Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Patchwork Tiered Ruffle Skirt

July 31, 2012

I saw this adorable skirt for sale on a somebody's home sewing blog.

Adorable, yes.  But I am not willing to part with $30 per skirt per little twirly girl.  Do the math.

Then I found a set of free instructions for a similar skirt here.

Difficulty level:  Beginner.  Sounds good to me.

Since fabric stores are going out of business left and right, the only place to go around here is the local Walmart.  So I bit the bullet and went.

I knew there wouldn't be any associate available in crafts to cut fabric for me, so I went the convenience route - fat quarters.  Sounds like a drinking game, or a dessert, but it's actually a cute little bundle of quarter-yard fabric pieces, already assembled in coordinating colors.   I was in heaven.  

Thankfully Andy had all the children with him that night, so I had the luxury of perusing the material without interruption.  It was laughable - I plunked myself down on the floor in the middle of the aisle with my fabric choices spread in front of me.  Cheetah prints for Theresa?  Lavender and pink ballet for Natalie?  Colorful batik for Clare?  Decisions, decisions. 

I limited myself to two choices that night, because I had no idea how easy the project would be or if my sewing machine(s) would even cooperate.  I went with rich colors and matryoshka dolls for Noelle.  This bundle just screamed Noelle!  And when I showed the girls the fabric, this is the bundle Noelle snapped up immediately, squealing with delight.

First I cut the material into blocks.

Then we laid the blocks into rows, deciding how we wanted the patterns arranged.  9 blocks in the top tier, 14 in the middle, 19 on the bottom.

Every sewing table needs a bottle of soap bubbles wrapped in zip ties.

Clare is sewing each tier together in a long strip.  She did almost all the piecing together.

This is the 1950 Singer that we rescued from a yard sale.
It is the preferred machine among the seamstresses in this household.

Then I topstitched the rows to give it a cleaner appearance and make the inner seams lay flat.  Clare didn't want to attempt this part because she was afraid her stitching wouldn't be straight and well, this would show.

Then we really got into the project and I forgot to take any more pictures of the process.

I made the casing for the elastic, and hemmed the bottom.  She put in the running stitches, and she really had a knack for gathering the ruffles.  I pinned the tiers together, and she sewed them.  Everything went smoothly, but then we had a fight at the end and I wouldn't let her finish putting in the elastic.

Suffice it to say that we started sewing around 11:00, and the skirts were on their bodies by 3:00.  Total cost for two twirl skirts - under $20, with lots of blocks left over for other projects.  About six hours time commitment.

P.S.  I finished a third skirt today, August 16 - the cheetah print for Theresa.  It took me about three hours of sewing time, but that was spaced out over three weeks.  It turned out the best so far!!!

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