Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Little skirts




A few weeks ago, I made this pile of skirts for the GB. I'm always looking for simple sewing ideas for little girls' clothes and I found a wonderful tutorial on a blog called Punkin Patterns; they're called Easy-Peasy Skirts and they are exactly that. We love the way they turned out, but we are waiting until it gets a bit cooler before she wears them. This tutorial made the process very simple and quick; I have slightly better than moderate sewing skills and each skirt took about half an hour for me to make, following the tutorial exactly as written. As with other tutorials I blog about, I won't rewrite Punkin Patterns' excellent how-to, but I'll show you some of the process, which I photographed as I went.

I used 21-wale (also called "pinwale" or "pincord") corduroy for all four skirts. Corduroy is categorized by the number of wales, or cords, per inch. 21-wale is the finest type. It's not an especially heavy material, but I wanted the skirts to be a little bit warm for fall and winter; the GB wears tights or leggings under her dresses and skirts in cold weather, but as a worrywart, I like to make sure she is plenty warm, especially when she's on the playground at preschool. She's good about zipping her coat and remembering her hat and mittens but I always fear her little legs getting cold. These skirts will provide an extra bit of insulation. The skirts can, of course, be made with basic cotton material too, and I might do a few like that for next spring and summer.


All but the aqua corduroy is by Robert Kaufman, I think from the Cool Cords line. The aqua is by Valori Wells, from her Nest line. I bought them all from Fabric.com; they have an excellent selection of lightweight corduroy. Each skirt required half a yard of fabric. The width of the skirt should be twice the waist measurement, to allow the fabric to gather once the elastic has been put in. With corduroy, the lines (wales) run up and down perpendicular to the width; on the bolt, they'll look like they're going sideways.


I'm a big believer in having lots of thread - even if you don't use a color very often, it's nice to have it. Thread is cheap and easy to store. For these skirts, I only purchased one color - that neon green you see near the center of the photo. It was a shot in the dark, because I didn't have the fabric with me when I bought it, but it ended up being almost perfect, well worth the $1.50 it cost. You'll want to make sure you have the right elastic too; I used 1" no-roll elastic to keep the waistbands nice and flat when she wears them. I often buy my elastic from Fabric.com too; they sell it by the 1/2 yard, just like their fabrics, and the prices are great.




Easy-peasy, indeed. Sew the ends together, hem the bottom, make a tunnel for the waistband elastic. It was quick, quick, quick, back and forth between ironing board and sewing machine a few times. There were minor episodes of measuring and pinning, but nothing too strenuous.


I deliberately left the fabric a bit long; Punkin Patterns suggested having the skirts fall just below the knee and I added another inch or so beyond that. This is mostly for longevity of use; the waists are very stretchy and she's a very skinny little thing, small for her age. I figure that with the extra bit of length, she will be able to wear her skirts for at least a couple of years. We're not fanatical about modesty in this house; I'm just happy to let her be comfy for a long time to come. A longer skirt means easier playing.


 This one is my favorite. I love sweet little birdies on girls' clothes and the colors are so pretty.


This one is the GB's favorite. She likes the "hot pink and hot green" flowers, she says.


 The owls are really cute and we're big owl fans around here in general, so why not wear them too?


This brown paisley pattern is so pretty. It's nice that brown is a girls' color again.

I really enjoy making clothing for my daughter. I wish it were more economical to sew clothing, like it used to be. I'm dedicated to bargain-hunting and rarely splurge on anything expensive for the kids (well, or anyone else, really), so I tend to buy most of their clothing second-hand. Sewing clothing at home is enjoyable and satisfying, but it doesn't always save money. These skirts were very thrifty, though; I bought the corduroy when it was discounted so each half-yard cost about $3, plus the cost of the elastic (about 50 cents per skirt). A cute $3-4 skirt is pretty hard to beat, second-hand or otherwise, so I feel they were a very good value.

