Simple Gathered Skirt

There’s a cute little fabric shop in town that I don’t let myself go to too often because it is a bit out of my price range, and unless I’m trying to make something really nice (like my wedding dress or my velvet dress), I usually can’t justify spending that much on fabric.

But I do follow them on Instagram, and when they posted a picture of a linen they got in, I knew I had to check it out. 

When Nathaniel and I went to Paris a couple years ago, we checked into our hotel and then went wandering around. It ended up pouring, and we found ourselves drenched, in front of the Moulin Rouge. We both love the movie, and I’ve always just kind of been enamored with Parisian style and the whimsical culture those super-duper curated Instagram photos convey, so when Elfriede’s got this Moulin Rouge linen in, I (thanks to the help of a gift card from my mother-in-law) splurged. It fades from black and white to color, and I just knew it would make a lovely skirt.

Feeling very Parisian with these stripes and a scarf from Disneyland Paris!

I’m a big fan of twirling, and I have made a handful of circle skirts (Timey-Wimey Dress, Mary Poppins, my wedding dress, among others) since I started sewing. I love the simplicity, and, especially when I was a beginner, the ease of just using an elastic waistband and the minimal number of seams was perfect. But this fabric, because of the black-and-white to color print, didn’t strike me as ideal for a circle skirt, so I decided to try my hand at a gathered skirt with a flat waistband and a zipper in back. Gathering has (thus far) kind of scared me because of it’s potential to be bulky and difficult to sew - I have no other good reasons 😜 - but this project seemed perfect to start with. I would still have a skirt full enough to twirl around (plus the drape of this linen is lovely).

Paired the skirt with lots of polka dots for this rainy day look

I really only took two measurements for this skirt - my waist and the length that I want it to be. For the length, I decided I wanted it to hit just below the knee, which for me was about 23” (woohoo team shortie!). When I was researching gathered skirts online, most tutorials said to cut 3 pieces - a front and two back, but I decided not to waste this beautiful (and somewhat expensive) fabric on seam allowances. I’ve included the sizes of the pieces I cut (approximately - with the gathered pieces, an inch or two difference in the gathered width shouldn’t make too much a difference). I decided my lining should be slightly shorter than the main fabric, so it doesn’t show. And while it is also a gathered piece, I didn’t think the lining needed to be as full as the main skirt. I also decided that I wanted my waistband to be 2” high, but you can make yours bigger or smaller depending on the look you’re going for. The ease in the waistband is so you can move, breathe, sit, live, etc…

  1. Prewash and iron your fabric.
  2. Cut your fabric pieces.
    1. Main fabric: 3(Waist) x (Length + 1.5” for SA & hem)
    2. Lining fabric: 2(Waist) x (Length - 2” + 1.5” for SA & hem)
    3. Waistband: (Waist + 1” ease + 1” for SA) x (2 x Height) + 1” for SA)
    4. Interfacing: (Waist + 1” ease) x Height
  3. Press the waistband in half lengthwise - this will make it much easier to line up your interfacing.
  4. Attach your interfacing - I used fusible interfacing.
  5. Gather the main fabric and the lining fabric, so they are as wide as your waistband - and leave 0.5” ungathered at each end to be the seam allowances. It might be beneficial to mark the ¼, ½, and ¾ marks of each piece, so you can keep your gathers as even as possible. 
    • My gathering method was to sew two seams with the longest stitch possible on my machine, and then grab the threads at the end of the seams on one side of the fabric and pull them - you will want to be gentle, because it is possible to break the thread, and then you’ll have to start over again (that’s why we’re using 2 seams - I’ve even seen some tutorials which recommend 3. I also know of people who can magically just gather on the go as they sew, but I am NOT ready for that 😜
  6. Pin the three pieces together - the right sides of the waistband and main fabric will be facing each other, and the lining will be oriented the same way as the main fabric (but it didn’t matter much for the lining fabric I got, as I couldn’t tell the right side from the wrong side 🙈). Also, you are only sewing one edge of the waistband right now!
  7. Sew the three pieces together. Press rough edges up toward waistband.
  8. Insert invisible zipper. Your main fabric and lining will both be attached to the zipper, but will be separated the rest of the way below the zipper (step 11).
  9. Finish top of zipper at the waistband (optional, insert hook and eye closure)
  10. Secure the waistband - you’ve got a couple options here. If you like the look of topstitching, you can have a visible seam on the waistband just above the gathers, or you can “stitch in the ditch”, which is what I decided to do. Basically, you’re sewing right where the gathers and the waistband meet, which hides this seam.
  11. Close the back of the skirt up. Do the lining separate from the main fabric. Press the seams.
  12. [Sort of optional] Hang the skirt overnight - the allows the fabric to settle, so you can see if the bottom of the skirt is even. This is more important for fabrics cut on the bias, but can’t hurt in this case, especially if you’re trying to make the bottom as even as possible.
  13. Hem the main fabric and the lining. I chose to do a double fold hem, but depending on the look you’re going for, feel free to play with other options.

