! Doors like these are literally glued to the tile in nearly every home. There are some screws, usually along the sides, and possibly into the tub wall, but only a few. We got them out with a standard screwdriver–not even a drill–and then used the same screwdriver to pry the doors away from the glue and pop them off the wall. Now, they’re glass, so they weigh a ton, but the metal frame doesn’t, and each door can be slid out of the frame and carried away.
The glue took a little more work to get off, but some elbow grease and it was done! No biggie. Look how messy, though:
The tub is the original from when the house was built in 1968, and is a cast iron enameled model, so I wanted to keep it. We used a scratch-resistant scrubby product to get all the glue off, and the whole thing cleaned right up.
From there, I did a little bit of priming over the wallpaper, but honestly we painted every single room in this entire house, and this one wasn’t a big priority, so I bailed part way through and this bathroom looked pretty half-done for…well, about a year. Seriously.
The kids used it, but over time, we began to suspect there was some moisture trapped in the walls. We had seen some old water damage when we pulled out the carpet in the bedroom that shares a wall with the shower, where the floorboards of the hardwoods had gotten a bit black. And my husband has a mold sensitivity that seemed to get worse gradually after we moved in. We knew there had been water at some point behind the wall, and worried that we’d need to tear out all the drywall to figure out what the issue was.
We also hated that door. This one:
Good grief, WHY is it opening INTO the bathroom? We decided to make it a pocket door so that we could recover the swing space, and since the pocket door would slide into the wall where we suspected some moisture issues, and since we wanted to replace the tile anyway, suddenly we found ourselves in the midst of an entire to-the-studs gut of this bathroom.
I loved the tub, so that stayed, and the toilet is pretty standard-issue, so keeping those fixtures saved some cash. We also love the floors, which are the original tile from when the house was built. But all the wall tile, the sink and vanity, and the fixtures got changed and renewed. Plus, we ripped out that wallpaper–eeek! twelve-year-old-girl-circa-1984!–and painted, instead.
Now, we have this to enjoy:
We chose a paint color as close to the accent tile in the floor as we could get, and had them paint the walls and the ceiling the same shade to make the room seem as tall as possible. All the trim was painted bright white, rather than the buttermilk color it was previously–that alone made a giant difference. The vanity came out and was replaced with a pedestal sink to gain some floor space. All the tile came out and was replaced with a jumbo-sized white glossy tile to enlarge the bath visually–it’s a little bit of a trick, but it does make the whole place seem larger to have larger tile on the walls.
Rather than the shower doors, I sewed up a shower curtain in a white-and-blue print, to keep the visual clutter to an absolute minimum in here. There just isn’t enough space to break it up by adding another color, and keeping the palette light and tight has helped make everyone feel a lot less claustrophobic.
Most of the fixtures are off the rack at Lowe’s or Home Depot, including this light fixture. We still haven’t found the right mirror, but I expect we’ll go for something rectangular and framed in black, for a little wall pop under the light.
My husband picked out all the fixtures his very own self while I was out of town. I love the clean, modern lines that are still classic–I like to avoid “trying too hard” syndrome, which can be so easy to fall into.
We always hang our shower curtain waaaaaaay up close next to the ceiling–you can see here that it’s a scant 5″ or so below the paint. I love how much taller that makes the whole room look, and that I get to see a ton more of the fabric than I would otherwise. This print is based on children’s writing tablets, and is both subtle and nostalgic–easy pick (that only took three months of deciding).
As for towel racks, in the old bathroom you would walk into one on the side of the vanity on the way through the door, and that sucked. I thought we’d put a double on the back of the swing door, but it turns out it’s too wide. Right now, looks like we’ll hang it inside the shower itself, but I’m waiting for my contractor to come back with his tile drill so we don’t destroy what we just put in.
We already had him add one towel bar over the toilet and this glass shelf over the sink–again, I’m working to avoid as much visual clutter as humanly possible, and now I really like that the kids’ bath toys and toothbrushes have all the color in the room.
