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Category Archives: May is Skirt Month!

Don’t Call It A Comeback

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Sometimes it pays to go with what you know. At least that’s true in this case: I decided to make a longer version of the Tourist Trap skirt from Sew What! Skirts, and it went together without a hitch. Whew! Skirt-sewing confidence has been restored, zippers and I remain friends – all good. Generally, though, I don’t have very good experiences with my sophomore projects. Oh sure, after Version #1 I’m filled with high hopes and grand plans about cranking out a dozen more of whatever-it-is in assembly line fashion. Then Version #2 is a mess from about the midpoint on, dropping me back to earth with a thud and causing me to abandon that stupid [whatever] forever. FOREVER!

I really like these skirts, though; I’m glad that I wasn’t forced to swear them off for good.

Skirt Month is coming to a close just in time, though. I think I’ve burned myself out temporarily, at least until I come across more bargain fabric compelling enough to jolt me back into the saddle. Besides, the “unfinished” pile is…piling up, so I need to find the motivation to get that back under control.

Can anyone tell me where I left my motivation? I seem to have misplaced it. Probably under one of the piles….

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What?

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You mean you didn’t spend a good portion of your Memorial Day roasting a turkey?

Really?

OK, so it’s not exactly a tradition in our house either, but we’ve had one on ice since they were selling for a quarter a pound back in November; today seemed a good a time as any to cook it up. I think I ended up going through this exercise back in July of last year, so technically, I’m ahead of schedule.

To tell you the truth, I kind of enjoy the mid-year turkey dinner. There’s not the “it has to be spectacular!” pressure that goes along with Thanksgiving, and there aren’t any of the pesky traditions that have to, at all costs, be preserved. My dad’s most favorite holiday was Thanksgiving, and it pained him to no end to consider even the slightest change to Mom’s traditional meal. I’ll translate for you: He didn’t want me (or anyone else) to cook it. I was allowed to switch up the sweet potatoes a few years ago, which was quite a coup. Anyway, it made it easy for me to try this recipe for Maple-Tarragon Glazed Turkey with Orange Gravy (from the 11/06 issue of Better Homes and Gardens) without feeling too melancholy over not being able to share it with my pop. He would have summed it up in one word: funky. [It was actually very tasty, and he probably would have agreed, but not at Thanksgiving. Then again, May would have been too late in the year for him to eat turkey. Might take away from the T-Day anticipation. No, seriously. So I probably would just not have mentioned it to him at all anyway.]

Well, regardless of what kind of feasting you did today, I hope everyone had a great weekend. Now go break out the white shoes, friends – it’s SUMMER!!

P.S. If you happened to find your way here via the Flickr Feature on Sew, Mama, Sew, welcome and thanks for stopping by! I’m hoping to squeeze in one more skirt before May comes to a close; we shall see….

They Can’t All Be Winners

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This is what I think of you, Breezy Beach Wrap.

Yep, this is another one from my special friend Sew What! Skirts. Unlike its predecessor, though, this one is going in the not-so-successful file. I share it with you only in the  interest of full disclosure and spirit of good faith. Those two things only go so far, though; there will be no photos of me modeling this little number. Believe me – you’re not missing anything.

I may be a lot of things, friends, but clever ain’t one of them. I didn’t have enough fabric to cut an A-line pattern for this one, as directed in the book, so I decided to try it as a straight skirt instead. Apparently, I need more practice grading the hips on straight patterns because I ended up with these strange poochy points at the hips. Then the hem just sort of clung to my knees, which made the skirted part of my body look like an enormous potato wrapped in cheerful seersucker. It just wasn’t what I was going for. Worse yet, it was my stupid modification in the first place so I can’t even get all indignant and blame the book. Grr!

By the way, as mistakes go, at least this one wasn’t a time-consuming one. If I come across another (larger — large enough for the A-line version) piece of fabric in the near future, I’ll give this one another shot. It was ridiculously quick to put together.

Time to find something else. I think skirts and I need a day or two to cool off.

Sew What? That’s What!

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As promised, here’s the first skirt that I’ve made so far using Sew What! Skirts. Oh, but it won’t be the last. Let me tell you, it may not look like much (especially judging from the humble photo), but I am thrilled with it!

I PUT IN A ZIPPER!

AND ATTACHED RICK RACK, which didn’t even FLIP UP!

