Tag Archives: skirt

brocade + bonus meowser

Pleated brocade skirt

Pleated brocade skirt

Pleated brocade skirt

Pleated brocade skirt

Pleated brocade skirtMy feline friend came to visit while I was taking photos hehe. 

I actually made this skirt ages ago but it’s taken me forever to photograph it. I picked this fabric up at a rummage sale for something like $3. At first it was going to be some kind of zippy crop top, possibly with a peplum. Then I decided I would probably never wear that and fell down the rabbit hole of brocade skirts on Pinterest. Then it was an issue of whether it should be a Moss skirt, a pleated skirt, or something in between. I decided to go with the pleats.

It’s pretty basic, really. The Armstrong book talks about all kinds of technical shenanigans for making pleats but to be honest, I just measure out a waistband in the right size and then fuss with the pleats until they fit the waistband. The result is probably not quite as neat as it could be, but meh.

Helpful pleating tip: regardless of whether you measure out your pleats ahead of time, try to angle them so the inside fold of the pleat sticks out past the edge of the fabric. This keeps them from splaying open and keeps them nice and neat.

The top is actually a cropped Nettie top that I’m wearing backwards. It’s not technically meant to be reversible but I was getting dressed one day and the low scoop neck didn’t quite work with the outfit so I decided to try turning it around. The shoulders end up being slightly off but not really noticeably.

Now excuse me while I go pet the kitty who is currently indignantly meowing because I ignored him while I finished taking photos. (For the record, after that photo, he settled about halfway between me and the camera and licked his bits — out of view, thankfully.)

Hello again


I don’t ever plan on taking the summer off from blogging and somehow it always seems to happen. This year was partially due to a move across the country and partially due to losing my camera remote, but also just wanting to enjoy summer and sewing for hours and not worrying about (mostly self-imposed) blogging deadlines and whatnot.

But now I’m missing it again so hello from California!

Things I’ve been up to:

  • Saying goodbye to Boston and the lovely Crafty Foxes and moving back home to California. Hello drought and heat waves and having a backyard!
  • Sewing all the things. ALL the things. I have such a backlog it’s ridiculous. Forgive me if my next 15 blog posts start with “So I sewed this back in xxx month so I don’t remember how I did it.” If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen that my mom got sick of my sewing stuff rapidly infecting the entire house so she cleared out our storage cottage thing in the backyard and I now have a tiny little sewing studio. It’s small but so easy to disappear into for hours. If the lighting weren’t so terrible in there I think I’d sew through the night.
  • Visiting Boston because my sister now lives there. No joke, she moved there for school a week before I moved back here. We own all the same furniture and appliances though, so we pretty much just traded.
  • Taking a flat pattern class at a local CC. This has been SO much fun. I was introduced to the sewing machine by my mom and then mostly self-taught from there so it’s been so refreshing to learn “the right way” to do a lot of things that I’ve just sort of guessed at. Also I’ve learned that darts aren’t scary. And that it’s super fun to move them around, especially to weird places. (And no, there will not be a Peneloping pattern line anytime soon. Talk to me in many years when I get tired of my day job. This is purely for fun!)
  • Getting ready to move again! Boyfriend and I decided we’re finally going to tolerate each others’ presence (just kidding) and move in together. Just as soon as we find an apartment. Which is super fun and not at all difficult in the Bay Area. Nope.

I also sewed this skirt! I bought Simplicity 1366 when it came out because it has a giant bow across the crotch, and when Boyfriend *finally* graduated from his program I decided it was the perfect occasion to wear it to. I was also deep into my “I’m about to move so I can’t start sewing a dress that will probably require a total of upwards of 50 yards of fabric” angst so I chose a very Cinderella-esque periwinkle for it. It’s coming off more blue in the photos but in person it’s more purpley and a bit paler.

I was originally going to do the top in the pattern too but all the fabrics I found that had the right stiffness looked too polyestery. Plus there was the issue of the one skirt fabric I fell in love with also being sheer, and me not wanting to deal with drafting a lining, which led to me deciding to just make a Nettie dress to wear under the damn thing. It worked out great! (It’s usually not quite as obscenely short as it looks in the photos..) The only downside is that I can now only wear this skirt with that dress, unless I decide to go back and make some sort of slip, which I kind of want to do just so I can wear it with some kind of cropped top.

Anyway, it’s super fun to wear (I felt slightly like a peacock with all that extra fabric hanging off my bum) and I definitely want to make another one but it’s one of those skirts where you have to stop yourself and think, do I really need this in two different colors? And then the answer is always yes. But hesitantly yes.


A simple skirt tutorial

Orange skirt

Want to make a cute super-easy-to-style skirt out of three rectangles (technically four if you count the interfacing, I guess)? I made two versions of this Very Simple Skirt™(blogged here and here) and several people had asked for a tutorial (which I promised ages ago and I apologize for the wait!) so here it is!

