Luna Lovegood Shorts (Fending off Wrackspurts in Style)

One of the best things about sewing is being able to create something nerdy, useful, and unique - and who embodies that as much as Luna Lovegood? I kept seeing a Luna circle skirt (because I follow wonderfully creative people on social media), but (A) I knew I could make a circle skirt, and (B) I already have a LOT of skirts. I also discovered that the actual skirt worn in the movie was purchased at H&M, so I figured I'd steer away from trying to make a perfect replica.

Enter the Chataigne shorts by Deer and Doe. I felt these had just enough whimsy, but were still a garment I could wear around. Finding this fabric was the hardest part, but Spoonflower ended up having a great option. I went with the Cypress Cotton Canvas, which I think will soften up nicely after a few washes. I ordered a sample pack from Spoonflower (only $3 - SO worth it!) so I could feel each option. The sample is not as stiff as the printed fabric I ordered, but I’d imagine that’s because the printing is fresh. Even after the pre-wash I did, I noticed a difference, and I’m excited to see how these shorts break in as I wear them. I found this canvas very easy to sew with, too. The pleats hold very nicely with the texture. I also chose the fabric because it felt like it would be more resistant to wrinkling than some of my other options.

That SUPER high waist - featuring Rosco, the photobomber

The Chataigne shorts come with two versions, and I went with the high-waisted, scalloped-hem version. Be warned, though - the high-waist is NO JOKE. Maybe I just have a small torso, but these go up to my ribcage! I found the instructions easy to follow, and I think this pattern is very approachable. The hardest part was being patient during that scalloped hem (which I have done before, but enjoyed the fact that this pattern had the scallops already traced out for me).

I started out by tracing the pattern pieces onto Pellon 830 tracing fabric - I love this method! Since I’m not cutting up the original pattern, I can make different sizes or alterations later. Once I’ve cut out the fabric pieces, I still like to keep the traced pattern pieces with them. Often I find that some pieces are verrrry similar to one another (especially in these waistband pieces!), and keeping them with the tracing piece helps keep me more organized. Another thing I recently discovered is that, while not as perfect as a serger, overlock stitches work great to finish edges and make the garment look a little more professional from the inside.

The Chataigne shorts have decorative pocket flaps, but I decided to go with actual back pockets! I made some Safran pants (another Deer and Doe pattern) a little over a year ago, so I just grabbed the pocket piece from that pattern and lined up the top of the pocket with where the flap was supposed to go. I could have also put the flaps on, but I decided that, especially with the thickness and stiffness of the canvas I was using, I didn’t want the extra bulk there. I also didn’t worry about matching the fabric, since it’s so busy anyway.

Stitching in the ditch

When attaching the waistband lining, I got to practice a technique I hadn’t don’t much before - stitching in the ditch! It’s exactly as it sounds: you hide a seam by putting the stitch in a “ditch" already created by another seam. Because my fabric was black, my thread was black, and the fabric is so bulky, this was a good (forgiving) project to practice with. 

I also decided not to worry about how hidden the invisible zip was for this piece. I was still having horrible flashbacks to the Tania Culotte zipper disasters from last month, so I decided that since the fabric was black and the zipper was black, and I wanted to be able to zip myself in and out of the shorts easily, I’d just insert it without worrying too much. If anyone is looking closely enough to criticize my zipper insertion, they need to sort out their priorities. (Also, another great thing about making things for yourself rather than others, is that if something is imperfect, you get to decide how much you care). In hindsight, I probably didn’t need to interface the waistband at all, either, since the canvas has so much structure to it. But live and learn, I guess!

I finished the outfit with some radish earrings from my friend graciemakesthings, my Alex and Ani Platform 9 ¾ bangle, some Converse sneakers, an owl necklace, and, of course, some Spectrespecs. Plus a special shoutout to hubs who takes my picture anytime I ask him to, even if I’m wearing weird glasses 🤓

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I Solemnly Swear That I Am Up To No Good - The Azara Skirt in Quilting Cotton

I mentioned recently that I went into Joann’s and bought lots of nerdy fabric. It was a bit harder on our bank account than I intended, but if you factor in the amount of money we saved by not getting custom clothing made (or buying real drapes - will post about that soon), it’s not so bad, right?

