What Are You Working On is a community diary series for all things crafty, in a variety of mediums and techniques.

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A Basic Skirt:

The above skirt required only one stitching line and one seam.  There are very few steps in making a skirt, especially for a child ;-)  You don't even need a pattern!

1.  Select fabric - I chose something sparkly and pink for her dance recital.  There were little bits of rhinestones here and there.  I bought two yards (~72 inches).  The fabric was ~60 inches wide.

Tools for this part:

2.  Determine size to cut:  you do not sew with the selvage edges - that extra-tight weaving along the edges.  Don't cut it off early though - it stabilizes the fabric, especially fussy fabric!  The length is the whole amount you bought, and you might lose one or two inches if you need to square up the edges.

Out of this available width and length, determine the size of the skirt fabric:  for my daughter, who is not very tall and whose waist is around 20 inches, I decided the length of the skirt (cut across the width of the fabric) would be 19 inches, and I would use the entire length of fabric, which gives me ~3.5 times her waist.

Your math will be different depending on the person wearing the skirt and your fabric.

3.  Sewing with Nancy taught me to do as much work on a garment while it was still flat, even if that meant ignoring the pattern instructions.

For this basic skirt, it means:  finish the lower edge and the waistband first, then sew the side seam.

4.  Because this fabric is so sheer and slippery, I decided I wanted minimal seams.  Therefore, I used my pinking blade of my rotary cutter to cut the lower edge, which finishes the hem.

5.  Also to minimize seaming, I decided to fold the width of the fabric over, and use the fold as the waistband, with a casing for the elastic.  Here is the fabric folded over the mid-line of the length, with the fold to the right and both selvage edges to the left:

Now we move to the sewing machine.  I put new thread in, a light pink.  I also wound a bobbin, and put in a new needle.  I sewed on a scrap to test the tension.  I chose a long straight stitch.  I also chose "needle down" because that is my preference.

6.  First stitching:  the casing seam for the elastic waistband.  Just stitch from edge to edge, being careful not to let the weight of the fabric pull on the needle from any direction.

I used the edge of my stitch plate for a guide, it made the casing about 1.25 inches wide.  I was kind of wrestling with a mass of slippery shiny pink fabric:

7.  When the casing was complete, I inserted the elastic.  I used 3/4 inch non-roll elastic, and overlapped the ends by one inch, sewing a rectangle around the double-layer to secure it.

8.  Now the side seam:  Because of this fabric's tendency to shred on a cut edge, I chose to sew a french seam.  I thought this would give me the "cleanest" looking finish and seam.  Whenever you sew a seam, the edges have to be finished - you can tell by looking at your ready-made garments.  The edge can be pinked, overcast with a serger stitch, or encased in a french seam or using the thin "seams so easy" product.

A french seam means sewing the seam with the fabric right sides together, then sewing a second seam by turning everything around and sewing the same seam with the wrong sides together.  This encases the raw cut edges inside the stitching, and they will stay put.

Here is the first seam, finished:

Then I trimmed the edge down to less than 1/4 inch, probably 1/8 to 3/16 of an inch.

Here is the sewing of the second encasing seam - see how rounded the right edge looks?  I tried to sew as narrowly as possible without catching the raw edges I was encasing.

Here is the finished skirt, posing above, and in action below:

I offered to cut a handkerchief edge with my pinking shears, or to shorten it, but my daughter was pleased with the original length.

Here is a video for sewing a simple skirt with slightly different methods.

After the big Holy week stuff, and big Easter day, and daughter's birthday weekend, I kind of lost my focus for knitting.  It was hard to follow patterns and even to count to four.

I was at Joann's and this yarn leaped into my basket.  It was so happy.

I am going to use it to yarn-bomb my front yard in some way.  It is bright enough.  I just grabbed a length of yarn, did a long-tail cast on for the firm edge, and started knitting.  There are 54 stitches wide, and I am using size 10 needles.

I anticipate that I will knit this long enough to wrap around the trunk about 3 or 4 feet up from the ground.  Not sure which tree yet.

What Are You Working On?

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