The room still isn’t complete–we’ll need a cabinet over the toilet for the various little things that get stored–and that grow as children grow. But the difference between before and now is pretty much night and day:
Next project: curtains and drapes for every room in the house! Lots of sewing left to do. Woot!
Posted on March 6, 2013
I sent out a newsletter announcement on Friday, and clicking “Send” was harder than I thought. In fact, I walked away and came back after picking the kids up from school, because I needed it to sit for a minute before I sent it out. I was letting thousands–literally–of people know that I am closing the Whipstitch bricks-and-mortar shop in Atlanta as of the end of this month.
Just to reassure everyone: the blog is continuing. The online classes will continue. I will teach in person. I might even write another book. But the physical shop is closing and won’t re-open.
This was, I’m sure you know, a super difficult decision to make. And there is no way I can tell you that it was entirely due to one factor or another–there were a lot of issues at play and they all formed a part in me choosing to close the shop. There were also a lot of factors that made me hesitate and delay closing, and I struggled with those two opposing forces for weeks and weeks and weeks. In the end, it took an epiphany for me to finally know for certain that it was time to let the shop go.
I love the store. I love what it represents and I love what it makes possible. I have been un-endingly grateful for the freedom to invite some of my dear friends from all over the country to come and visit and teach and promote their own businesses. I have loved the 1000+ individuals who have walked through the store and taken classes with us, and who send me emails and leave me comments telling me how sewing has impacted their life and that Whipstitch was a part of that. I feel humbled and honored to know that something that I feel passionately about has affected others so deeply that they feel moved to take time from their day to thank me. It is almost overwhelming to know that something I would do for fun can have that kind of impact on others, and I have felt so strongly and so deeply that teaching sewing and sharing it with others is my vocation in the truest sense of the word: a calling, an irresistible impulse to reach outside myself and draw others in. I still believe that, and still find such joy in writing about sewing, in teaching sewing, in creating things with needle and thread, in watching others learn this thing that has meant so much to me for longer than I was really aware.
Here’s the thing: I am the only mother my children will ever have. I am the only wife my husband has. And while I have owned the store, I have felt a pulling between the two. I don’t sense that pull with the other parts of Whipstitch. Not from writing books. Not from writing the blog. Not from designing patterns. I feel it from owning a store, which called me to be away physically to tend to it, or mentally and emotionally to keep the wheels turning. In the end, it meant I was giving everyone a little and no one a lot, and while I get plenty of emails asking me how I “do it all,” in fact, I wasn’t doing it all. I was doing it partly, and when it came to my family, I was doing less than I wanted. Too many times asking my children to wait, not enough of saying, “Yes, we can do that RIGHT NOW.”
Our lives have seasons. When it comes to the season of my life in which I have owned a bricks-and-mortar shop, I have no regrets–I have made more meaningful friendships and met more people who I value deeply during this season of my life than nearly any other since my childhood. These three years have made such an enormous impact on me that I sit here with tears on my cheeks thinking of all that I have learned and felt and hoped and experienced as a direct result of owning this store. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on a single second of that, and I am grateful every day that I have been given the honor of being part of something so much bigger than I am. The big insight for me is that I recognize that I don’t want to miss out on my children, either, and I for sure don’t want to miss out on my marriage. This is not the season of my life for me to do both, and as deeply as I love the shop, I love my family more.
The shop has been a huge part of my every day for three years, and I will miss it. I’m excited about what closing the bricks-and-mortar will mean for Whipstitch moving forward, though–so many plans and ideas and sketches and lists that have been on the back burner, waiting until I had the time to bring them to life. My online classes, which continue to grow and develop; my patterns, which I have neglected but am already working to expand; another book, if they’ll let me write one, since I would dearly love to; and even some secret dreams and ideas that I’ve toyed with but knew I could never tackle with a shop open. It’s a new season, and while it’s scary to watch the old season pass, I’m excited to see what the new one will bring.
