Fabric for A-Line Skirt

I went back to Jo-Ann Fabrics with 40% and 50% off coupons to buy fabric for my first A-line skirt and for the muslin, or prototype, skirt. I’m so indecisive and unsure of what I’m doing with patternmaking and sewing that I spent about two hours looking at fabrics.

I went back to the denim section and looked through it again. This time, I found white denim on the shelf, which is what I originally wanted. Unfortunately, I noticed a few small red threads running through the bright white denim, and I really didn’t want to get fabric that was so noticeably imperfect. I knew I’d be unhappy with the skirt and wouldn’t wear it. Not really the point of making my own clothes.

After comparing the white denim to all of the other denims, I decided that maybe I could pull out the red threads. I knew I’d wear white denim a lot more often than the gold speckled dark denim I’d picked out a couple of weeks before. When I went to the counter to get the fabric cut, the employee helping me said that pulling out the red threads would probably leave obvious holes in the fabric. But, when she found out I only needed a yard, she said she’d cut it from the other end. Perfect!

white denim

White Denim

Searching for fabric to use as a muslin posed an entirely different problem. In the patternmaking book I’m using, the author said she finds fabric for $1/yard to use for her muslins. Even on the clearance rack, I couldn’t find any fabric for that cheap. When I looked through the actual muslin fabric, there wasn’t any thick enough to approximate the weight of denim. Then I thought maybe I could get a wearable fabric to use as my muslin, and possibly end up with two skirts I liked. I didn’t want any of the other denim choices, but next to that section I picked out a gorgeous turquoise corduroy. (It actually looks closer to this color, but darker.)

turquoise corduroy

Turquoise Corduroy

A week has gone by since I bought those fabrics, and I’ve been learning a lot from sewing blogs that I’ve been reading. Since I’m the newest of newbies at patternmaking, I think I’m going to first cut the pattern out of an old sheet or something and baste the skirt just to make sure I have a basic clue about what I’m doing. I like the turquoise corduroy far too much now to use it as a muslin, so I’m going to make the denim skirt first. Hopefully the “old sheet” muslin will give me enough of an idea about how the skirt will fit before I cut the heavier denim. Maybe I’ll also leave some extra seam allowance so I can adjust the fit if I need to.

I’m so excited to start sewing! I have to solve a pattern drafting problem first, though, and figure out if my sewing machine is broken or if I just don’t know how to use it. Luckily, when I left Jo-Ann fabrics, one of my friends was on her way in, and she told me where I can take the sewing machine. I’m going to go and dig through my fabric stash and try to find something to use as a muslin.

Do you have a preferred fabric that you use for muslins? Or do you use any fabric you have on hand?

Butterfly Blouse and Thrift Store Jeans

I practically jumped up and down in a Goodwill dressing room today. I found jeans! And they fit! They aren’t too loose or tight, and they don’t drag on the ground. For Dockers that look like new, you can’t beat $6.35. If you can, let me know where to find them!

I also used a gift card from Christmas to get a Lauren Conrad blouse. It looks like this one, except it’s mint instead of black.

LC Lauren Conrad Butterfly Chiffon Blouse

LC Lauren Conrad Butterfly Chiffon Blouse

I was super excited to find a blouse with birds all over it. Then I went home and showed it to my husband, and he pointed out that the birds are actually butterflies. I guess I liked the color and fit so much that all I saw were wings.

It looked so sweet with my white floral skinny jeans and turquoise floral ballet flats. Now that I’ve figured out that my favorite neutral is white, and that I like soft romantic colors, I’m having an easier time deciding what to buy. I’m able to mix and match several things in my closet now.

To update my wardrobe basics, I picked up white and black camis by Daisy Fuentes. The nylon/spandex blend feels soft and comfortable.

Daisy Fuentes Seamless Camisole

Daisy Fuentes Seamless Camisole

Leave a comment and tell me about your recent finds!

Measurements for the A-Line Skirt

I took my measurements for the A-line skirt, did some easy math, and ended up with numbers for drawing my pattern. This pattern only needs five measurements, which you can read about in Cal Patch’s book, Design-It-Yourself Clothes: Patternmaking Simplified.

To start off, I put on a denim miniskirt that sits on my waist right where I want my new skirt to sit. I used the waist measurements from that skirt, but I extended the length by a few inches. I might shorten it by an inch or two later, but I want to make sure I can wear it without leggings underneath.

The sweep is the measurement for the bottom hem of the skirt. Because I want my skirt to more closely resemble a denim miniskirt, I went with the minimum sweep that Cal recommended for an A-line skirt.

