Love Story 3 column

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Basic Gathered Skirt

 Some time ago, I bought some remnant fabric from Joann. It was about 3/4 yard, and maybe $3-4. Years later, I rediscovered it in my stash and decided to finally make something out of it.

The fabric is a linen-look (with a tiny bit of stretch!) with olive flowers - some printed, some embroidered. As a redhead, I wear mostly autumn colors, so it was perfect. It just took me a while to figure out how to use it. So I finally just made a simple, gathered skirt. Want to know how?

All you need is fabric, elastic, and coordinating thread. My fabric is about 50" wide, which goes around me at the largest part (hips) with a little to spare, and the length is approx 30", which is plenty of length for a casing and hem, landing below my knees. Your finished width and length can be whatever you choose, depending on your preferences. Also, I used 1" elastic, which I think is just right for an adult waistband. To make a child's skirt, I would probably use 1/2".

Plan to use about 1 1/2" of the fabric length for the elastic casing and 1" for the hem. So add 2 1/2" to the length of skirt you want and make the cut.

If you are using the full fabric width, sew the 2 selvedge edges together and press open. You won't need to serge or zigzag since the selvedges are already finished and won't fray.

For the elastic casing/waistband, fold down and press 1/4", then 1" (plus a smidge to let the elastic go in easily). Note: if you're using a different width elastic, make the width of your second fold accordingly.

Sew the waistband all around, close to the first fold, leaving about 1 1/2" open (indicated by arrows). Cut a piece of elastic the circumference of your waist plus 1". Put a safety pin through the end of the elastic and feed it through the opening you left, all the way around.

Before the end of the elastic gets pulled in all the way, secure it to the skirt. If it gets pulled in, you'll have to start over, and that's never fun!

Overlap your elastic about an inch, then pin it and let it be drawn in to the waistband. Try it on for fit and adjust as needed.

Pull the elastic back out and sew the ends together. I like to sew a box around the overlapping section to make it extra secure. Hopefully you can see that in the picture. Draw the elastic back into the waistband and sew up the gap you fed the elastic through, being careful not to sew into the elastic.

The next step is optional, but I like to sew through the skirt and elastic in a few spots around the skirt (front, back, and sides). I hate it when I either wear something or wash it and the elastic gets twisted up within the waist. This will prevent that from happening!

All that's left is the hem! Fold up and press 1/2" all the way around, then another 1/2". Sew close to the first fold, and then you're done!

There you have it - a basic gathered skirt. I think this skirt took me an hour to make, and that includes stopping to take pictures of each step! I'm on the large side, so my skirt fits fairly straight. If you're a skinnier gal (lucky you!), your skirt will gather more tightly on the elastic and wear a little more a-line.

The possibilities here are pretty much endless. With just a few simple changes, you can have several different looks. Just a few off the top of my head: make it longer or shorter, fuller or straighter, add a ribbon or other trim near the bottom or maybe a solid-colored fabric band. You could make two side seams and sew in pockets.

If you're intimidated by sewing, I hope this simple project - no pattern, straight-line stitching - will give you the courage to give it a try.

Happy crafting,

Monday, June 6, 2011

Quick & Easy Gift

I direct the 1st-2nd Grade Children's Choir at my church. Every Christmas and spring I like to give my adult helpers a little gift to say Thanks! for all their assistance that year. (Good help is hard to find, and I've had some GREAT help in the 10 years - yikes! - I've been directing.) So last week I gave them this super easy and quickly-decorated frame. I'll tell you just how easy it was.

I started out with these way-cheap 4x6 unfinished wood frames from Ikea ($1.99 for a 3/pack - awesome!) and music note scrapbook paper from JoAnn's (about $.60 cents a page - I used two). Everything else - paint, mod podge, cardstock - I already had on hand. That's less than $5 for three gifts!!!

The only music-themed paper I found was bright white, but I wanted something that looked older. I tea-dyed the paper, which was really easy. I steeped one tea bag in about 1/2 cup of hot water, then used the tea bag to "paint" the tea onto the paper. The paper dries a little wavy, but if you're going to decoupage it, it will straighten out then.

I painted the bottom and sides of the frame in two coats of brown acrylic paint for a more finished look.

Then I traced the frame onto the paper, cut it out, and mod podged it on. Before I mod podged over the paper, I painted on a little glimmer - thicker on the frame edges, and just a little on the front. (I used DecoArt Dazzling Metallics in Champagne Gold.) I followed that with two coats of mod podge.

For the framed quote, I used part of a song our choir learned this spring for their May concert. I just typed it in Word and printed it on plain cardstock. Nothing tricky here!

So that's it. A quick and easy way to let someone know you appreciate them. You can easily adapt such an easy project to any theme or occasion by changing the paper and quote. You could use it as a picture frame, too - imagine that! Until next time...

Happy crafting,