Thursday, April 28, 2011

Making a very twirly circle skirt - Free Tutorial

Here is an easy way to make a circle skirt for a little girl.  This will be a very twirly skirt! 

free twirly skirt pattern

To start with, you have to make a circle for the top panel.

To achieve this, you need to measure the hips of your girl.  Then, you need to find the radius of your circle.  The equation to do that is hips+2 divided by 3.14 divided by 2=radius.   The width of your fabric will depend on how large you want the panels to be.  In this case, I wanted the final skirt to be 10-12 inches long so I made each panel 6 inches wide. 

Take your panel and fold and fold it again so you have a rectangle folded twice.  From the folded corner, measure your radius and mark it.  Get something circular to trace a circle of that radius.  Remember that radius is a straight line from the center to the circumference of a circle or sphere.

You can find your radius by measuring from the corner down that length on each side of the double folded corner.  Measure out that far into the fabric and mark.  That is your radius. Lay your circle template on top of that mark so it curves from one point to the other, thru the mark in the middle. 

Here is my example.

free skirt tutorial

I cut the top circle and then measured down 6 inches and cut another circle of same curvature.
I used my ruler to do this. I marked the fabric every inch or so and cut on those markings.

 free skirt tutorial

Now, to make the bottom panels.  Remember, they are 6 inches wide. To know how long to cut, you measure the bottom of the circle and times by two.  Cute two panels out for that width and length, in this case 6 inches wide by 36 inches long. 

This skirt is going to have two different fabrics on the bottom.  I cut two rectangles each 6" X 36".  The purple is for the waistband casing.  To make  the waistband casing, measure the inner circle.  Cut a rectangle 2.5 inches by this length, plus a one inch in length to account for seam allowance.
The purple, below, is for the waist.

free skirt tutorial
free skirt tutorial

 Time to add embellishments, if any.
free skirt tutorial

Next, sew the panels together into one big loop. Hem the bottom how you see fit: rolled hem, fold twice and sew, or serge and fold once and sew.  Then, gather the whole thing.  I recommend you try one of two methods for gathering: a) zig zag over fishing line, pin panels to upper tier, and pull on fishing line to gather; or b) sew two loose stitches, near the upper edge, pin panels ot upper tier, and pull on one stitch to gather.

Now, attach the ruffled lower panel to the bottom of the upper circle tier. 

free skirt tutorial

This is not as easy at it looks so go slow and work carefully.
Consider taking a breather to pet the cat resting on the floor next to you.

This is Jake. He enjoys flipping in a patch of sun, right in the path between my two machines.


Next, finish the hem between the layers.

free skirt tutorial

 Iron and top stitch.

 To make the waist casing, fold the fabric in half, wrong sides together, and iron flat.  You will now have a 1.25" by waist length casing.   Sew this into a loop with a 1/2" seam allowance and then attach to the circle, leaving a few inches open for elastic insertion.  Finish the hem between casing and upper circle tier, except for the opening. 

Measure your girl's waist. Subtract 2 to 3 inches for stretch and cut that length of 3/4" or 1" elastic.

Or, use this handy elastic cutting guide.

Size 2 cut 16"
Size 4 cut 18"
Size 6 cut 19"
Size 8 cut 21"
Size 10 cut 22"
Size 12 cut 23"
Size 14 cut 24"

 Insert into the casing, pull all the way through, and then sew the casing closed.
Serge the now closed opening.

free skirt tutorial

 Voila! You have a very twirly circle skirt!

The skirt above is a size four.  Here's a size chart for other sizes. This accounts for a half inch seam allowance on all seams.

For sizes 2-15, cut waist casing 2.5 inches by measurement of inner circle.

For sizes 2-6, cut panels 36 inches long
For sizes 8-14, cut panels width of fabric. 

skirt size chart

Work space and organization

Yesterday, I was fed up with my fabric being spread all over the sewing area in a bunch of bins so I organized them.  The fabric I am working with for the next month is now all nicely folded on my rack.   Isn't it pretty? 

The large bins hold the knits and fleece and other fabric that I am not using.  The small bins have notions.   You might be able to tell by looking at the small bin on top of the two large ones that my ribbons are a disaster!  I am currently looking into how to organize them.  I love the idea shown here.   But I don't like how those cookie containers get brittle quickly.  We have saved them in the past for children's crafting and they become brittle in less than a year and crack easily.  The softer plastics last longer, especially the Rubbermaid brand.  I have not had a Rubbermaid container every crack!  Sterilite, on the other hand, is terrible. (I digress)

So, I am thinking of combining the blog's idea and just using my Rubbermaid bins.  I just took all the cardboard to the recycling center so I will have to wait a while to collect more.  Then, I can try out this idea of cutting the semi circles.  I still have not figured out a good way to store the ribbon circles.  Ideas?
So, here is my sewing area for now. 

