Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Skirts

Piecing a Happy Skirt

Sometimes the pieces don't fit together right
Or the juggle's twixt pattern and plain,
But rather than toss it and run from your plight,
Smile, and twitch the fabric again.
Grey things or golden, young things or olden,
A smile makes the best kind of refrain.

Pardon me, but an impromptu rhyme felt necessary. A random stab into my photo library produced the above image of left-over fabric being pieced to make a little girl's elastic-waist skirt for Operation Christmas Child. I couldn't make the combination work to my satisfaction. I sincerely hope that before another year is out I'll be able to show you a completed Happy Skirt destined to bring a smile to a destitute child.

Left: Gentle gathers match up fabric of differing widths, and small leftovers make for cute and practical pockets. Right: A strip of lace helps blend two fabrics and turns plain into pretty.

Here's a holiday challenge for you.

se your own fabric remnants to sew shoebox fillers for Operation Christmas Child (next deadline October 25th, 2010), or relieve me of the mass of donated fabric that I have cut ready for sewing into 93 drawstring toy bags and 32 elastic-waist skirts. Any takers??

Yes, there really are 93 bags-to-be in this pile.

If your remnants aren't big enough to make a skirt, you could use them for drawstring toy bags. Oh, the joy of being creative, but to be frugal while you do it -- awesome! And now you can find a use for those odd buttons and scraps of lace and ribbon...


How to sew an elastic-waist skirt

1) If your fabric is in strips or stripes, join these together until you have a tube of an appropriate length (see size chart above). To ensure a long-lasting garment, seams need to be edge-stitched -- turn in raw edges and stitch, or zig-zag raw edges if you don't have an overlocker.

2) Hem the bottom edge.

3) To form the waistband, turn over the top edge about 20mm, then turn under another 5mm (make sure this casing is of sufficient width to accomodate your elastic.) Press or pin or tack. Sew the casing close to the bottom edge, leaving a gap wide enough to insert the elastic (or use the method described for the drawstring bag, below). Sewing again close to the top edge gives a nice frilled look and helps keep the elastic from turning over.

4) Thread the elastic through the casing using a large safety-pin and tie the ends in a loose knot so that the recipient of the skirt can adjust the tension to fit her waist.

Look what can be achieved with remnants!

How to sew a drawstring bag

1) Sew around three sides of the square, remembering to edge stitch. To form the drawstring casing, turn over the top edge once (if on a selvedge) or twice and stitch close to the bottom edge.

2) It is important to provide a sturdy hole for the drawstring to emerge from the casing. There are several ways to do this. Probably the easiest to describe without the aid of illustrations is to double stitch the casing seam where it crosses one of the vertical seams, then unpick the stitches of the vertical seam between the casing seam and the top of the bag. Thread the drawstring through this hole.

3) To make drawstring, cut a length from ribbon, cord, or cotton tape. If the remnants include a strip about 25mm wide and at least double the width of the bag, stitch this with right sides together, leaving loose threads at one end. Knot the two threads through the eye of a blunt need, feed the needle inside the tube, and work it through to the other end, pulling the fabric with it. Thread the tie through the bag casing, and knot or stitch the raw ends.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Steppin' Out @ Feelin' Feminine

Girls, there's something fun steppin' out at Feelin' Feminine!

The Steppin' Out column offers examples of wholesome feminine attire worn by real people in real life. Take a peak, and maybe you'll be inspired to submit a photo of yourself. The girls who've submitted photos already have clearly enjoyed the process.

See for yourself at

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hunt for a Crewneck T-Shirt

Since the v-neck plunged on the fashion scene, crewneck t-shirts have been almost like the proverbial hen's tooth. If you've been looking for a crewneck t-shirt that has sleeves rather than caps, this post could save you a lot of time and effort.

I found...
The Postie+ online catalogue lists 4 colours, but I found others when visiting a shop.

Bamboo Fitted T-Shirt

The NZ Nature website offers shopping in 5 currencies: NZ, Australian, United States, UK, and Euro. Select your preference from the button at the top righthand corner, and the product page you're looking at will immediately change to reflect that currency.

If you like something with looser, longer sleeves, Damart's Victoria Hill overstock sales brochure is bristling with options priced at up to 50% off (see examples below). Quantities are limited, so don't delay. Note: All prices listed here are in NZ$.

T-Shirt fabrics include polyester and acrylic as well as cotton and cotton/spandex. Remember to check for size/colour availability before ordering.

Lest we feel undressed shopping only for's an attractive and practical skirt with a price to match.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Universal Colours

Ezibuy developed a blog this year, and one of October's feautres is 10 style tips from image professional Anne Reinten.

You may learn something helpful, but remember this is only one person's view on how to manipulate colours and fabric to accentuate or hide your physical features. If you don't agree with what she says, keep looking. There are other image professionals who have different views.

I began researching this intriguing subject this year. If you have any knowledge of the subject, I'd be delighted to hear from you. The aforementioned Ezibuy column has exposed an example of one significantly divergent image viewpoint, ironically entitled Universal Colours.

Viewpoint A, courtesy of Anne Reinten
Universal Colours: Black, White, Grey, Ivory, Navy, Camel and Denim Blue
Universal colours are those that are neither all cool or all warm. They are also medium in value (medium-light, medium, medium-dark) - they are not very dark, light, bright or dull. Universal colours suit everyone and are seen every year without fail. They make great buys especially when in classic garments and are perfect for uniforms and bridesmaids.

Viewpoint B, courtesy of Debbie AlbrechtUniversal Colours: Melon, Turquoise, Periwinkle Blue, and Off-White
No matter what your complexion, you will look great wearing these colours. That's why they're universal.

View B is taught by Colours in Harmony image consultants. I appreciate consultants' skills but like to have their theories confirmed by the evidence of my own eyes. In the case of universal colours, I've observed that not everyone looks great in black, white, grey, etc, but thus far I have seen support for turquoise and melon being colours in which every woman looks gorgeous.

I suggest that the Ezibuy columnist mislabelled her colour group. The term she should have used to describe those readily available, basic or foundation colours that tone in with everything else is NEUTRALS.

Tip of the Week:
When discussing or studying the art of appearance, clarify the meaning of terms used, in the same way one does when discussing God, heaven and hell, etc. Establish common vocabulary definitions and your study or conversation will be more productive.
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