Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Dozen Reasons to Love Sassy Skirt by Children's Corner, part 1 of 3

The following blog post was done for a SAGA local chapter program.  Enjoy!

Years ago I found skirts were fast and easy to make for my daughter.  Pair it up with a purchased t-shirt and I had an outfit in a few hours.  They are a natural combination.  So why were some skirts my daughter's favorites and how did I finally find a skirt to fall in love with.  

Follow my journey of the last few years.......

Above are skirts made of 2 rectangles of fabric (cute fabric).  The waist band is folded over and sewn down with elastic inserted into the band.  
Pros:  Quick and easy.  You don't need a pattern.
Cons:  The waist creeps up and down her waist area and bunches up.  The full width of the bottom of the skirt is also at the waistline.  I find that she never picks these skirts on her own (even though it is cute fabric.)

These skirts are almost like the first models, pairs of rectangles sewn together.  Now the top yoke is not the full width of the skirt making it a little better.  This time I folded the waistband closer to where I inserted elastic, which keeps the skirt from shifting and bunching.  
Pros:  Same as above.
Cons:  The waistband still creeps around her waist and I catch her pulling the skirt up and down.  I could tighten the elastic, but not many little girls like the feeling of that option.  My daughter is very thin, but a fuller figure is not anywhere near the same from the top of waist to bottom of yoke.  I found even on my daughter's thin frame a not very flattering silhouette emerge as the skirt gets too small.

This skirt tries to fix some of the draping issues from the above skirts, by cutting the rectangle on the bias.  It made the fitting situation a little better, but I didn't think it compared to my winner.
Pros:  Tries to ease a little of the drape from the top of the yoked waistband to the bottom.
Cons:  Takes up a lot of fabric to cut this from the bias, with little improvement on the drape.

I tried other varieties of skirts.  I made this cute skirt from Children's Corner called Katie's Skirt.  It is a great skirt, but I found my daughter folding up the hem to make it shorter, so her legs could climb higher or jump farther. 

At this point you might wonder why I didn't just put her in shorts...... 
because I found something she loved.

Sassy Skirt by Children's Corner

I started sewing this skirt like most of us do......following the pattern.

This is view A from the pattern, minus the belt.  The top yoke is fitted in the front and back, with elastic  in the back waistband to allow easy on/off for girls.  I found the elastic in the back was just enough to hold this skirt firmly in place without the up and down motion I found when I used elastic all the way around the waist.  View A has two bias-cut skirt layers of different lengths.

View B has the same yoke, but with a double layered gathered skirt at the bottom.  This skirt on the left is too small for my daughter now, but it is still one of my favorites.

View C has the same yoke and has two long layers from View A's A-line, bias cut skirt.

From here I started to creatively add to and subtract from this great pattern.  I found I could substitute it for the yucky rectangle pattern piece on many patterns.  So, here is my first listing of a dozen ways to remake this cute skirt.

1.  Pleat the full skirt.  

I took the full skirt and instead of gathering it, I pleated the fabric with about a 1" inset pleat all the way around.  On a size 7, it makes the pleats about 2" apart.  You can play with it until you get your desired effect.  This is a very flattering skirt on a young girl.  

2.  Substitute it for the rectangle waistband on other skirts.

This cute skirt is from Pink Fig and is called Nei Nei.  As I was sewing all the ruffles together....and together..... and more of them together, I reached the waistband and found it to be a rectangle.  Since this skirt is gathered at the top, I simply replaced the rectangle with the yoke from Sassy Skirt.  It was a great success and makes this skirt fall gracefully from the waist.

3.  Add a drawstring to the skirt.

I had just finished this cute skirt when Lezette Thomason added a quick tutorial on her website on how to do this.  So, I will let her give the directions here.

4.  Add another layer onto the gathered skirt for a peasant skirt look.


These four skirts are some of my daughter's favorites.  She loves them long and full.  I think they feel great to wear and so these skirts are always in her laundry basket.  Lezette also gave directions for this skirt, which I actually followed.  

The navy blue gingham has red, white, and blue trim for the 4th of July.  

The lime green is made from a Robert Kaufman linen.  This skirt was a perfect match for what I wanted, so I proceeded with the linen even though I anticipated an ironing event after each wearing.  I was shocked to have this skirt look great straight out of the washer.  I just hang it to dry and it is ready to go.

The hot pink is made from crinkle cotton.  This skirt feels like cotton balls it is so soft.  I had never sewn with this fabric before and was frustrated when it stretched as I topstitched.  So, I added the elastic all the way around to keep it at a proper size.  I did sew the side seams onto the elastic so that the back and front elastic couldn't trade places.