This skirt method is pretty simple; it only requires three pieces of fabric, all of which are rectangles. There’s a bit of math involved though (and some eyeballing), which I know is definitely not my best friend so if you’re confused about anything please ask!

I also wanted to introduce my newest sponsor: Moxtra. For someone who learns visually, this app is a godsend. You create “binders” of photos that you can then doodle, write on, and add voice notes to, and then send to friends or share with an audience. You can see my Moxtra binder for this skirt tutorial (with extra notes and doodles!) here.

Let’s do this!

-Fabric (see step 1)
-Tiny bit of interfacing (for waistband)
-Zipper (mine was 7″ but you can use whatever length you like)
-Snap closures
-Some minor math skills
-1/2″ seams, which I realize isn’t a supply but I thought I should mention that’s what my math and I are using

1. Fabric – The amount of fabric depends on two things: how long you want your skirt and your waist measurement. My skirt used about a yard of 60″ wide fabric and I had some leftover. I recommend using something more substantial that can hold the shape of the pleats, although if anyone tries this with something lightweight I’d love to hear how that came out!

Simple skirt tutorialSimple skirt tutorial

2. Measure your waist – Measure your waist where you want the top of the skirt to sit. Add 1″ for seams and 1/2″ for the extended tab. (I usually like to make it several inches longer and then trim down, but if you’re confident about your waist measuring skills then 1.5″ extra is all you should need.) Where I wanted it to sit was 27″, so my waistband piece would be 28.5″ long.

3. Prep the waistband – I like to keep waistbands at around 1.5-2″ tall. If you want to go any taller, you should probably make it curved to accommodate your actual body curves, otherwise it’ll sit funny and wrinkle (unless you’re making something high-waisted or if you’re less curvy). That means my waistband piece is (1.5″ x 2 because of folding it over) + 1″ for seams, which equals 4″ tall, which means the rectangle measures 28.5″ x 4″.

Once you have your waistband cut out, cut out a rectangle of interfacing that is the same length but only half the width of your waistband (so mine was 28.5″ x 2″) Iron that on to one half of the waistband.

Simple skirt tutorialSimple skirt tutorial

Once you have that ironed on, fold it lengthwise with right sides facing and sew it along the long edge and one of the short edges. Make sure you leave one short edge open! Once those are sewn, trim the edges of the sewn short edge as shown, and turn the whole thing right side out. Iron it and set it aside.

4. Cut the skirt pieces – I love the more polished effect of the pleats, so I did two on either side in the front, and two on either side in the back. To figure out how wide the skirt rectangle will be, we’re going to add the width of the waistband plus the extra width required for the pleats. Since there’s a front and back, we’re going to do the math and then chop it in half to have two rectangles for the skirt (front and back, with side seams).

I did 1.25″ pleats, and since each pleat requires 2.5″ of fabric, 2.5″ x 8 total pleats equals 20″. Since there are two skirt pieces, each is half the waistband (half of 28″ is 14″) + half the extra for the pleats (half of 20″ is 10″), which is 24″. The length of the skirt is whatever you want it to be. I like mine a little shorter so I went with 17″. So my skirt pieces are each 24″ by 17″.

I’m going to be honest though, if you’re off by a little bit it’s not going to make much of a difference. This is moreso to give you an idea of how big to cut your skirt pieces. Also the math part is over. Yayyy!

Simple skirt tutorialSimple skirt tutorial

5. Sew the skirt pieces – Take the two skirt pieces and hold the right sides together. Sew one of the side seams (the shorter ones) together and then zigzag (or serge if you’re fancy!) to finish. Leave the other side open! Now would be a good time to finish the rest of the edges.

Simple skirt tutorialSimple skirt tutorial
6.  Prep the waistband – Grab the waistband piece. It should be right side out and ironed and one end should be open. Now we’re going to check the fit. Tuck the open end inside itself 1/2″ and pinch it shut. Stick a pin there. Wrap it around your waist, preferably over a top for more realistic fit. It should overlap only 1/2″ over itself but if it’s more, adjust to your liking by tucking more of it inside itself. Mark the other waistband end where it’s overlapping so you can tell where the skirt pieces should start (you don’t want the skirt extending all the way to the end or it’ll overlap too). I mark things with pins, apparently. In retrospect I should’ve used chalk so you could tell which end was the overlapping end (blue pin) and which was simply being held closed (black pin).

Simple skirt tutorial

7. Pin the skirt to the donkey waistband – This is where it gets fun. Fold your waistband as shown (above) and measure/mark the center (make sure the extended tab is extended!). Then find the 1/4 way points and mark those.

