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2014 January 8
by elizabeth_admin

Happy new year!

Today I mailed off Katie’s new sewing machine.  I added some additional goodies to the box of course.  In this cute little box…



… I added some basic sewing supplies: sharp but lightweight scissors for small hands, a tomato pincushion, pins, hand sewing needles, some pink and variegated rickrack for cute projects, some pre-made small bows to add some whimsy, extra sewing machine needles, and some thread in basic colors (white, black, pink, cream, navy, and purple).  Oh and I added some fabric so she could start her own stash of course!

I also added her custom a-line skirt pattern, and the instructions and pattern for the super cute purse she made while she was here visiting.  As I packed up her box, I realized that her skirt pattern had no instructions.

So I sat down to write them for her and emailed them to my sister.  But first let me tell you how I made Katie’s skirt pattern.  Now I’m not saying this is “how” to do it, only how I did it.  I measured  her hips and used that measurement to base the skirt size on.  In her case it was 23 inches. I added a 3/4 inch for ease (in the original pattern I drafted for her, I forgot about the ease and it was a bit snug to put on, but not for wearing, so I recopied the pattern adding the ease in to send to her).   For the hem, I swung out about 3 inches.  I curved the waist up at the side seam a 1/4 inch and at the hem using my hip curve.  Et voilá, a custom a-line skirt for a cute little girl.



And now for the instructions.  I tried to make them as beginner friendly as I could.


Katie’s Custom A-Line Skirt Instructions

Supplies needed:  Fabric (about 1/2 yd should do it of either 44 inch wide or 60 wide fabric), matching thread, 1/2 inch elastic (about 1 yard).
Seam allowances:  1/2 inch.
  1. Choose appropriate skirt fabric (i.e., cannot be lightweight cotton. A medium cotton or heavier fabric is more suitable.  Even a heavy knit would be good).
  2. Cut your skirt front on the fold by laying the pattern on the fold where marked. Weigh down the pattern or pin it to fabric.  Carefully cut around the pattern being careful not to lift the fabric too much.  Cut the notch at the side seam so you can match up the side seams when sewing.  Repeat for the skirt back.
  3. Pin front and back of skirt with right sides together so that the inside of the skirt is on the outside facing you.  Match the side seam notches and tops and bottoms.  About four pins each side seam.
  4. Take your pinned skirt to sewing machine and sew each side seam 1/2 inch from edge.  Your seam allowance is 1/2 inch.
  5.  Using an iron, press your stitches on each side of the seam for both side seams.  Then press your seams open on the inside and outside for a nicely pressed seam.  If using a cotton that will fray, use a small to medium zig zag stitch on the edge of each seam allowance to protect the fabric from fraying or use a pinking shear on the edges.
  6.  Fold over the hem twice, 1/2 inch each.  Press it with an iron.  Pin it all the way around.  Stitch the hem about 3/8ths of inch from edge.
  7.  Fold over the top of the waist a 1/4 inch and press with the iron.  Fold over the edge again a 3/4 inch to create the casing for the elastic and press again.  Pin all the way around.  Start at the middle back of the skirt and stitch around the waist, but stop 1.5 inches before you reach the beginning of your stitching.  You need to leave an opening to thread your elastic through.
  8.  Measure your elastic on your waist to see how tight you want it.  It should be about the measurement of your waist minus 1 inch.  Make sure you have enough elastic to over lap itself, maybe 1 inch extra so you can overlap by 1/2 inch.
  9.  Using two safety clips, put one on either end of the elastic and use them to thread the elastic through your waist casing that you have just sewn.*
  10.  Now overlap the elastic, pinning it together with a safety clip to check the fit on your waist.
  11. If it’s fine, pull out the elastic out of your casing a little bit and sew it together permanently.
  12.  Sew up the hole in the casing.  Distribute the fullness of the waistband evenly all around.
  13.  Wear your skirt with pride!!!

*  I know Kathleen Fasanella at Fashion Incubator just wrote about her method to sew elastic waistbands.  I know that’s how I will sew mine going forward, but I think sewing the casing first before adding the elastic is easier for a beginning sewer.  Just a hunch.  If Katie really gets into sewing, I will show her Kathleen’s method, but for now, the “traditional” should work for her.

My hope is that Katie will want to make many more skirts for herself, learn to sew and love it.  Of course, I won’t be disappointed if the “virus” doesn’t take hold, but at least I know that I started her off right.

In other sewing news, I went up to LA this past weekend and fabric was bought.  I was powerless in the face of such beautiful fabrics.  Absolutely powerless.  I have come back to San Diego full of ideas of the things I want to make.  I need to write a project to do list pronto, so I can prioritize.

My wish for you this year is the same as always…

May you all have endless sewing mojo and the time to use it.

6 Responses leave one →
  1. January 8, 2014

    Aww, that is such a sweet sewing kit package! 🙂

    One tiny comment, that I hope you don’t mind my sharing. When you draft the skirt pattern, you have to raise the hem line by about 1/4 an inch where it meets the side seam. This keeps the hem line smooth & prevents it from forming a pointy corner. You can see what I’m talking about here in the second drawing:
    A line skirt pattern
    (She says 1/2 an inch, I was taught 1/4 an inch, I guess you can fiddle around and see what works!)

    • elizabeth_admin permalink*
      January 8, 2014

      I actually did raise the hem at the side seam by a 1/4 inch. In the picture of the pattern piece, the paper is curled in such a way that it is looks straight across the bottom. Thanks!

      • January 8, 2014

        Did they teach you the raise-the-hem 1/4 in the draping class? I never knew about it until I took a dress making class where we learned to morph a pencil skirt into an A-line skirt by closing the darts. It was like “aha, that’s why hems went wonky” when I learned how to adjust the pattern that way. 😉

  2. Judi permalink
    January 8, 2014

    Yes, you certainly have done everything you could to make sewing fun for Katie! Who knows…she might even get her friends interested in sewing too.

  3. January 10, 2014

    That is such thoughtful and kind gift, and one she will be sure to treasure her whole sewing life! Good for you to share your love of sewing in such a generous spirit 🙂

  4. January 11, 2014

    What a thoughtful gift! I had an aunt who gave me a similar box full of sewing goodies when I was a kid — loved and appreciated it. Can’t wait to see pics of your LA purchases!

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