Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tribute to an Old Piano Teacher and a Best Friend

I love pencil skirts, but since having a baby, I've found that most of my old pencil skirts don't fit quite right anymore (having a baby was definitely one of the biggest, but best, life changes I've experienced :)  Anyway, I had this fabric that I bought from a couple years ago when they had a huge amount of Vera Wang fabrics for sale.  At one point, all the Vera Wang fabric clearanced for $1.95/yard, which was awesome.  I bought a lot of incredible fabric for an even more incredible price, and this was one of the pieces.  It's been sitting patiently in my stash wanting to be a pencil skirt for a very long time, and I figured it was time to make its dreams come true :).

When I showed this skirt to my little sister, she said it looked like a skirt that our old piano teacher would wear, just in a different color, but she liked it anyway.  I'll just consider it a tribute to her :)

I have a wonderful friend named Holly.  We were roomates in college, and other than my family, she is my best friend.  She's gorgeous and amazing and a true friend.  She came to visit me about a month ago, and mentioned she liked a pencil skirt she saw in a magazine picture.  I told her I'd make one for her birthday and I knew this was the perfect fabric to make it from.  It's not going to get to her by her birthday, but hopefully she'll like it enough to forgive me for that.  Holly's skirt and my skirt are identical, except Holly's is longer, because she doesn't have short Shetland pony legs like me :)

The fabric is a mustard yellow wool-blend glenplaid weave.  It was great to work with.  I really love sewing with wool.  It moulds so nicely and is very forgiving of mistakes.  I pressed everything from the wrong side, so I didn't leave any iron marks.  It may be hard to see from the picture, but the fabric has a little bit of a pile in the darker checks.  It makes it feel kind of velvety, but it also is prone to crushing if you're not careful ironing it.  The pattern I used was Burda 8155.  It's a basic pencil skirt with back zipper and straight waistband.  The pattern originally had a slit, but I don't like slits in skirts, so I changed it to a vent.  It also was not lined, but I added a chocolate brown lining (Holly picked the lining color, and it looks great).

I used dark brown leather button for the back.  I know it doesn't match, but I like how it looks with the fabric and skirt style.  I also did a lapped zipper instead of a center back zipper, because I like how they look better.  I used a method from Threads magazine, Issue #134.  It's a great way of putting lapped zippers in and if you can find that issue, I'd highly recommend checking it out.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with how the skirts turned out, even if they do look like my old piano teacher's skirts :)  I got 2 skirts out of 1 1/2 yards of designer fabric for a total cost of about $7.00 for both skirts, including lining, button and zipper!  Not too shabby...

Maybe Holly will send me a picture of her in the skirt when she gets it and I'll post it if she does.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Little Tiny Sailboat Skirts

My other sister-in-law is having a baby girl (any day now) and for her baby shower, I made a little Oliver + S Sailboat Skirt in dark denim.  It was so cute, I had to make one...well, actually, two...Sailboat Skirts for Miss S.  I made another exactly like the one I made for my sister-in-law in dark denim, then I made one in a tan fine wale corduroy that I've had in my stash for a few years.  I used the size 6-12 months, and cut the elastic a little smaller to fit.

There's a little kickpleat in the back to give a little more room to move and sit.  The front waistband is flat, but there's elastic in the back for comfort and flexibility.

The front buttons open so it is easier to put on.

I love these little skirts.  They look so cute on.  They look kind of like doll skirts and kind of like adult skirts.  I think they're absolutely adorable.

I used some vintage shell buttons that I got from this Etsy seller (still on the card!).  I love the pattern and color of these buttons.  The off-white looks great with both the dark denim and the tan corduroy.

(Obviously, I like them...unfortunately, they're almost gone)

I edgestitched the edges with a heavy thread to make it stand out more.  I like using Coats & Clark Heavy Duty thread to do topstitching, because my machine handles it well and it shows up well.  I also used a topstitching needle, otherwise my machine jams up with thread this heavy.

Anyway, I think they turned out cute!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Oliver + S Jump Rope Dress in Corduroy

Before Miss S was born, I was totally paranoid about her freezing to death, since she was due in December.  I was on bedrest and couldn't go shopping to buy her any clothes, so I ordered a bunch of little fleece jammies from Target, and that put my mind at ease.  She's older now, but I still worry about her being too cold.  So I thought I'd better make her some warm little dresses to wear to church.  I absolutely love Oliver + S patterns, and I made a Jump Rope Dress for a baby gift for my sister-in-law.  It turned out adorably (it was the version with short sleeves and a belt and I made it in a little white and baby pink striped cotton, but neglected to take any pictures), so I thought I'd make one in a warm corduroy for Miss S for fall and winter.

I found this little brown and fuchsia printed corduroy at Joann.  It is a baby wale and super soft.  I got the solid fuchsia baby cord for the collar, placket and trim at Joann as well.  I was a little nervous about sewing with the corduroy, since it's difficult to press without crushing the pile, but I just used a scrap of corduroy face up on my ironing board, then pressed the dress from the wrong side and it worked out just fine.

Liesl's instructions in the Oliver + S patterns are fantastic.  The placket and collar are clearly explained and come together perfectly.  The thing I love so much about these patterns is that they always turn out so well.  It can be incredibly discouraging to spend hours on a sewing project and end up with something you just want to hide under the bed (or better yet, in the garbage can...), but these always seem to work out.

I also love the sweet little details, like the gathered pockets with binding, the turned up cuffs and the placket. It makes the finished project just that much more cute!