Fabric Storage

More fabric, but perhaps this could be only for notions?  Not a bad idea.
Part of my Ottobre stash.   I keep the pattern maps and tracings in a file folder.
My work area.  I need something on the wall but the cats used the corkboards I had up as scratching posts.  Only one left!  Damn cats!
Sewing table, with view of front yard. I sew in the daylight basement/family room. 
Basket to left is cat bed.  They claimed it. Kinda cute.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Handmade Dress Haven

I started a new page on Facebook for appreciation of the Handmade Dress for little girls.   It used to be called Matilda Jane Lookalikes, after the Matilda Jane Company, but they did not like sharing the name so I changed it to Handmade Dress Haven.

Please check it out!  It is a great place to share patterns and fabrics for dresses and accessories for little girls handmade items.  It is also a great place to find a person to make something for you or to share that you can make something for others.  Spam of handmade items is allowed.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

New stuff in my store!

After having influenza for a week and then bronchitis for another week, I finally got the time and energy to do some sewing and list some items in my new Etsy store, Delphinium Designs.  Please check them out! This is a fun venture for me. I am taking it slow but hoping it will grow.


The store:

Some pictures:

IAAT! I am all that?

I have several bloggers who I feel a deep, personal connection with for one reason or another. One is Sew Mental Mama.   I love to read her blog because she also sews Ottobre patterns, because she is Irish and so is my husband, and because she, like me, struggles with depression and uses her crafting to help overcome it.  I have struggled with depression my whole adult life and crafting really does help!  Being able to make things that are beautiful and creative and use both sides of your brain, your creative side as well as your analytical side, is very deeply satisfying to me.  I have always loved math and sewing definitely uses one's math skills as well as one's artistic and creative skills.

So, following Sew Mental Mama's blog is deeply satisfying to me.   I was, therefore, very happy to see her mention my blog as one her faves!  What an honor!  She is much more talented than I, so I feel humbled by this honor.   And to have her bestow the "I am all that" honor on me is very sweet and also very fun!

So, here we go!

And the rules are...

The recipients of this award are asked to answer the following questions, link to whoever awarded them and then pass it on to five, no six people (who they think will actually be willing to answer these totally intrusive and possibly inappropriate questions). Feel free to snag the badge too!

The questions and my answers:
1) What size shoe do you wear?   I wear a women's size 10.  I used to be a 9 but after having two kids, my very high arches fell a bit and now a ten is more comfortable.  Very large feet, so I never wear pointy shoes!

2) 30's or 60's?  I am not sure what this means but I do prefer the fashions of the 1930s more than 1960s.  Sexy, bias cut dresses are much more flattering than anything Jackie Kennedy ever wore.   And the 1960s hats!  They make me laugh!

3) Have you ever kissed someone you shouldn't have?  Oh sure, but lucky for me, I have been kissing the right guy since I was 19 years old. Being as we are both 45 this year, that means a lot!

4) Have you ever been poisoned? I got food poisoning once from a Jack n the Box chicken salad.  I never eat fast food salads after that!

5) Who's on your "Celebrity Free Pass" list (top 5)?  I assume this means my favorite men?  I quite like Sew Mental Mama's list.  Like her, I love Matthew Macfadyen in Pride and Prejudice but I also love Colin Firth in his version of Mr Darcy.  I am quite fond of old James Bond movies with Sean Connery and I also love all the romantic men in Sense and Sensability.  For some reason, I find Hugh Grant kind of adorable! Number five would have to be Pierce Brosnan. I even thought he was cute in Mamma Mia (altho his singing was atrocious).

And, to pass along the honor, here are my five bloggers who are "all that" and more:

Pass it along!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dresses for a preschool auction

My daughter's preschool is having a fundraiser auction and art show next weekend. I decided to contribute two dresses for the silent auction.  This is an interesting (in a good way) crowd, so I decided to make two different types of dresses.   Hopefully, they will both sell well!

 First of all, I made a simple summer knot dress.  I love this Valori Wells turquoise Olive Rose Little Roses print for the skirt and found, at my lovely local fabric store, the bodice and strap fabric to coordinate.
Secondly, I had this Vintage Rock Tshirt that neither of my daughters had ever worn.  (Stinkers!)  Anyway, I thought it would make a cute upcycle and I was right.  This is Chez Ami fabric for the skirt and Patty Young dot for the middle. 

Both modelled by my preschooler!