They're going to look really cute with her winter school shoes. They're beige leather with appliqued peacocks on them. Lucky girl. I'd like to find grown-up shoes featuring peacocks. She loves her new skirts and she's excited to wear them. We can pair them with long-sleeved tees and sweaters, with tights or leggings. She's starting to pick her own outfits now and she's surprisingly adept at this. She also likes to pile on three or four necklaces at a time, which is fine except for when she has ballet class. I try not to place much importance on looks or wardrobe but it's interesting to watch her develop her sense of self: she knows what makes her feel good.


In the age-old tradition, full skirts inevitably lead to spinning. Swirly, twirly, girly Bear.

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I just wanted to say how much I appreciate your kind words on my last post, about feeling discouraged. It just seemed like some things were changing in Blogland and I felt concerned. I think people are correct about other social media taking over. I'm not really into any of that myself, though. I started my blog because it seemed like fun, and also because I love to make things and enjoy sharing them, but was left feeling like other social media venues weren't right for it. People can be surprisingly harsh. Blogging seemed a better choice for me. Then I realized that a blog could be an excellent place to record daily life "stuff" and I've loved doing that too. I'm proud of my simple, satisfying life at home; we've worked hard to have a life that we truly enjoy. It's a blessing to have a place like this to discuss and share with like-minded people. I try not to pay attention to stats or followers but of course I am thrilled to know that people are reading my blog and coming back for more, and that I have even inspired a few people. These interactions are some of the most fulfilling parts of blogging. So thank you for being here and for being supportive and inspiring!

52 comments:

  1. It seems so unfair that we cannot wear pretty skirts like this, or peacock shoes! Love the skirts though, especially the owl one. I would have had to make that into a cushion I think if I had that fabric. Hope that GB has lots of fun wearing them all with lots of necklaces - now that is something that I can join in with - ha!

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  2. Those skirts are adorable! I agree with you - the bird skirt is my favourite too!

    I'm sorry I didn't leave a comment on your last post, but as you know I too have been feeling a little discouraged about blogging. After I took a step back though I realized that I should stop worrying about followers and stats. I blog because I enjoy writing. Whether or not others read it isn't the point. I love your blog - your pictures, your day-to-day life with your family, seeing a glimpse of a different area of North America, your creativity, and the list could go on and on. :-)

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  3. Im new to your blog and love it x

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  4. Oh lovely skirts - and I especially like the fact that they lead to spinning! x

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  5. Blogging schmogging. Numbers are immaterial. I had a time when I worried about the statistics and was jealous of other more successful blogs, but then I had to think why I blog and that means just for me.
    The skirts are brilliant. I wish I could have peacocks and owls on my clothes!

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  6. How lovely! They turned out wonderful. I enjoy simple sewing projects. (And I still enjoy spinning around with my little one) -Of course after a while I'm dizzy, and she's still going..hehe. Cute skirts Jennifer~

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  7. What a fun collection of skirts for GB! She is such a lucky girl to have a mom like you to see that she has fun clothes to wear to school. I never had much in the way of school clothes and didn't have enough to wear a different one one each day of the week, so I had to wear things twice. I always made sure my kids had enough school clothes. --- Say, why are you having sad thoughts about blogging? You do a great one, you're always so positive and inspirational to me.. so hang in there and don't worry about stuff.. you have friends out here! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  8. Such sweet skirts, I love them!! I am definitely going to give it a whirl. I so love corduroy and these patterns are so lovely. xoxo

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  9. Your gal is going to be quite the fashionista this fall! LOVE the skirts, I'm newish to sewing but I actually think I know enough to give this a go - thank you for sharing your photos and tips! Chrissie x

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  10. So, so cute! I love them all.

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  11. Gorgeous little skirts Jennifer.My mum used to make all my clothes when I was a little girl.
    I really love the cotton reel storage too, very clever, you can see what you want at a glance and keeps them all neat and tidy.