Simple skirt tutorialSimple skirt tutorial

Now pin the skirt center (where the seam is) to the center of the waistband. Fold each skirt side edge over 1/2″ for the seam allowance and then pin one skirt edge flush with the edge of the waistband, and the other skirt edge to where the mark for the extended tab is. I pinned it so the skirt piece overlapped the waistband by 1/2″.

Simple skirt tutorial

8. Pleats! – Once you have the skirt pinned to the waistband in sections, it should be pretty easy to make your pleats just by eyeballing it. They don’t necessarily need to be centered in their quadrants either. I like to have the pleats farther apart on the front of the skirt and closer together in the back. You can also play around with which direction the pleats face. On one of my skirts, I did sets of three smaller pleats in the front and sets of two in the back. Play around with placement and direction until you find something you’re happy with. Make sure it’s symmetrical and pin it down across the entire waistband.

Simple skirt tutorial

9. Ignore my questionable topstitching – Once everything’s all set and pinned, topstitch the bottom edge of the waistband to the skirt at about 1/16″ from the edge or whatever you prefer.

Once that’s done across the whole edge, I like to swoop around and just topstitch the whole edge of the waistband, but that’s optional.

Simple skirt tutorialSimple skirt tutorial

10. Attach the zipper – I’m weird. I like to attach zippers by hand. Attach yours however you prefer, just make sure it starts at the skirt part, not the waistband part. The waistband part will be held together by snap closures.

Simple skirt tutorial

Once the zipper is attached, go ahead and pin the rest of the skirt side under the zipper together and sew it down to the hem.

Simple skirt tutorialSimple skirt tutorial

11. Hem – As I mentioned earlier, I usually cut skirts a little longer and then hem them to the length I want as the last step, so for this one I hemmed it 1.25″. It tends to prevent scary accidents that leave you wondering why your perfectly measured skirt is showing off your lady bits. Plus this way if you find yourself wanting to become more conservative later on, you can always lengthen your skirts. (I’ve never actually done this, I’m just speculating).

Simple skirt tutorialSimple skirt tutorial

Now just iron everything! (Or curse profusely at your poly gab for refusing to obey the iron.)

Simple skirt tutorialSimple skirt tutorial

12. Skirt changes color Attach snap closures – Funny story, I realized as I was nearly done with the skirt that I had either lost or completely run out of all of my snap closures. I wanted to be sure to show the placement so I just grabbed my previous version of this skirt and photographed that. Kind of looks like Halloween when you put them next to each other.

Andddd we’re done!

Orange skirt

Please do comment or email with any questions, especially if something doesn’t make sense. And definitely link me if you decide to make one, I’d love to see!

Happy sewing!


Orange skirt

Orange skirt

Orange skirt

Orange skirtskirt: self-made // top: thrifted // sweater: self-made, pattern here // tights: Modcloth // boots: Hunter 

Remember that really simple skirt I made a few of a while ago and then promised to make a tutorial? Well, I FINALLY sat down and made a tutorial. I’m just putting the finishing touches on that so expect that later on this week. Yayy!

I keep flipflopping between wanting to write a post about the new year and then getting kind of turned off not wanting it to seem too New Years Resolutiony. I definitely have ongoing goals, but not ones that I came up with for the sake of the new year, but maybe I’ll just list those, if only in a futile attempt at organizing my brain.

Tutorials: I have a few simple tutorial ideas bouncing around my head (including this one) that have been living on the back burner and I want to finally do those. So far so good!

Layer Cake dress: Obviously this one needs to be done by April. I’m currently waiting on the rest of my supplies but I think I’m still ahead of schedule on this one.

Wearability: There have been several posts in the past few months about wearing me-mades and why it’s sometimes hard, so I’ve been trying to make more things that are more wearable (meaning more solids and diving into the world of knits).

Albion coat: I’ve been wanting to learn to make a coat for a while and haven’t quite gotten to a point I’m happy with. I started with the New Girl blazer and then sort of stumbled my way through half of an Anise coat (I picked the wrong weight of fabric so it’s turning into a skirt). I still have plans (and more appropriate fabric) for another Anise but my next coat-related project is going to be an Albion. More on that later, including fabric pr0n.

Vintage patterns: I have a wishlist of vintage patterns that I’ve been eyeing on Etsy. I recently bought one and am super excited to try it. This goal probably contradicts the one regarding wearability.

Costumes: Costumes make me happy. Like really complicated, nitpicky, intricate movie replicas. It’d been a long time since I’d done one before I started the Kaylee dress and I want to start doing that again more often. Possibly starting off with finishing Elizabeth Swann’s wedding dress which is probably my longest standing WIP (I started it ~2007).

Moar Archers: Because of reasons.

Ok, my brain feels better.