I hope you’ll join me in saying farewell to the West Atlanta location before we lock the doors one last time. I’m throwing a party on Friday, March 22 at 7 pm and I’d love to see you. If you live anywhere near the Atlanta area, please drive over and visit and wave to the tiny disco ball and give me the chance to hug you and thank you one last time for all that this shop has meant to me over the past three years. I want the chance to see as many faces as possible so that I can express to you in person exactly how huge this experience has been to me, how grateful I feel that I was given such a treasured opportunity, and how much I look forward to new chances for us to see one another and to be surprised and excited about what comes next.
What: Whipstitch of West Atlanta closing party
When: Friday, March 22 at 7 pm
Who: Anyone and everyone is invited! No RSVP necessary.
Posted on February 21, 2013
I’m in Austin for QuiltCon the rest of this week, so it seems appropriate that I share the progress I’ve been making on the matching postage stamp quilts I’m putting together for my two younger girls–that is, with those of you who haven’t been following along
reluctantly eagerly on Instagram.
I started these quilts–really just one of them, at the time–nearly two years ago, when our youngest was just a teeny thing. I thought the fabrics from these Dream On fabrics suited her. But then we moved and the girls started sharing a room, and I thought it made so much more sense for them to have MATCHING quilts. Naturally. Because I never, ever do anything the easy way.
So the one became two, and I needed a lot more blocks than I initially had thought. (Reading back over that first post, I cannot fathom what made me think I needed 63 blocks for a twin?? I mean, 63??) Which meant a lot more cutting and stitching–my math now says I want to have these 6 blocks by 7, for an approximate finished size of 60″ x 72″, so I need to have 42 blocks per quilt, or 84 blocks total of 36 squares per block, which is a total of 3024 squares. You heard me. They’re going pretty quickly, considering. I remember these all taking a lot longer back when I began, honestly–but I can’t really remember clearly if that’s why I set this project aside, or if I just spotted something else shiny and got distracted. There was a lot going on in 2011 for me and my family, so it’s all a little fuzzy.
I picked this project up again about a month ago, determined to complete it so that the girls’ room could finally approach that mythic land of “Done” that no house I have ever lived in quite achieved. It’s nice to have goals. But then I hit a wall: it became painfully obvious that I was never in a zillion years EVER going to have enough fabric to complete even one quilt, much less two. Instagram to the rescue! Both @mascanlon and @darcychildress happened to have big chunks of Dream On in their stashes that they were willing to allow me to buy off them in order to finish. Then it was just a matter of finding new blenders, since the ones I’d originally used were long out of print–luckily, Brenda over at Pink Castle Fabrics came to the rescue and had not just three but SIX prints that were totally perfect in color and scale for what I’m trying to do.
Since then, it has been long bouts of absurd amounts of chain piecing to get some progress made. When I saw that I was low on my blenders, I realized I didn’t want to have half my blocks made with three fabrics and the other half have NONE of those fabrics, so I stopped stitching the strips of six squares into blocks and started leaving them just as strips–that way, I can take the pile of strips with the original fabrics and mix those up with the strips made using the new blenders, and all the prints will blend together and no one will be the wiser. See how smart I am sometimes? Woot.
So I stitch pairs, and then make fours out of the pairs, and then make more pairs, and use those to make sixes out of the fours, and then set them all aside. When I have a really obscene pile going, I hot up the iron and press all my seam allowances. Then I start all over again. I thought I’d over-bought when I got those new Dream On fabrics through IG, but now I’m starting to believe I’ll need to break into the fat quarters I got when I was drunk on success. I’m maybe 3/4 of the way through, maybe? And still Livin’ On A Prayer, y’all.
Stay tuned to see if I survive to see this project through. I’ve also got some lovely Robert Kaufman linen set aside to make matching bed skirts, plus some pretty pink to lengthen the curtains in their room that were made for shorter windows in another house. Throw in some paint to cover the spot on the wall where Baby got a little too excited with a crayon, and we might be closer to Done than I thought!
