Yesterday, after many days with plans I put my foot down. I felt like my words enunciated and firm as my children bounced and asked if friends could come over for the fifth day in a row.
No playdates today. We are going home and hanging out. I pushed through the protests. Truth is, I am an introvert in that I recharge alone or with my immediate family and sometimes I short circuit over the number of children and continually hopping about in my kitchen. I love it and then I need quiet time.
It’s hard for me to admit that. Because I definitely, deeply appreciate that my kids and their pals love it here. And I love kids and loud-living-loving life and…I don’t need to justify this anymore. Every so often, I need a savasana in the middle of the asking and answering and dance parties and the snack making (holy shit I am pretty sure first grade girls are as hungry as 13 year old boys). What if I just busted out my yoga mat and corpse pose in the middle of a Katy Perry jump rope performance?
So, yesterday. Margot has been carrying around fabric, dreaming up a skirt in her head and we decided to go ahead and make it. One for Ruby too, of course. After snacks, of course.
I am all about simple lines, functional wear, no-fuss patterns and bonus if it is a quick make. My girls both prefer soft, stretchy knit fabrics. Margot likes capri leggings with tall socks, layers, tucking in and interesting accessories. Ruby likes very fitted leggings or tights, long sleeved shirts that end exactly at her wrist bone, a line skirts and changing her clothes every six minutes. They also prefer “slippery” skirts that don’t stick to cotton leggings.
This skirt meets every single one of the points in that paragraph up there!
Le Bam is our new phrase of choice, invented by Andy’s uncle because it is Mabel’s name backwards and it totally fits because she moves like a slinky, leaps like popcorn and does crazy things like jump off our second story deck (that really happened. she is fine.).
The skirt. A simple knit skirt using a straight stitch on the sewing machine; any machine can sew this skirt. It’s only four pieces and only requires four straight stitchings. A raw edge at the bottom eliminates the need to finish with a turned hem.
* skirt to use as pattern.
Find a skirt in your closet that you like. The skirt is just the starting point. Do you wish it was longer or straighter cut? Do you wish the waist was larger? You can make these changes when you grab your scissors. If you want to recreate an exact shape, try it!
* knit fabric the amount depends on length, size and pattern.
Knit fabric is stretchy and doesn’t fray when cut. You can use a slippery knit like athletic knit or dance knit. You can use a soft knit like bamboo or rayon jersey. To determine how much you need: Fold your the skirt you are using as a patten in half. Measure widest part (the hem). Multiply by four. You need that much fabric but all going in the same direction (width-wise) from selvedge to selvedge. The stretch is important and knits stretch differently in different directions).
* 5″ x (waist measurement)” contrasting or coordinating knit fabric
* rotary cutter + mat (optional)
* straight pins
* sewing machine
Cut the waistband fabric. I prefer to just use the fabric as a measurement instead of a tape. Every fabric stretches differently so using the fabric ensures the right length. For Ruby, I cut a piece of 5 x 25″ fabric and wrapped it around her waist until it was a comfortable fit for her. We trimmed excess and ended up with a 5 x 18″ piece (her waist is 20″). Cut waistband in half the short way. Now we have (2) 5 x 9″ pieces.
Fold your fabric right sides together and place folded skirt on fabric fold. Here is where you will adjust your pattern. Ruby wanted her skirt shorter and narrower than the one we had so I cut it shorter and narrower. The top of your folded skirt needs to be at least the width of one of your folded-in-half waistbands; best if it is an inch or so larger. In this case: the folded in half waistband is 4.5 x 5″ and I cut the top of the halved skirt to 5″. Be brave and cut! That is 1/2 your skirt.
Fold fabric again and place your folded, just-cut skirt half on the fabric fold. Cut. You are done cutting. Nice work!
Unfold one skirt piece, right side up. Fold one waistband piece in half, long sides together. Place all raw edges together, along skirt top. The skirt top is a bit wider than the waistband. Pin one side in place and then the other. Place a pin in the middle. Evenly stretch the waistband along the skirt and pin in place. Repeat on other half.
Open up your stitch length to about 6-8 stitches per inch. Sew waistband to skirt, backstitching at each end and firmly pulling the fabric as you sew. Place your left hand on the skirt and guide through machine like you usually do. With your right hand, pull away from machine, stretching the fabric. Don’t be shy. PULL. You must stretch the fabric as you sew so that the waistband and skirt match up and so that stitches retract a bit when released; this is the key to getting away without a stretch stitch (like a serger or zig zag). Repeat on other half of skirt.
Place right sides of skirt halves together and pin the heck out of each side. Make sure waistbands match up. Don’t worry if hems are a bit off; that’s an easy fix. Beginning at waistband, sew each side down to hem, backstitching at each end.
LA BAM. You just made a skirt.
Because we freecut the skirt pieces, one side might have a slightly different hem than the other. Or there might be a wonky wobble. Just trim it up so it’s even.
In the middle of sewing together my kids saw their friend outside, hiking the hill to see our neighbors horses. Can we mama? Of course. Let’s go.
That was all I needed: an quiet hour of just us chit chat and handwork. That, and the promise that we’d finish up what we started tomorrow.
We did finish them the following morning. And then I followed their wiggly, excited bodies in an effort to glean a photo showing this skirt I want to share with you. All I could grab was the skirt in everyday motion, which is absolutely how it is and will be.
And, of course the endless possibilities for styling their new frocks.
When I had some time to myself I, of course, took the opportunity to set up a self-timer and jump off their furniture to share my LE BAM skirt in motion, too. A different kind of savasana.
Happy Monday, Happy March friends. xoxo
Details about the fabric we used: Margot’s is heather teal athletic knit from JoAnns; waistband is a dance knit. Ruby’s is vintage polyester; waistband is bamboo knit. Mine is a lightweight heather sweater knit. If using a sweater knit or jersey knit you will notice it curls to one side. Be sure to have the curl on the right side of the skirt so the finished skirt doesn’t curl under.