Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pinterest Challenge: Sewing Edition

I have a board on Pinterest vaguely entitled "Projects."  It's a collection of things that are both beautiful and completely unlikely to ever enter my life as anything other than a photograph online.  But thanks to the great Pinterest Challenge, one of them actually jumped into my real live...via sewing machine.

It's a billion degrees in Phoenix right now, and maxi skirts have become a lifesaver - it's like wearing your favorite pjs in public and looking stylish.  Pinterest has all sorts of DIY options, like these:

A Small Snippet's maxi dress option, however, really stood I got out my buddy/enemy the sewing machine and got to work.  Months ago I'd purchased a few yards of jersey fabric when I visited the bulk fabric store nearby...I also bought more burlap than anyone will ever need in three lifetimes, but at least the learning experience didn't cost much.  Armed with the stretchy jersey fabric and my outstanding Pinterest-guided instructional, I delved in.

A quick note: if you want an effective tutorial on how to make a maxi dress or skirt, check out A Small Snippet's page.  If you want a guide to how to get around every single thing that could go wrong during the making of such a project, I'm your girl - keep reading.

Step One: I cut the fabric wide enough to wrap around me 1.5 times, and long enough to make me trip over it every time I moved.  Then I sewed the sides together to create a giant fabric loop.  Problem One: an enormous difference in fabric lengths at the end.  I ignored Problem One and hoped I could deal with it when I hemmed the skirt.,

Step Two: Elastic thread.  The maxi dress tutorial gave great instructions for how to use elastic thread, so I trekked to the crafts store to pick some up.  And then, when the first store didn't have any, I drove even farther to get to Michael's.  And once again, I was reminded that there are great inconveniences to living around the wonderful downtown Phoenix area.  My Michael's is apparently smaller than most stores and their sewing section is - I kid you not - three feet wide.  No elastic thread to be found, so I opted for this elastic cord instead. 

It created more work than the elastic thread would have, but it worked.  I sewed the top of the skirt to make a loop through which I could pull the elastic cord (thanks to a small safety pin attached to the end of the elastic).  I tied off the ends and sewed over the knot so it was anchored pretty well. (I'll skip the details about Problem Two, which involved me searching through that fabric loop for elastic and the safety pin several times before it was completed.)

I made sure the skirt was gathered evenly across the whole loop, ensured that it fit around my waist and then moved onto Step Three, where I got brave enough to sew the top onto the skirt.  I used a t-shirt that is too short to wear most of the time, so I didn't cut the shirt off.  The pinning went well until I ran into Problem Three: my failure to line up the back of the t-shirt with the seam of the skirt.  Easily solved, after numerous negative interactions with straight pins as I repinned the top and bottom together.

Step Four was an easy seam...and it worked great, except for Problem Four: when I realized I probably should have cut the seam off the bottom of the shirt, after all.  Or sewed a straight seam, which is seemingly impossible for me.

I took the visible seam as a sign that it was time for Step Five: belt options.  I made a matching one out of a strip of the same jersey fabric, then sewed a strip of elastic to make it gathered on both sides.  It's a stretchy loop that easily slides on if I want to wear it with the dress.

And I was thrilled to find that hemming did fix my Problem One - the ends of the fabric evened up!  I had cut the fabric way too long so had to trim about six inches off the bottom when I and learn.

Since I was already taking these awkward photographs of myself against my newly-painted wall, I threw in another Pinterest idea, as well.  This pin suggested adorable ribbons to dress up otherwise boring flat shoes.  Tried and tested: once I adjusted to the odd feeling of having ribbon wrapped around my foot, I loved the upgrade!

Check out hundreds of great Pinterest successes at these sites:

And if you'd like to see the other ideas posted boldly on my Projects board, follow me on Pinterest!


  1. I love Maxi skirts! I've used Leann Barlows tutorial for three skirts, and I love them!

    1. Her tutorials are wonderful! Thank you for sharing in my sewing victory.:)

  2. Another tip for the ballet flats I like is clip on earrings from Goodwill or yard sales. They can totally change the look of shoes, but don't have to be too off the wall, purple suit/red hat club lady, bedazzled.

    Love the skirt. I'll take as many as you feel like making. I'm nice like that.

  3. Glad you liked my quilt and I hope you'll tackle it soon!

    And great job on the skirt! I, too, never seem to have everything go correctly when sewing.

  4. Glad you liked my quilt and I hope you'll tackle it soon!

    And great job on the skirt! I, too, never seem to have everything go correctly when sewing.