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.
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!