One I found was the Marauder’s Map from Harry Potter. 😍 I’ve seen some beautiful (and somewhat pricy) skirts online with this pattern on it, mostly in cute circle skirt styles, but I decided I wanted to try something different.

The hard thing about finding this awesome fabric at Joann’s, though, is that typically it’s quilting fabric, which means it’s not necessarily intended to be turned into clothing. But when you see Marauder’s Map fabric for sale, you don’t ask questions, you just buy it. Trust me. I’ve thought about getting it custom printed, somehow scanning in the map my mom got me years ago and turning into something at Spoonflower, but that’s at least twice as expensive, and more time consuming since I’m mediocre at Photoshop. (Side note - a quick search on Joann's site shows that they do have the Marauder's Map in a knit fabric now, but I can't vouch for it at all - someone let me know if you get it!)

While hubby skied one day, I got brunch and brainstormed

So what is a Harry Potter fan-girl to do? First I tried to find a good, structured skirt pattern that I wanted to use.

I’ve been eyeing the Azara Skirt pattern for a while now on Deer & Doe’s website, but the recommended fabrics were all much flowier than quilting cotton. I emailed them to ask if they’d ever made the skirt with a quilting cotton, and got a quick response saying that they made some muslins, which ended up being a little more triangular and had less drape, but as long as that was a look I was ok with, it could work just fine.

The large format prints worked great for me - I'll definitely do it again!

I decided to go for it - I bought the PDF, and had it printed out at Fedex. For two large sheets, it was under $10 to print, which isn’t so bad. Including the price of the PDF, it’s comparable to buying the print and having it shipped from France, but you don’t have to wait as long, and you don’t have to worry about the folds in the paper.

The first thing I did was wash the fabric with fabric softener and dry it with tennis balls. Twice. This was to soften up the fabric as much as I could before beginning. I wouldn’t say the fabric became luxuriously soft or anything, but it definitely feels better than it did before I washed and dried it.

The Azara Skirt has two versions - one with buttons and one with a zipper. I decided to go for the buttons. Rather than cut up the large format paper, I traced my pieces onto tracing fabric. This is MAGIC because it's cheap and you're not destroying the original (and can then use different sizes in the future). This pattern definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone a bit, because I’d never fully lined a garment (you don’t have to line it, but since this fabric was stiffer and had more friction, I didn’t want it to ride up too much), and I’d never put in a row of buttons. I also wanted to make the skirt as symmetrical as possible, so I very carefully placed my cutouts to accomplish this.

Pre-hem - plus a Ruby photobomb

I followed the instructions to a T, but decided that I wanted a scalloped hemline. I figured it would be another unique touch to my skirt, plus it might help soften up the look of the fabric. I used this super helpful video as a guide. I ended up having 26 scallops that were 2.5 inches wide.

The idea behind a scalloped hem isn’t super crazy - you sew it inside-out, then turn it right-side-out. What makes this technique challenging and time consuming is that you need to pay more attention to each stitch. First, you have to measure the hem and figure out how many scallops you want/how big they’ll be. Then you draw those onto your pinned fabric. Then comes the sewing. Often, sewing a hem can be super easy, you get the feeling of "Woohoo - all I have to do now is hem!" But because here you’ve got curves and corners, you can’t (or at least I can’t) just zoom through this hem. I sewed slowly over each curve, and picked up the foot and turned my fabric at the beginning of each new scallop. Then came turning it right-side-out. Maybe with a different fabric, this would be easier, but I had to take care to push each scallop out and make it as curved as possible (they wanted to be more polygonal), and then press them. Maybe as I get more practice, this won’t be an issue.

I loved that this project pushed me out of my comfort zone. I learned a new hemming technique, lined a garment, made a whole row of buttons, and tried a new skirt style. And now I am the proud owner of a one-of-a-kind Marauder’s Map skirt.

Mischief managed 😉

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