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  12. These skirts are so pretty, you clever thing, I agree with GB, I like the green and pink one the best, but they are all soooo sweet.
    Clare x

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  13. Beautiful skirts - I'd quite like the paisley one for my winter skirt!!Clever Mummy. My bloggy friend, Meredith of Mereknits (you can get a link to her blog on my comments if you don't both already follow each other) has just done a great post about the social media thingy. Worth a read.

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  14. These are such gorgeous little skirts! Really adorable, especially the owl print one, so sweet.
    Marianne x

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  15. Aw there so cute! I'd love to be able to make them for my daughter. Love the bird print x

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  16. Gosh, I've missed so much! Love your sprucing up! It's sad when we loose pets isn't it, they really are like family members.
    Those little skirts are so cute, your daughter will look fab in them! :) x

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  17. Love every last one,they have all turned out brilliantly.

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  18. This are so cute! You are really talented - I feel lucky if I can hem my pants :) Have a great long weekend.

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  19. You are incredible, Jennifer...
    I sewed for my girls, and loved every minute of it!
    Your blog is one of my favorite "go to" places...
    I always feel elated and uplifted when I leave...
    Keep up the good work...I love it!

    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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  20. These are so darling, and you are so talented! The birdie skirt is my favorite too, but they are all just lovely! I really want to learn to sew some day, so I can make things for my daughter and myself.

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  21. Of course we are reading your blog, it is wonderful and so are you! Love the skirts, they are so perfect for a lovely little girl.
    Hugs to you,
    Meredith

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  22. Love the skirts and remember making similar for my girl who is now 35 ☺

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  23. Great job , those are very cute !
    Psst ~ Buttercup postcards sent yesterday :)

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  24. How wonderful and fun those little skirts look, I always enjoy reading your blog.

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  25. Hi there, popping in from Christine Lowry's blog. Those skirts look wonderful and OMG those OWLS - my 7 year old is OWL crazy, she would love that....it's going to be Spring/Summer here in Australia so that type of fabric wouldn't do us but you have inspired me to look for some cute owl fabric. I agree that making clothes in 2013 is expensive. When I was a teenager I used to sew myself flared shorts and a cute top out of Hawaiian fabric - all the girls in our neighbourhood wore them. It was cheaper then even buying a $10 pattern but these days when you can buy a skirt and top from kmart or big w for $10-$12 it' seems easier. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

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  26. i'm not a very skilled sewer and am afraid of making clothing but i would like too at some point for my wee ones, even just one thing each so i can say i did it! i like that these are called "easy-peasy" much more likely to have a bash. yours are absolutely lovely x

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  27. Hi Jennifer,Such lovely little skirts!!!I am sure the GB can't wait to wear them!!!Pretty cottons with lace trimming will be great for summer!!!Have a great day!!!
    Love
    AMarie

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  28. Thanks for the link. I like simple patterns and will definitely make some to these skirts. I would have loved to wear the brown paisley skirt when I was a child.

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  29. Fantastic little skirts Jennifer and I LOVE the fabric patterns and colours - what a great job you've done of showing us how!
    I used to make all the clothes for my girls when they were smaller - and some special items when they were bigger too - such a worthwhile and enjoyable task isn't it!
    Joy xo

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  30. They're fabulous. The owl skirt is my favourite. How I wish that my daughter was still an age that she'd wear these skirts,at 15 she's developed her own style, and it's definitely different to mine.

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  31. Really pretty, simple skirts I love them. Those colours are quite lovely :)

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  32. Blogger just ate my comment! I will try again.

    Lovely skirts! It's such a great feeling to make something for your little ones and see them wear it, isn't it? I made a few skirts for Emerson recently, but after a mishap with some paint at Playgroup, I think I might need to make a couple more. :)

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  33. This brings back memories of my school days. My dear mom would sew most of our clothing. We hardly ever got anything store bought. I have fond memories of mom sitting in front of her sewing machine sewing away. She had 4 girls and dressed them all in handmade clothing. I know you take satisfaction in making those sweet skirts for your daughter. Isn't it nice to know you're also making a few memories for her too. Handmade things are made with so much love. Sure beats store bought!

