Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Flirty Skirt

Now you can faint.
No posts for months.
Then, two in four days -- and both about sewing!
Sometimes I even surprise myself.

I must warn and apologize, though, the photographs are not stellar.
It was either spend time retaking photographs, or actually get this posted.
I decided on the latter.

I started this skirt last summer.  It was never completed for several reasons.
Nothing like an event this weekend to prompt me to pull it out, and give it another go.

The instructions I used are from Anna Maria Horner's blog, and can be found here.

The fabric is a voile from a quilting company.  To me, it seems more like a lawn.  It is the perfect weight for a summer skirt, and I really enjoyed working with the fabric.
 I lined it with a very sheer Swiss batiste.

A few summers ago, I purchased a skirt with a similar shirred waist and loved it.
It is easy to pull down on the hips a little, giving a smoother line and less fluff where many of us do not need more.  Yet, the elastic waist is so comfortable and easy to wear.

For now, it looks great with a white or cream t-shirt or tank and sandals.
I plan to pull in some of the darker colors with tops and cardigans this fall, and extend the wear a little.  It should still work nicely when I have to put away the white jeans and capris and linen slacks, but am not ready for winter wool skirts and slacks.

I have noticed many ready-to-wear summer skirts with hemline tucks.  This is one of my favorite techniques for hemming little girls' dresses.  It is quick, adds a finishing touch, and is very sturdy.  While I may not worry about pulling hems out on the playground, I have been known to rip out hems with my big feet when trying to get dressed too quickly!

For the lining, I simply turned a narrow hem twice, and machine stitched.

Here is a photograph of the shirred waist on the inside of the skirt. 
It gives a better idea of the four rows of narrow elastic casings which form the waistband.
Many mothers complain their young daughters do not like skirts that sit on the waist.
This might be the perfect solution!
The elastic could be adjusted in the casings to better fit the body, as it changes
from waistline to hip area,  Although, most little girls do not have as much variance as us big girls!
I did tweak the pattern a little, cutting my skirt rectangles more narrow to remove fullness.

I believe in trying to make the inside of my garments as finished as the outside, and often use
French seams in my construction.  Even with lightweight fabric, French seams might be too bulky in the waistline/casing area.  Instead, I turned the edge of each seam allowance to the wrong side, stitching close to the edge.

After giving the finished skirt a good pressing, I laid it on the ironing board and smashed the shirring and gathers flat, just slightly, and only for a few inches beyond the bottom casing.  I think it will help the gathers lie more smoothly, looking more like a flirty skirt and
less like a poofy dirndle skirt!

I am so glad this project is no longer in the UFO pile!  While I have not jumped on the maxi dress wagon, I do think this style would be darling in a maxi length.  I may consider that route for another piece of voile in my stash.  If so, I may remove even a little more fullness.

Have you made any summer skirts? 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tea with Dolly

Don't faint.
It really is me.  I have not fallen off the face of the earth, yet.
I have really enjoyed being unplugged for awhile.
I may, or may not, share some of my thoughts on that at a later date.
I may, or may not, stay plugged in after sharing this post.
Time will tell.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a little something I whipped up in my sewing room today!
For the past few years, I have made and donated a doll garment to an auction raising funds for a hospital's neonatal intensive care unit.

Here is this year's contribution.
This was not my original plan.
Funny how often that happens, isn't it?
I decided to try and be a little more trendy than usual, and began making something completely different.
Then, frustration set in.
The pattern directions were lacking.  I could tell the garment might not fit.  While it was meant to slip over the doll's head, little impatient fingers might have a difficult time.  My larger, and supposedly more patient, adult fingers were already having problems with it.

So, I turned to a beloved tried and true pattern -- a doll sized version of Children's Corner Mary De.

I also turned to one of my favorite fabrics, pinwale pique, for the bodice.
Adding lace and Swiss embroideries only made it better!
I was a happy camper, and the sewing machine was humming again!

The skirt is Garden Pindot in Azure by Michael Miller.
Embroidery floss is woven through the entredeux borders of the Swiss embroidery insert.  It is further embellished with Spanish lace edging on either side.
Spanish lace is a little heavier than the French laces often used in heirloom sewing.  I felt these were a better choice for a slightly more casual dress, and sturdier for a little girl's play time.

I decided it needed a little fun punch of color, and added lime green microcheck gingham piping at the waistline.
There are also three folded tucks at the hemline, to add one more finishing touch!

One of the sweet features of Mary De, is the wrap back closing.
The dress opens completely down the back, hopefully making it easy for little fingers to dress dolly.
Two fun flower shaped buttons close the back.

Her stylish bonnet began as a plain, and rather rough looking, straw hat purchased at a local hobby store.  I dug through my box of trims, finding a lime green ruffled trim that echoed the color of the dress's waistline piping.  I also discovered a floral ribbon garland, with tiny pearls decorating each flower's center.
Of course, we know everything is better with a bow, too!

This adorable miniature tea is the final part of my donation.
I used to sell these in my store, and still have a few left.
It makes me happy to know some little (or big!) girl will enjoy sharing tea with her dolly.
I made two little cloth napkins, using one of the decorative stitches on my machine to finish the edges.

It was good to be sewing again, and especially for a worthy cause.

Thanks for visiting!
Maybe it won't be as long before I have something else to share.
Have a wonderful week!

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