Monday, March 8, 2010

Best Dressed

And the winner, in the category "Best Dressed" is.....

(Sound of envelope and paper crackling)

....It's a tie!  A three-way tie!  
Endeavor, Superkid, and Justone had new outfits to wear to church yesterday, thanks to a late night of sewing by their mother.  I started the girls' skirts on Saturday evening.  Trouble is, once I start a project like this, I have to finish it.  If I don't, it sits undone for weeks, months.....even years.  I'm particularly awful with following through on sewing projects.  There was a point late Saturday night when I knew it was now, or never.  So I sewed like the wind, into the wee hours of the morning.

Ta da!  Some of the nominees were more thrilled to pose for pictures after church than others.

I found the sweaters on sale at the Children's Place Outlet last weekend.  I originally bought them to go along with the skirts I'm planning to make for Easter.  But I decided that I loved that bright pop of yellow with the black and white.  I've loved that color combo ever since I came across this:

Now, admit it, my kids would look great with that for a backdrop.  Or maybe they would just blend in.....oh well, I just love that yellow and black combo, even if the Bionic Man does make disparaging comments about road signs.

Sunday morning, I remembered that I promised to make Justone a tie that would match with his sisters' skirts.  (I love that my children are all willing, even eager, to go along with my coordination obsession.  How long will this last?)  I felt guilty that I didn't have something new for him to wear, so I decided to just go ahead and whip together a tie for him out of the leftover fabric.  The ox wasn't exactly in the mire, but a mother's promise was on the line.  I was convinced it would only take me a "few minutes".

Luckily, we don't have to be to church until 1 P.M.  

I should have used this tutorial I found last week, but I was daunted by the 24 sheets of paper it was going to require to print out.  (Which means it was a very thorough tutorial, with lots of step-by-step pics.  I'll use it next time.)  But no, I'm apparently too good for instructions, or maybe just too stingy with my printer paper.  Because I decided, "Hey, how hard can it be to sew a tie?  I can just look at another tie and figure this out, easy peasy!"  Now, from the front of the tie, I might just be right.  But if you turn the tie over, you will see that I most definitely was wrong.

I was too embarrassed to include a picture of the back of the tie.  But it sure looks good from the front, doesn't it?

The girls' skirts were easy to put together, and.....this is a big deal......I actually had a lot of fun making them.

They are basically just twirly skirts, with some easy variations.  I didn't even have to cut out pattern pieces for them or do any gathering.  I just measured my daughters, cut straight lines, and sewed straight seams, and pulled elastic through to make the waistbands.  Seriously, anyone can make these.

I learned to make twirly skirts last spring,  using this tutorial from House on Hill Road.  (Recently, I discovered another very simple twirly skirt tutorial, you can read more about that here.)

The fabric I used inspired the design of the skirts.  When I purchase the black and white floral (which is just cotton gingham, $4/yard), I realized that I was going to need to line the skirts.  I planned to do so with plain white cotton.  As I was just about to cut the lining, I had a Moment of Mad Genius and realized that I could do a super-cute layered effect by letting that lining peek out from beneath the hem of the first layer.  I'm so happy with the results!

Superkid's skirt has a little less ornamentation on it than Endeavor's, mostly because I was running out of steam at 2 o'clock in the morning her sweater has more detail on it.  I used my very last scrap of polka-dot fabric to make my own bias tape for the hem.  That's how much I hate hemming things, I'll make my own bias tape if I have to, just to keep from doing an actual hem.  I didn't actually cut the polka-dot fabric on the bias, since I had very little fabric to work with.    (Is there a reason bias tape is cut on the bias?  Go ahead and let me know if you know.)  I machine hemmed the upper layer of the skirt, then tacked on that black grosgrain ribbon with stitchwitchery iron-on tape.  I love that stuff so much.  We'll see if it holds up through the first wash......I may actually have to sew it on later.  
 Endeavor's skirt is a little more frilly than Superkid's.  That white ruffle is some nifty pre-made trim I found at JoAnn's.  I meant to have enough for Superkid's skirt, too, but I mis-measured and didn't buy enough.  Happy accident:  they look less matchy-matchy.  Besides, it probably won't be long before Endeavor stops letting me dress her in frills and ribbons.  Why not live it up while we can?

Anyway, the premade ruffle is just white grosgrain, and I love the fact that it was already done.  I couldn't make something like that.  Wouldn't even want to try.  Originally, I meant to put it right on top of the black and white polka dot band, but yet another happy accident occurred which caused me to use my unpicking tool just a bit before I decided, "Hey, this might actually look good if I leave a little space between my ruffle and the floral fabric."  Amazing what kind of inspiration laziness can provide!  Again, grosgrain ribbon and some stitchwitchery tape totally came through for me on the lower hem.

It took 6-8 hours to complete everything.  (I designed the skirts and cut the fabric a few weeks, ago, so I did get some sleep Saturday night.)  Total cost: less than $10 per skirt, the tie was made using scraps I already had.  

I am so proud the way the skirts turned out (and the matching tie), and especially pleased that my children were so thrilled by their new outfits.  I'm really excited to get to work on those Easter outfits, now.  But first, I have to alter dance recital costumes.  Those have to be ready this week.

Oh my goodness, I'm in awe.  Ten years ago--even two years ago--I would never have imagined myself writing that last paragraph.  I think I've stretched, and picked up a couple new skills.  
Stand up straight and smile, darn it, smile!

I'm linking this post to 


Made it Monday at the Persimmon Perch



  1. Cute skirts....and tie!! I love it when my kids are matchy-matchy too, it just doesn't happen very often!!

    I'd love it if you'd consider linking at my "Sew Cute Tuesday" link party! I started it as a way to get some fun sewing ideas! You can check it out at!

  2. Oh, these are such a lovely set of clothes! And such a sweet models! (you are a good photographer, I know it is very difficult to get three kids at ones on a foto, withouth moves, funny faces or closed eyes...!). It is such a good idea to make a matching tie..I never ever thought of that.
    Have fun wearing the skirts, greetings Mama Lieveheersbeestje.

  3. I absolutely love the black/white and yellow! It's so fun and bright. Those kids are adorable!

  4. Oh this is all just so lovely! You are sew talented, I love it. And that color scheme is just stunning. Reading your profile made me cry. Hugs to you!

  5. Look at those lovely skirts, and I LOVE the idea of a matching tie. I love the black and white with a burst of color! Great job!

    Thanks so muh for stopping by to leave a sweet comment on my blog this morning. I really appreciate it!

  6. Very cute! I love the layered look too. Yellow, black and white is GORGEOUS!!!!

  7. I love the sweaters with them! What fun skirts!

  8. So cute, you did a great job! I love the yellow, black & white color combo as well.

  9. Wow! Very cute! Love the black, white, and yellow combo. You did a great job in such a short stretch of time! Congrats. Thanks for sharing with Made it Monday! Jules

  10. These are FABULOUS! It makes me want to make an Easter outfit for my little boy STAT (and get some daughters, or just sew for my nieces- haha!).
    We have a friday fun find party (that's still going)- if you're interested, we'd love it if you'd link up!

  11. You are so talented!!! They are so cute together. And you made a tie too - amazing!!!

    Thanks so much for linking up to my party! I really appreciate it!