Posted on February 19, 2013
So many of us came to sewing wanting to know more. OK, once I write that out I realize how ridiculous it sounds–I think what I mean is that no one comes to sewing thinking that we already have the knowledge and skills to accomplish the task. More so than lots of occupations or endeavors, sewing is humbling in that when we come to the table, we know that we don’t know everything we need to know. We’re not tempted to be too big for our britches right out of the gate, and we all recognize at one level or another that we have a ways to go in order to develop and expand our sewing.
I thought, when I was younger and more naive, that learning to sew was just that: you set out to learn skills or techniques, and by doing that, you’d learn To Sew. As I get older and have more experience, and most especially as I meet more and more folks new to sewing and watch what it is that helps them to learn and to grow their confidence, I have changed my opinion. I’m not convinced anymore that we learn to sew. I think, now, that we sew to learn.
Here’s what I think that looks like: you might learn a technique, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you know where to use it, but if you make a project that requires that technique, not only do you learn to perform that skill, you also have a wider understanding of how that technique fits into the greater picture of what sewing is and how it works. By DOING the skill in a practical way, you’re able to figure out where it fits in the tool belt. And by doing it, and having the tangible results of a finished project, you are more motivated to continue to learn and grow and try new things. It’s the successes that propel us forward–and we can’t have success with a few stitches on a scrap of fabric.
Sewing to learn means that you’re pushing yourself, challenging yourself, all the time. You’re not working at your comfort level, where you’re not asked to try anything new; you’re not working at your frustration level, where everything makes you want to cry and use your “driving words,” as my daughter says; instead, you’re working at your challenge level, where the task asks for your full attention and rewards you with new connections and new insights–and those revelations are what make the finished product so satisfying and encourage you to tackle something new. And then the process begins all over again.
“Learning to sew” sounds like such a loooooooong process to me. And I’m the nerd girl who loves learning ANYTHING. Something about the phrase makes me feel as though I am at one end of a very long path, so long that I can’t see the end, and that image makes me a little scared and intimidated. Makes me want to stay at my comfort level. “Sewing to learn” doesn’t sound like school, or like a series of hurdles or hoops through which to jump–it sounds like action, like forward motion, like I’m actually getting somewhere. It sounds like the goal isn’t the learning, but the SEWING. And that’s inspiring and exciting.
What do you all think? Are we so caught up in the idea that we’re “learning to sew” that we forget to put in the 10,000 hours and have trial runs and prototypes and failures and mis-steps? There are successes and epiphanies and miraculously close calls, too, chances where things go just the way you hoped, and they’re all mixed up together, the pluses and the minuses. I love that. I love that I can sew to learn, that each project is a chance to explore and discover and connect and uncover and find the joy that sewing can bring.
Posted on February 18, 2013
Announcing the winners of the A-Line Skirts from Design and Sew an A-Line Skirt! In no particular order, the winners are:
For the green Hideaway skirt, #14 Melanie C., who said:
For the herringbone yoked skirt, #41 Kelly E, who said:
For the ruffled grey-and-citron skirt, #24 Megan, who said:
For the swingy plum Patty Young skirt, #54 Laura, who said:
For the Thomas Knauer triangles Frippery skirt, #34 Laranne, who said:
For the grey plaid wool skirt with bias-bound seams, #53 Erin, who said:
For the Anna Maria Horner Field Study skirt, #59 Sara, who said:
For the eyelet lined skirt with pink lawn peeking out beneath, #5 Katy, who said:
Thanks to ALL of you who entered, and congratulations to the winners!
Posted on February 15, 2013
OK, y’all! The last day of these skirt giveaways. If you’re just tuning in, I made a bunch of really lovely skirts as samples for my Craftsy class, Design and Sew an A-Line Skirt, but can’t wear them all because there just aren’t enough hours in the day or days in the week. Yada yada, I’m giving them away and you could win one! I’m giving away a total of EIGHT skirts this week, and today I’m sharing the final two with all of you.
