I have been a bit hesitant about making any clothing for myself, I will admit. Baby/little kid’s clothing seems easier–less fabric to mess with (less to buy/less to totally *#$% up), fewer curves of the body, no darts, usually no zippers….plus I have a beautiful grandchild to sew for. Why would I want to make something for myself?
Well, for starters, to make something for myself. Besides a pillow, I mean.
Plus, it stretches your skills in whole new ways. And isn’t that a good thing?
(Trying to stave off the Alzheimer’s as long as possible, folks.)
I had received this skirt pattern from my daughter-in-law Kaylee for Christmas.
This is probably considered “vintage” even though it is right around from when I was in high school. (Ahem.)
I thought it would be a good fit for some red with white polka dot material (that I had originally been planning on using for a dress for Addie, but changed my mind to the green chevron).
And look! It says “very easy” on the front.
In French, even. ”Très facile”.
Oui, oui! J’aime ça! (Yes! I like it!)
I plunged in.
The first decision to make was: what size am I really, in 1981 Butterick-pattern-thinking?
I held up the pattern to me and although I wear about a 12 nowadays, the 12 on the pattern didn’t look like it was going to be big enough.
Going with the theory that it was easier to take away fabric than to add it, I decided to cut out the size 16, and adjust from there if necessary.
(I am also painfully aware that clothing manufacturers have “sized up” the sizes from 30 years ago. Meaning I wore a size 10-12 in high school as well, and I know dang well I am not the same size I was in high school.)
I cut out the tissue paper pattern (not a fan of tissue paper patterns, by the way–so wispy and flighty) and then used them to cut out my fabric pieces.
Butterick pattern writers were obviously not getting paid by the word in their directions, because they tended to be….terse. Pin this. Sew that. Brevity was their bread and butter. I do better with a preponderance of word directions, rather than just illustrations (both are best!). So it was challenging in that regard. I usually had to read the instructions several times. And then once or twice more.
So très facile? Not really.
I won’t walk you through all of the painful steps involved in making this project. But let’s just mention that I ripped out the invisible zipper not once, not twice, but three times before successfully inserting it into the skirt where and how it was actually supposed to go.
Having said that, I messed up a little on where the end of the zipper was to be, and had to make some modifications on my hook and eye closure for the waistband.
But look! Invisible zipper!
In the process of making the aforementioned waistband, I was having a difficult time getting it gathered; the basting thread kept breaking. So I decided to just take some of the material out and make it a less full, gathered skirt. This was probably a good idea anyway, since I tend to look better/less hippy (hippish? big hipped?) in a slimmer skirt instead of a gathered one.
I like the fact that it has pockets.
As I mentioned, there were skills and things that I stretched myself on a bit on this one. Some turned out well; others not so great.
Things I liked about this project:
good length for me
less gathered => success
polka dot pattern matched up/didn’t look too wonky anywhere
learned how to do pockets!
adjusted the waistband to actually fit my waist
Things I wasn’t crazy about:
pockets seem slightly “off”, like maybe they aren’t exactly at the same height? Or something?
didn’t get the zipper up next to the waistband far enough, so the waistband in the back doesn’t look totally smooth and uberprofessional
I also realized–I hardly have any tops to go with this skirt. What colors/patterns go with red with white polka dots? Black? Seems like it might go a little Minnie Mouse-ish. I tried a lighter blue chambray-type button down shirt with it. Maybe. It’s a possibility. White or cream? I don’t look good with white right next to my face, unless it’s broken up by something else.
Basically, I have little that goes with red.
(Can you tell I normally don’t wear red much? Except on Husker Game Day, that is. :))
Anyway. I am still proud of this garment, because I tried something different and more difficult and out of my normal comfort zone, and I got more experience (LOTS of experience) with putting in a zipper, and how to put in pockets.
Which brings me to a couple of other small sewing projects….
Zach told me that he really likes wearing the pajama pants I made him, for lounging around the house, but wished that they had pockets, so that he had somewhere to put his phone.
Hey. I know how to put in pockets now!
I found some leftover flannel from the original pants, used the pocket pattern piece to cut some out, ripped out the side seam areas where they were to go, and sewed them in.
What? You can’t tell? Okay.
Perfect for a cell phone, a pencil, or a Pop-Tart. (Hey, we don’t judge. Whatever you need to be hauling around, as long as it’s not left in there to make a sticky mess in the laundry.)
(I would also like to take this opportunity to apologize for not putting in pockets into all of those pajama pants I made and gave for gifts. You know who you are.)
One last project to show off. My mom’s birthday was in April, and I wanted to send her a little something.
Cue Martha Stewart, and a project that I pinned on Pinterest awhile back: quilted coasters.
I used some flannel fabric scraps and some heat-resistant padding that I bought once to make some hot pads.
The quilting was pretty easy; just keep going around in a spiral-y, boxy pattern.
Great for resting your coffee mug or iced tea glass on.
Because Martha certainly would not approve of water rings on your table.
Then again, she probably wouldn’t approve of my imperfect polka-dot skirt.
But that’s okay. I like it–imperfections and all.