Note: I did end up taking the waist in a couple inches (with folds in the back on either side of the zipper). I’m not sure if it’s because the fabric stretched, if I mis-measured my waist and/or fabric, or if there is something else I missed entirely… In many ways I’m still a novice. Everything I’ve done is pretty much self taught, so I still run into random snags here and there.

And there you have it! Luckily I have a bit of extra fabric, mostly from the black and white end, and I have some ideas on how to use it 😉 And here’s hoping I can wear it in front of the Moulin Rouge someday soon!

Stay tuned!

PS: If you’re looking for a quick, simple video tutorial, this one is great!

How Disneybounding Kick-Started my Spring Cleaning

Because I’m a huge nerd and love Disney, I decided to do the March Disneybound Challenge again this year. You might remember I did it last year, too, because everyday I shared my outfits with you guys on Instagram, and then summed it all up in a blog post. Well, looks like I did that all again this year (sorry, not sorry).

This March, I’m proud to say that I only repeated 2 characters/bounds (Ariel, minnie), and on those repeats, I either had new accessories or the outfit was completely different! I did use pieces of clothing that I used last year, and I had to reuse some articles of clothing for multiple bounds, but I tried to be as original as I could (without just buying all the clothes 🙃).

I have a little more color versatility than I did a year ago, but I still lack some basics (like solid colors). There are some characters that I just can’t pull off because (for example) my purple pieces don’t layer/pair well with other items, or the only orange thing I own is plaid (kudos to me for having something orange this year, though!!) I also kept realizing how much I want more cardigans.

My wardrobe still includes things that I love on the hanger, or the idea of having just in case, but I don’t wear them. It’s ridiculous. And since I griped about wanting all my clothes in one place, I haven’t done much to actually make that a reality…yet. I’ve got some good excuses. You might remember that I mentioned wanting to re-vamp my creative space (and even did a little bit) early in 2017, but those plans got a bit derailed because we ended up having to remodel our kitchen due to a leak that caused mold, which made it more difficult than I would have liked to get everything else done April-October (and still have time to pursue hobbies other than organizing my house). Then of course we got swept up in the holidays, and now somehow we’re well into 2018!

So what did I start doing mid-March? Well, organizing my craft room, of course! And it’s one heck of a job, let me tell you. I take most of my outfit selfies in that room, too, so I had to push my piles out of the way enough to get a photo that didn’t look like I live in a hoarders house (remember, people, Instagram is NOT real-life, as much as we might try to make it).

And, with it officially being spring, I’m actually really excited to get this project done. And then move on to the rest of the house. Because of our kitchen remodel, both the extra bedroom on the main floor and the guest room in the basement are disaster zones because we ended up having to move a TON of stuff around. We had to move EVERYTHING out of the kitchen, mostly into the main floor extra bedroom, and some downstairs to the wet-bar area that we turned into our temporary kitchen. And THAT meant that much of what was in the wet bar area needed to be moved, and it went into the guest room. Our garage currently has all our old cabinets, some of which will get hung in the garage for Nathaniel’s workbench area, and the rest will go in our laundry room for extra storage. We only JUST got rid of our old stove (donated it!), which is a good step in the right direction, too.

