Made with Moxie: August 2012

August 29, 2012

Upcycled Fat Quarter Skirt

Earlier this week I showed you how to make The Fat Quarter Skirt. Here are some cute skirts I made the same day using some upcycled material.

upcycling: taking something you would otherwise throw out and making it into something else.

Warning! Upcycling can lead to a new level of hording fabric collection. In our house we have a basket of tshirts and other pieces of clothing that have stains or tears or some other reason why it can't be worn anymore and shouldn't go to the Goodwill, but is still good for something. All our jeans go into a box for the someday when I finally make a jean quilt. Adult tshirts become dresses for Jane
or hats for Jimmy.

I had a pair of khakis that I chopped into shorts this summer. Their fabric has a nice hand (feel) to is and had a little stretch, so I kept the bottom legs that I cut off to make Jane two skirts. The bonus to using them for these skirts is that you can utilize the pant hem as your skirt hem.
The only different thing you need to do from the instructions on the The Fat Quarter Skirt tutorial is you will need to most likely sew three seams to make your skirt 18" wide, unless of course you have really wide pants. You can see my three seams in the picture above. I just made sure to center a panel in the front of the skirt.
I used some discontinued fabric samples my friend, Erin, sent me along with some Pellon Wonder Under to make cute appliques for the skirts.
\ You could also sew some ribbon or rickrack around the skirt hem too to add a decorative detail. Or leave them plain for a preppy look. Oooh, or do a little hand embroidery of an alligator!
They're great little rough and tumble skirts, and they save some trash from being added to a landfill. Heck, these two skirts only cost me thread and elastic.
Don't forget to take pictures of any Upcycled Skirts you make and upload pictures to the Made with Moxie Flickr group.

August 27, 2012

Fat Quarter Skirt Tutorial

Jane and I went shopping the other day and saw some super adorable skirts. She loves skirts and dresses because, if you wear a skirt or a dress, you are a princess. Sound logic. Last winter when my husband donned his kilt for his office holiday party Jane just about died of excitement. She gushed and got a huge grin on her face. "Oh Daddy! You're a princess!"

I didn't buy the skirts for Jane though. I had a bout of the "I can make that myself" and it turns out, I can! It is an easy skirt to make. You can whip up a few in an afternoon and, my favorite part, you only need a fat quarter worth of fabric! Not kidding; a fat quarter.

Fat Quarter Skirt Tutorial: Will fit waists from 18" to 26"

What you need:
Fat quarter of fabric
3/4" to 1 1/2" wide elastic (I'm a "use what you already have" kind of stitcher.)

I know I have at least a few non-sewing readers and some that are just learning to sew. So, what is a fat quarter? Quilting cotton is typically 44" (give or take) wide. It is folded in half and wrapped onto bolts to the be shipped to stores. There you measure it by the yard to buy it. If you were to go and buy a quarter of a yard of fabric, once you opened the fold, you would have a strip of fabric that is 9" (36" divided by four) by 44" long. It's a long, narrow piece of fabric.

To make a fat quarter, you cut the bolted fabric first into a half yard piece (18" x 44") then you cut that piece again in half where the fabric was originally folded on the bolt. This leaves you with a piece of fabric that is 18" by 22". It is still a quarter of the fabric you would have had if you had bought a full yard of fabric, but it is wider and squatter than a true quarter of a yard; hence it's name, the fat quarter.

Most quilting and fabric shops have pre-cut fat quarters ahead of time, or even sell them in bundles. It is a great way to buy fabrics and start up a fabric collection if you are going to quilt or make smaller sized projects. They typically cost anywhere from 99 cents up to $3. Plus, fat quarters take up less storage space and are easier to hide from husbands when you've been out shopping. Not that I do that. At all. Okay, I love fat quarters.

Okay, let's begin.

Press your fat quarter of fabric with an iron on it's hottest setting to remove all fold lines. At your cutting table, fold your fat quarter in half so that it is 18" wide and 11" tall, then cut along this fold line. You should now have 2 pieces of fabric that are 18" by 11". Place these two pieces of fabric on top of each other with the 'wrong' sides face each other.
Stitch a 1/4" seam down each side of your fabric. Trim your edge, or seam allowance, close to your stitching. I have already trimmed my seam allowance in this picture.
Next, turn your skirt inside out and press your sides seams flat. Then stitch each side again with a 1/4" seam. This encloses your first seam inside of your second one. The reason you do this is to prevent the raw edge of your fabric from fraying to pieces during normal washings and wear. This is called a french seam. It is a professional way to make a seam. Congrats!
Open your skirt up on the ironing board and press your french seams to one side. Top stitch your french seams by sewing 1/8" from the seam. This just holds the french seam flat and also makes a decorative line of stitching.
Back at your ironing board, open your skirt back up and turn it inside out. Fold your top and bottom edges(at this point, top and bottom are identical) in 1/4" and press. Next, fold each edge in by 3/8" and press. Stitch your top and bottom edges with a 1/4" seam.
Cut a length of your elastic that is 1 1/2" longer than your child's waist measurement. Put the ends together and stitch a 1/4" seam. Reverse the fold to encase the raw edges and stitch a 3/8" seam making a french seam. Top stitch your french seam flat.
Turn your skirt inside out. Place pins to mark each side seam and the center of the front and back pieces. Place four pins in your elastic waistband to mark each side, center front and center back; placing your french seam at the center back.
Using these pins as markers, pin together your elastic and skirt at each side seam, center front and center back. Pin your elastic so that it is on the inside of the skirt fabric with a 1/2" overlap. If you would like extra assurance, locate the middle distance between each set of pins on the skirt fabric and the elastic and pin those two points together as well around the entire waistband. There is no such thing as too many pins. (Okay, there may be, but I doubt you'd get there.)
Pick a pin to as a starting point. I usually start in the back. Sink your sewing maching needle into that point about 1/4" from the edge of your waistband. Sew a few stitches forward and then backwards to lock your stitching. This is called backtacking. It keeps your stitches from unraveling. Leave your needle sunk into your waistband. With your left hand, take a hold of your pinned skirt and waistband just behind the presser foot. With your right hand, take a hold of your skirt and waistband at the next pinned point. Use your hands to stretch out the elastic until it is the same width as the skirt fabric.
Keep holding this section of waistband stretched out and start sewing a 1/4" seam. Sew until you are getting close to your next pin point, which is where your right hand should be. Stop sewing as you get close, but when you stop make sure your put your needle down into the skirt. Re-adjust your hands so that your left hand is again holding behind the presser foot and your right is at the new next pin point. Continue to stretch each section of waistband as wide as the skirt fabric, sewing a 1/4" seam and ending each section with your needle down.

As you sew around your waist band you will see the skirt fabric gather up on the sections you have stopped stretching out. Once you get back to your beginning point, back tack a few stitches. You want to sew a straight stitch into elastic as it is stretched out. If you sew a line of stitching into relaxed elastic, you would either not be able to stretch it out, or when you did stretch it, you would break the threads in your stitching. Sewing your waistband on like this also creates a pretty little gathered ruffle along your waistband.
I added a little circle of contrasting fabric to this skirt.

Voila! A cute little skirt for your little girl. Instant princess!
I think she likes it! :)
I'd love to see the Fat Quarter skirts you make. Upload pictures to the Made with Moxie Flickr group.

August 23, 2012

The first three hundred and sixty five days

Happy birthday, Jimmy Quinn. You are my sunshine and I love the shit out of you.