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.

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