One is the “kit” skirt for the Craftsy class, for which you can purchase the supplies directly from Craftsy, and the other is one that I loved shopping for and making, from eyelet with a full lining.
This print is from Anna Maria Horner’s Field Study line, and I just love the colors and the design. It’s modern and funky and so AMH, right? Since this was the core style from the class, it has a single-fold bias tape waistband, and like every other skirt from this class, has an invisible side zip.
My poor mannequin has been dragged in and out of the house so many times this week that she’s listing a bit to one side like a sailor on shore leave, but I think the skirt still looks like a million bucks–a testament to how cool this print is. The hem is a clean double-turned 1/2″ hem.
I tend to use invisible zips in my garment sewing more often than standard zippers. I feel like once you learn to put them in, they’re way easier than a standard zip, and I love how clean a finish they give. This skirt measures 35″ at the upper waistline edge, and while the zip is grey, because it’s invisible, you only see the zipper pull.
At first glance, this last skirt seems way simple and maybe not that exciting. But when you look closer, you realize that it’s an eyelet with a full lining, so the candlelight cream color has bits of candy pink peeking out at you. It’s subtle but so cool, I do so love a little surprise treat in my sewing.
This skirt also has the most volume of any of the skirts I’m giving away, and lots of swishy sway to it. Very 50s in delivery, between the eyelet and the volume, and really a joy to look at.
Here you can see that the lining is understitched and the invisible zip is sewn to the lining at the side seam. Both skirt and lining are hemmed separately, so you get plenty of movement when you sashay.
And there you have it! Check out the other three posts to see all the skirts–to win, simply leave a comment on the post! You are free to comment on EACH of the four posts this week to enter to win one of the eight skirts I’m giving away–in fact, I’d recommend it, as it will quadruple your chances of getting one of these babies in the mail! International entries are welcome. Winners will be announced Monday, Feb 18 here on the blog!
Posted on February 14, 2013
For the past two days, I’ve been giving away skirts I made as samples from my Craftsy class, Design and Sew an A-Line Skirt. And today and tomorrow, I have FOUR more! Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all.
These two are some of my favorites of all the samples I made, one in an incredible wool plaid and the other in a dreamy cotton print.
This wool plaid skirt is probably going to be the hardest to send to another home. It’s 100% wool, but I can’t even describe how soft and supple the fabric is, and how drapey. It has the most lovely hand, and was a joy to sew as well as to try on and swish about the house in. The plaid is very, very subtle, and the color is a rich ashy charcoal with shots of plum and navy.
Isn’t it gorgeous? The way the fabric falls in the folds created by the volume in this version is really beautiful, and I imagine it with boots and tights for cooler months.
This one has a double-fold bias tape waistband, along with the invisible zip that all these skirts share. It hits right at the knee, and is really 50s demure but somehow also modern and clean and classic.
There is a single on-seam pocket here, on the hip opposite the side zip. Pockets get a lesson all their own in the Craftsy class, and I love adding them–I’m pretty sure that everything really should have pockets in order to be finished, and couldn’t resist adding one to this sample.
Rather than overcasting or serging the seams, all the raw edges are finished with bias tape in a contrasting cotton print, which I love. It’s like a little surprise on the inside that only you see! The waistband is hand-stitched to the inner edge for a clean, couture-style finish.
Today’s other skirt is out of a print from Thomas Knauer’s Frippery line, and I can’t get enough of these colors. It’s warm but also summery and so delicious. And the triangles!! This simple cotton version of the skirt is the basic pattern with facings and darts.
I mean, look at that fabric. LOOK AT IT. Dude.
Another invisible zipper, and here you can see that the lower edge of the facing is finished with an overcast stitch, and the facing is understitched–both techniques included in the class, should you want to make your own version of the skirt!
