15 March 2010

Guest Post from Until Wednesday Calls

I am excited to introduce my first ever guest post from my fellow Canadian Melissa who is the creator of Until Wednesday Calls. She tells me she is a novice sewer turned blogger - I think that describes most of us. When I asked Melissa to write a post for Frugal Month, she came up with this little beauty.

"When Cynthia asked me to author a post for her themed month I was more than willing. So much so I was almost instantly inspired. I had this skirt sketched in my notebook but I was dragging my butt on the actual creation of it. Until the other day. Suddenly (like as soon as I read the email) I had to make it that day! And I did. And it is awesome. And now I will share with you how you can make the cutest skirt from a ratty pair of jeans, an old stained t-shirt and a shoelace. Seriously if that is not the epitome of frugal, well than can I at least have a B+ ?

My muse.
Not too shabby for some stained clothes eh?

Okay, for this skirt you only need a few things: Your usual sewing gear, an old pair of jeans and old t-shirt. This can totally be stained, we are only going to use a few inches from the bottom and it can be the back where no coffee (usually) reaches. A shoelace. I used a white one for the contrast but you do what you need to do. Buttons. I used some salvaged buttons: two for the flower centers and three for the back.

Construction Instructions
First, you need this pattern. Well, you don't need it but it helps. And if you have a toddler with a skinny waist than it should fit perfectly. If you have a smaller child than size 2-3t than you would take out the panels you don't need, or leave them in and make an elastic waist. Likewise if you want a bigger skirt you could just adjust the panel size or add more panels. It is not a complicated piece, just make sure the top is proportionate to the bottom. Trace Pattern

Next, acquire your jeans. If they are big enough (I used a donated pair of 40x30s) you only need the portion below the knees. If you are using your super hot bell bottoms you might need a bit more of the leg. Regardless, this is something where you can reuse a pair of jeans with worn out knees. Now open them up and trace your pattern.

Cut & Sew

When you are done, lay them out right sides facing up so that you know how they are going to piece together. You can't see it, but there is even a hole in there somewhere.

More Inside

With right sides together sew each piece. Press. Go back and sew your seams down. It is an involved extra step, but so worth it. After that, zig zag down the two ends of the skirt and across the bottom of the skirt as close to the edge as you can. (If you have a serger, have at 'er) Then, fold up once and sew, and then again, just like with the panels. You can press if you are awesome like that but I just sewed slow enough to fold the hem as I went. You want a double stitched hem at the bottom at at the sides where it will meet in the back.


Mark out where you want your embellishment to go. If you are doing a shoelace design like I did draw out the path you will be laying your lace down on.


Set your zig zag stitch to its widest setting and stitch over the shoelace. The red lines are just to make it clear, white on white makes for a poor photo tute. Go slow and keep the lace in the center of your presser foot. When you're done, you have stems and leaves!

Detail Shots

To make the flowers I cut two strips from my t-shirt and gathered them making a simple flower. I didn't think to take photos because, does the internet need another gathered flower tute? In the interest of full disclosure: By hand or machine, sew a super loose running stitch down the length of your fabric. Pull thread out one side until fabric is sufficiently gathered. Roll into a flower and tie thread around the base. I just happened to find buttons in my stash that looked fabulous with the denim so I used those as centers. You could use beads or leave it plain, both would look great. Attach flowers by hand. Mine look different because I sewed down one in many places and didn't with the second, I will, I just haven't gotten around to it.
O.K. We're @ the home stretch...not much longer ladies! Waistband and button(hole)s and we're done!


For the waistband, cut off about three inches of a t-shirt. This one when stretched fit across the skirt perfectly.

More pinning.

Time to pull out those pins. You are going to put the RIGHT side of the T-shirt to the OUTside of the skirt. Because this is a rounded edge, I found it easiest to pin to each end first, then to the center, come in and pin in the middle of each pair of pins until you have pinned the length of the waist. Sew with a straight stitch. I went back and zig zagged it for good measure after removing the pins.

Pin again.

Now, fold the waistband over the edge and pin to the inside of the skirt. I tried to keep the seam of the t-shirt in line with the bottom of the waistband at the front. (Tried being the operative word.)

Sewing the band.

Now, flip over and sew from the front so that you don't do what I did and run up on your pretty white waistband.


Ta-daaa! You have a great little embellished skirt. But, we are not done yet. Almost though, I promise.

button line

After you have admired the front, it is time to fit the back and be done with it. What I did was wrap it around my model and with a disappearing pen I marked where the bottom piece sat. Behind the red line is where the one edge sits under the top end. Between this line and your skirt edge, place your button(hole)s. I would recommend placing them closer the the waistband than I did. Now, you would do your button(hole)s in your preferred manner. If you do not know how to do buttonholes, and don't have a machine or foot to do them for you, I wrote up a tutorial just in case. Or you can view it with bigger more detailed photos here.
And you are done! Chase your model down and bribe her with ju jubes so you can take photos. Add them to my newly made flickr group while you're at it!

My muse.

I think when you count the fact that the jeans were worn out (there was even a hole under one the flowers) and the shirt stained that this project goes past frugal and actually saves you money? I don't know, long shot maybe but still super fun, super cheap and super cute!
Thanks for staying with me this long! Thanks Mrs. Dork for having me here! Happy sewing!"


Cathy said...

Is it possible? TWO Clever Canadians to look to for inspiration and instruction? Woohoo!! Thank you Cynthia for the introduction, and thanks to you Melissa for a great tutorial! I look forward to checking out your blog.

Polly said...

This skirt is awazing! I've been making skirts for my daughters out of some old jeans too, but a totally different design. I'll have to try this design next.

dana said...

this is so darling!