The mermaid skirt from Michael Miller fabric was originally a View B skirt.  My daugher protested that mermaids needed long skirts, so I took off the inside layer and added it and a little fabric for the bottom layer.  ;)

Now for the complete outfits from this blog's skirts!

1.  Pink t-shirt embroidery from Embroidery Boutique.
2.  White t-shirt's mushrooms were purchased.
3.  4th of July rocket embroidery from Planet Applique.
4.  Flowers and birds embroidery from Stitch on Time and is called "flowerpower16".
5.  Mermaid applique from Embroidery Boutique.
6.  Yellow t-shirt purchased at Target and pin is self designed.
7.  Fushia shirt purchased at Target and pin is taken from Heather Bailey's fabric flower tutorial.
8.  "M" embroidery from Planet Applique and is called "Sweet Varsity".

Next week I will add four more ideas to go with this great skirt!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Jacqueline by Children's Corner

This sweet dress for spring is from the Children's Corner pattern "Jacqueline."  This fully-lined, smart-looking dress takes a total of 2 1/2 yards of fabric to make a size 7.  It is the perfect dress for a maturing girl who wants to look more grown-up without all the frills and full skirts.

This is a little closer view of the front.  It is great for all those fun fabrics for spring and summer.  I love it with two matching fabrics or a cute monogram embroidery at the top.

This is the back view where it buttons down the back.

For those of you who sew a lot, you usually get request for extra projects from your friends.  I couldn't turn down helping my son with this project.  I found out on Monday night he needed a flag/banner for his new patrol.  It had to be ready for Friday's campout. (Never mind the fact that my husband was out of town for the rest of the week and we had school and normal activities.)  But a quick trip to our new Joanne's store got us flag fabric and grommets.  We found an eagle on the internet to embroidery and we also put his patrol's motto on the flag, "We're Golden."  They are at a district camporee, so I can't wait to find out if everyone liked it.  

I have been very busy with skirt making for an upcoming local SAGA presentation.  I just finished taking 150 pictures of skirts!  April will be SKIRT MONTH for my blog.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Autumn Gold (AS&E 72)....A test of color translation

Sometimes I find the most beautiful dress and then think, that color would not flatter myself or my daughter.  I had been holding a bookmark on "Autumn Gold" in Australian Smocking and Embroidery #72 for some time.  The dress was right, but not the color.  So I decided to use a blue floral from my stash (most likely by Moda) and figured I could find a cute gingham to match.  After countless trips to the store, I chose a yellow and then tea dyed it to soften the color to match the dusty colors in the blue.  

I hope you can see the resemblance of the original in my creation.  The fit of this dress is right on, as it always is with AS&E.  The collar, sleeves, and hem are bound with gingham trim, which is hard to see from the glare in my picture.

The smocking is fairly fast due to a lattice pattern through most of it.  The hard part is getting those curves done symmetrically. I wish I had made the bullion knot roses larger, but the original wasn't too big either.  

The detailing on the sleeve is too cute.  There is no elastic in the sleeve, the smocking acts as elastic.

This is a great dress for my daughter and she loves wearing it!

Friday, March 11, 2011

One of my Favorites....Flower Child from AS&E 86

When I think about all the dresses I have made my daughter, this one will always stand out in my memory.  The smocking is simple and geometric.  The hydrangeas are simple French knots.  But the overall effect is simply sweet little girl.  

The pattern in AS&E comes in 4, 5, and 6 year sizing.  This is a 6 and should fit her for a time.  The bodice fits wonderfully.  This pattern done in any manner (no smocking or embroidery) would be a perfect fit for a little girl.  

The wind was blowing a bit when I took these pictures, but the hem really does hang straight.  It looks absolutely stunning on my little girl.  I was so happy that I had the exact yardage for the dress and still managed to match the plaids!

Enjoy spring weather!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Love Hearts Smocked Dress....AS&E 58

This lovely dress was made from the pattern in Australian Smocking and Embroidery #58.  The dress pattern is called "Love Hearts".  When my daughter was younger, this totally pink dress appeared in an issue.  I saved the magazine and a piece of pink plaid.  My pink plaid is a bit brighter than the pattern's fabric, so I used smocking colors that were a bit brighter.  I am so glad that most items in AS&E are timeless.  

This dress is called a basic square yoke in the smocking world.  It is simple to put together, but this dress has a few interesting features (embroidery on the collar and sleeve bands, a double hem pleat, and a buttoned back sash).  This dress is a size 5 year old in Australian sizing, which is much larger than American sizing.  My daughter is 7 years old and this dress fits her beautifully.  

I smocked the front of the dress first and then added the ribbon weaving.  I traced off the collar and sleeve bands and then used a fabric marker to mark the exact location of each heart.  

I love this dress and hope it inspires you to make a timeless dress for a little girl.