Just like yesterday and the day before, simply leave a comment to win! You are free to comment on EACH of the four posts this week to enter to win one of the eight skirts I’m giving away–in fact, I’d recommend it, as it will quadruple your chances of getting one of these babies in the mail! International entries are welcome. Winners will be announced Monday, Feb 18 here on the blog!
Posted on February 13, 2013
Another day, and TWO more skirts! These are both samples from my Design and Sew an A-Line Skirt class on Craftsy. A couple folks have asked whether the pattern for these skirts is also available, and it is–when you make it! This online class covers the basic skills of patternmaking using an a-line skirt as the test subject. Through a dozen lessons and more than ten hours of video instruction, you’ll learn the foundational skills that will allow you to make this very pattern to fit YOUR measurements–and that includes how to properly take your measurements, so that all your patterns will fit better.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s giveaway post, I made 16 samples for this class, so that I’d be armed with tons of variations to share on camera. I wanted to inspire and motivate every student who takes the class to feel empowered to make exactly what you dreamed of–and to maybe plant some ideas of the possibilities in your head. But I already have a whole closet FULL of skirts from Stitch by Stitch, and I hate the idea of being selfish and greedy and keeping every one of these a-line skirts to myself. I pulled out a few that I love, love, love and couldn’t bear to part with (I’ll share photos of those on Flickr later this week), and then selected others that, under the duress of an over-full closet and in the interest of generosity and Valentine’s Day spirit, I felt I could let go on to good and loving homes where they’d be worn and appreciated!
Today, two more skirts that represent additional techniques you learn in the Craftsy lessons, and ways the pattern can be adapted to your preferences as you draft it yourself!
The first is made with slightly more volume than the ones from yesterday, using the slash-and-spread technique that’s taught as one of the lessons in Design and Sew an A-Line Skirt. So it’s got more flair than the others, which makes it swirly and fun! Add this amazing Patty Young print, and the fact that with the extra flair, this skirt lacks darts, and it’s a really great, modern look to wear in warmer weather.
The odd lighting on this gloomy day doesn’t really do it justice, but the Kona cotton bias tape waistband is a dead match for the lovely plummy colors in this print. And I like that it’s a solid, so a contrast, but a subtle and classy one at the waistline. It will also define your waist with that horizontal line so, if you’re like me and pretty banana-shaped, you’ll have more curves in a skirt with this shape and a strong contrasting “belt” at the waist.
I mean, how great is this print?!? I totally love it. And this plum color has been my obsession lately. I didn’t think I could really pull it off next to my face, even though I originally bought the print to make into a Tova, but a skirt! Sure! Of course, now that’s moot, since it’s going to belong to ONE OF YOU. Yay!
Another invisible zipper, this one caught in the bias tape waistband. The waistband technique is clearly taught as part of the course, and there’s lots of up-close video action.
Second skirt today: this dreamy geometric print from Cloud9. I struggled the most deciding to give this one away, and not least because of the colors. I lurve the ruffle at the hemline, and think it’s such a simple but grown-up way to add a little sass to a simple skirt. I didn’t want to do anything too juvenile with this one, but a single, understated ruffle right at the hem seemed to strike the perfect balanced note of playful and sophisticated.
This one has a facing at the waistline, and does have front and back darts. Upper waistline edge measures 34″, and the invisible zipper is stitched to the facing on the interior. All the raw edges of this skirt are finished with a simple overcast stitch using the sewing machine–no serger required! That technique is also taught as part of the Craftsy course.
See what I mean about the ruffle? It’s dreamy. It is stitched above the finished hemline, so you won’t have to worry that it’ll fly up or reduce the overall length of the skirt–all of these are made to hit just above or just at the knee, so they’re pretty and feminine but also appropriately modest and classy. Audrey would approve.
As before, simply leave a comment to win! You are free to comment on EACH of the four posts this week to enter to win one of the eight skirts I’m giving away–in fact, I’d recommend it, as it will quadruple your chances of getting one of these babies in the mail! International entries are welcome. Winners will be announced Monday, Feb 18 here on the blog!