OK, before we go on, I feel that I owe you an explanation that’s long overdue. It’s about my review method, because it occurred to me that I may come off as a touch negative. If so, it’s just because I try to include the whole experience, good and bad. Have you ever eaten something really delicious, and asked your friend for the recipe? Then they give you the recipe, you try it out, and have all sorts of little problems. For instance, it says to bake for 45 minutes, but takes over 2 hours to set up in your oven. You think, Man, my oven sucks! Ah, but then you mention it to your friend, who agrees that – yes- they had the same experience. Maybe both of you have crummy ovens, sure, but it helps to know going in that this is something that might happen.

Don’t you wish they’d have mentioned that? Me, too. Anyway, this is my way of painting a complete picture, even though you might not have any of the same crazy issues that I do.

I’ve said more than enough about that, right?

So I’ve had this book for months, but just hadn’t been able to work up the nerve to draft my own pattern. After reading all of the rave reviews, though, I could no longer resist trying. I settled on the “Tourist Trap” pattern; it was pretty straightforward, included a zipper (because I seriously needed to get over the whole fear-of-inserting-a-zipper thing), and it would suit the summery fabric that was on-hand. Time to get out the trusty roll of freezer paper and plot out the pattern. I had a little bit of trouble figuring out the “vital statistics” section, but I think I might have been making it harder than it was. Once I had the pattern worked out and the fabric cut, I held up the front piece to see if it seemed right.

Um, seemed a little skimpy.

No turning back, though – must forge ahead! Let me tell you, between the instructions in the book and this excellent tutorial, putting in the zipper was a breeze. WOO HOO! Really – it was one of those moments when I wanted to call all of my family and friends and tell them about it. It was just great. But here’s the best part of all: when I tried it on, it fit! Just like it was made for me or something. Oh…that’s right, it was. Still, it blew my mind!

By the way, I left off the pockets. I don’t like messing with extras if I’m not sure I’ll like the finished piece. Once the skirt was done, though, I was drunk with success and suddenly did feel like messing with extras. Might as well add a little rick rack to the hem. I looked through all of my books for helpful instructions on what kind of hem to use with this kind of trim, and how to attach it without straining it too much, but couldn’t find this info anywhere. That is: anywhere but in this same book, within the “Singing the Blues” pattern a few pages back. Whaddya know?! Done and done.

I now love this book. We had a rocky few moments with the measurements and some of the basic waistline instructions, but all’s well that ends well. Bookie and I have big plans (if you call 2 more skirts “big plans”); hopefully I can maintain momentum. Sometimes it’s tempting to go out on a high note – it’s good for the ego – but it’s so nice to have something new to wear. Especially when you made it yourself. Holla!!

The Month is Still Young

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I was right on-board when Sew, Mama, Sew declared this month Skirt Month. Unfortunately, I’d finished the first skirt of for 2007 during the last week of April and then promptly lost interest in sewing skirts. Sooo…took a little while to get my mojo back, but back it is, Baby! Here’s the proof: the first one in the stack has been completed.

I used the Favorite Things “Cute Skirts” pattern, and opted to add the gores. I’ve made it with and without the gores, and both of them made me pretty happy. Say, I don’t know what it is this year, but I’m not having a lot of luck finding good skirt fabric. Hmm – let me re-phrase that: I’m not having a lot of luck finding good bargain skirt fabric this season. (There’s plenty of great good stuff to be had, I’m sure we can all agree.) Luckily, the main fabric is an old faithful that I bought several years ago. Despite the fact that I’ve cut into it over and over again, there was still a 2 1/2-yard piece left. (Oh yeah – used to be when I found something I liked, I bought a HUGE chunk of it. Those days are so over, in part because years later I might still have yards of it on the shelf. *ahem*) My original intention was to go for a bolder contrast with the gores, but it just wasn’t working for me. When I spied remnants from a sheet that I’d picked up on clearance last year (another gift that has kept on giving), it became the clear favorite. It didn’t hurt that there would still be some leftover; very low commitment on my part.

I found the pattern is a little bit time-consuming, but only a little, and that’s just because I’m not used to taking the extra step of finishing the seams and hand-sewing the waistband. Even with both of those steps, overall, it’s super easy. I would definitely concur with Megan on the length issue, too. I’m short – just under 5’3″ – and it only comes right below my knee. Works out alright for me, but it might be a bit skimpy on someone less hobbity. Truth be told, I meant to lengthen the pattern this time around but got so excited about being able to cut all eight pieces at once with this fabric that I completely forgot. Oops. Sure not a big enough deal to be worth starting over!