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  34. I'm totally in live with the owl skirt and the brown paisley. Will u put my name down for the next make? :))
    You are right , lots of forms of social media is so very harsh. And who needs that. Life is hard enough without people being mean. I got very discouraged too about my blogging for a while and that's why I took my break. I wanted to remember why I started blogging and what it meant to me. Before I was very caught up in follower numbers and stats but now it doesn't bother me at all. I know now that I've made some really lovely friends through my blog and I think that's all that matters.
    Rosie

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  35. I am in love with them all. I think cord skirts are so classy for little girls. I have white spots on a black background to make up into a skirt some time. I have used the same blog link - it is fab. Jo x

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  36. I love the owl one, I could even see myself wearing it :) You did such a great job on all 4 of them!

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  37. There's nothing better than making a simple skirt for your own little lady ;) Corduroy is such a cozy fabric, nice for sewing and the patterns you've chosen are all so jazzy! I'm sure her friends will be asking their own moms to make them some too. Now to find a simple top pattern to go with them! (You didn't think you could stop at the skirts did you?! tsk tsk) Have a great weekend Jennifer. Wendy x

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  38. Gorgeous little skirts! Love cord :) Kx

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  39. Hi there! I'm Liv and Australia mum, artist and recently blogger. I read your comments on Mel's post over at Maxabellas and had to come and "meet" you for myself.
    You are one crafty lady, my dream is to teach myself to sew and crochet (one day!) but for now it's painting x

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  40. These skirts are so cute, I made one a while back for my littler girl and I am have fabric ready to make another. They really are so easy (for me to make them, they must be!) You have made me want to make another one soon, but my sewing and knitting have gone downhill lately. I love the fabric you have chosen, especially the owl print! No wonder GB loves them so much. :)) x

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  41. I bet she loves these, they're so pretty!

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  42. Oh my gosh!!!!
    Those skirts are gorgeous!!!
    Thank you for this post I've wanted to find an easy skirt pattern as well.
    And I absolutely adore your blog, but now I'm in the classroom its hard to visit all of my wonderful bloggy friends, but since its a 3 day weekend, I plan to catch up! Yay me!
    Have a great holiday weekend!!
    Tammy x

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  43. Oh my gosh!!!!
    Those skirts are gorgeous!!!
    Thank you for this post I've wanted to find an easy skirt pattern as well.
    And I absolutely adore your blog, but now I'm in the classroom its hard to visit all of my wonderful bloggy friends, but since its a 3 day weekend, I plan to catch up! Yay me!
    Have a great holiday weekend!!
    Tammy x

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  44. Carry on doing what you're doing, Jennifer, your blog is a gem. As are you, I imagine.

    I really enjoyed your post about Angus, by the way. x

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  45. Your daughter is a very lucky little lady, so many beautiful skirts :) I don't think an elasticated waist band would suit me so unfortunately I've got to stick to zips but I love the simplicity of these & the fact you can make one so speedily!

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  46. Absolutely beautiful,perfect little skirts.
    Thank you for your kind comment,
    Carol xx

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  47. Can you please tell me the brand name of the thread you use? Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. Hi, I almost always use Coats & Clark Dual Duty XP in my sewing.

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    2. Also where did you buy the plastic container you keep them in? I'm setting up my sewing box. You have inspired me to give these skirts a go.

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    3. I'm so glad I could inspire you! The skirts were really easy and fun to make. I've made some other more summery ones since. The thread caddy was a gift from my husband a few years ago and I think he bought it at Hancock Fabrics. I would think you could get something similar at most fabric/sewing stores. You can also check Amazon.com; I have ordered some similar organizers for embroidery floss from there. Good luck!

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