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Big Hero 6 - Honey Lemon
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Disney Sidekick - Stormtrooper
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Fab 5 - Minnie
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Zootopia - Judy Hopps
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Peter Pan - Michael Darling
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Marvel - Black Widow
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Pixar - Bing Bong from Inside Out
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Disney Heroines - Merida from Brave
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A Wrinkle in Time - Meg Murry
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101 Dalmatians - Cruella De Vil
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Underrated Characters - Flit from Pocahontas
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Disney Princess - Giselle from Enchanted
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Aladdin - Jafar
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The Little Mermaid - Ariel
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Parks Attraction - Star Tours
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Mulan - Mushu
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Characters who are/wear green - Elliott from Pete's Dragon
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Disney Villains - Scar from The Lion King
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Fantasia - Mushrooms from the Chinese Dance of the Nutcracker Suite
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Star Wars - R2-D2
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Moana - Te Fiti
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Frozen - Anna
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Rule breaker - Hermione Granger
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Disney Dogs - 101 Dalmatians
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Alice in Wonderland - Cheshire Cat
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Cinderella - Pink Dress
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90's Style - Gummi Bears
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Disney Cats - Toulouse from The Aristocats
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Disney Prince - Eric from The Little Mermaid
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Vintage Inspiration - The carousel in Disney World mashed up with Carrie Bradshaw
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A character you've never bounded - Dumbo

With a full time job, animals, a husband I like spending time with, rehearsals two nights a week, personal music projects, sewing/crafting projects and a social life, it’s been REALLY hard lately for me to feel like my home is at all put together. But I need to feel proud of my house. I need to be comfortable with people coming to visit rather than apologizing profusely any time someone walks in the door because I don’t think it’s clean enough. So I am going to dedicate more time to this, and hopefully that sense of cleanliness will become a feeling of calm in my life.

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Sentimental DIYs

Last week I had my 3rd wedding anniversary. We're at a point in our lives where 1) we've given each other a LOT of gifts so coming up with something original is hard, and 2) we don't have a lot of extra money laying around.

A few months ago I was reading Spoonflower's blog, which gave me the idea to write my vows out by hand and turn them into a pocket square for my husband. I loved this idea because it was unique (literally no one else will give him this) and I hadn't yet given him a pocket square. It was also surprisingly affordable. I ordered two fat quarters of high quality, custom fabric for under $30.

For the side with the handwritten vows, I just used a dark black sharpie pen and carefully wrote them out, then scanned them into my computer. For the patterned side, I found some fun Doctor Who fabric (because I will be making him a TARDIS blazer at some point in the next few months!). I ordered each printed on the Organic Cotton Sateen, but you could get silk if you want something fancier, or I'd imagine you could use other fabrics they offer, too.

I followed the instructions laid out in this blog, and opted for the top-stitched finish for my project. The actual cutting and sewing took less than 45 minutes (I wanted it to be perfect), and I couldn't be happier with out this turned out. 😍

The uncut yard of fabric used to make 4 custom tea towels

Because I subscribe to Spoonflower's blog, I get a lot of fun DIY emails from them, and another project I ended up doing semi-recently is actually quite similar to the pocket square. For Christmas I made tea towels for my parents and my mother-in-law.

For my parents, I found a couple fractals (my dad makes them using a computer program he wrote, I've posted about making scarves with them in the past) and put a black border around them, and for my mother-in-law, I scanned hand-written recipes from her mom, and put a brown border on them (the brown complimented the color of the recipe cards). The borders on each were 1.5 inches, which worked great with the thicker linen and double fold hem.

I ordered just one yard of Linen Cotton Canvas Ultra and uploaded one image with two fractals and two recipes, which fit perfectly! That means that 4 towels cost me less than $30, and as far as sewing skill goes here, it's nice and easy - lots of straight lines. The most challenging part was the corners, because they got pretty thick with the double fold hem on each side.

What I love about both these DIY's is that they're both nice and simple, but have the potential to be extremely meaningful. I could just buy "normal" fabric and create the same projects without the sentimentality attached, and I'm sure people would still be happy to receive these as gifts. The handwritten notes, recipes, and works of art are the cherry on top, making these creations unique and meaningful.

I've used Spoonflower several times over the past few years, and am always pleased with the quality of the fabric and with the artwork available to browse through. I look forward to more projects yet to come using their services!

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