I had to draw dots at my waist and hip to figure out the waist-to-hip measurement. It was also tricky because my widest hip measurement spanned a few inches vertically. I went with the hip measurement closer to my waist. If I went with a hip measurement farther from my waist, I think the skirt would be too tight as it tapered from my hip to my waist.

The math was simple – just adding ease, or “room”, in certain measurements, and then dividing those numbers to get quarter measurements. In the end, I had the five numbers I needed to draw my A-line skirt pattern.

I highly recommend taking measurements in front of a mirror. Using a skirt I owned as a jumping off point for measurements helped, too. The most exciting part of this process was making design decisions, such as where I wanted the waist to sit and how long I wanted the skirt to be. I can think of so many variations of A-line skirts that I want to make now!

A-Line Skirt Fabric Search

Rarely do I find the fabric I’m looking for when I go to the fabric store. My trip to look for white denim for an A-line skirt was no exception, but I did find fabric that (a) I like, (b) will fit into my wardrobe, and (c) will probably not be too complicated to sew.

I searched through the denim section first and found two metallic fabrics that I thought might work. The black gold metallic denim closely matched the look of metallic denims I’ve seen in stores recently, but it was very thin, and the underside felt scratchy.

Black Gold Metallic Denim

Black Gold Metallic Denim

Even though the glitter dark wash still wasn’t as thick as I’d like, the underside felt softer. I also liked the prominence of the gold flecks.

Glitter Dark Wash Metallic Denim

Glitter Dark Wash Metallic Denim

Eventually, I want to make a skirt from this beautiful brocade. I think this fabric would need a lining, though, and I need to master basic sewing skills before I tackle a skirt lining.

Blue Brocade

Blue, Gold, and Pink Brocade

Whenever I learn how to make wraparound skirts, these tie-dye fabrics will be perfect. I’d like to wear them to the beach.

Tie-Dye Fabric 1

Tie-Dye Fabric 1

Tie Dye Fabric 2

Tie Dye Fabric 2

After considering my wardrobe and my current sewing skills, I decided to make my first A-line skirt from the glitter dark wash denim. I thought it would go with a white tank top with gold flecks that I own, but it turns out the tank top has silver flecks. Can I mix silver and gold?

metallic tank top

Metallic Tank Top

I know the skirt will at least match my white high tops with gold buckles.

metallic high tops

Metallic High Tops

If you were going to make an A-line skirt, what fabric would you choose?

A-Line Skirt Project

The A-line skirt seems like the perfect way to start designing clothes because of its simplicity. The first version only needs five measurements and two pattern pieces. I already made a mini version of the front pattern piece to make sure I understood the directions, and it took me less than 15 minutes.

Here are the steps I’m anticipating for this project:

  1. Design the skirt (select a fabric and decide on length and fullness)
  2. Take measurements
  3. Draw and cut out the pattern
  4. Purchase a trial fabric (a cheaper fabric with a similar weight and drape)
  5. Sew a mock-up version of the skirt (called a muslin)
  6. Make needed adjustments to the muslin and pattern
  7. Purchase the final fabric
  8. Sew the final skirt

I feel confident through step #3. After that, I’m determined to push through the significant learning curve I’m going to hit!

If you’re new to designing and sewing clothes, where’s your learning curve? If you’re experienced, what was the hardest part for you to learn?

Patternmaking Supplies for Beginners

Ready, steady, go! One of my friends likes to use this phrase when we’re tackling projects. Today we’re going to focus on the “ready” stage by gathering the supplies we need for our first patternmaking project.

In Design-It-Yourself Clothes: Patternmaking Simplified, Cal Patch lists several tools that can be useful in patternmaking, but she also pares the list down to the bare essentials. To simplify our first project, we’re going to stick to some basic items.

Patternmaking Supplies

Patternmaking Supplies

You’ll need:

  • Large sheets of paper
  • Pencil with eraser
  • Clear tape (to tape the sheets together, if necessary)
  • Scissors (not your fabric scissors)
  • Measuring tape
  • Ruler (clear flexible sewing ruler preferred)
  • Hip curve
  • Design-It-Yourself Clothes: Patternmaking Simplified by Cal Patch (or a basic patternmaking instructional book of your choice)

Because I’m a beginner in patternmaking and sewing, the thought of purchasing the sewing ruler and hip curve intimidated me. Thankfully, Cal provided pictures and detailed descriptions of these tools, and I found them easily at Jo-Ann Fabrics.

Search your house and head out to the stores to gather your supplies. Pretty soon you’ll be taking control over the creative design of your wardrobe!

Three Awesome Reasons to Make Your Own Clothes

While watching the movie Devil Wears Prada several years ago, I learned that fashion is art we live our lives in. Impressed by that thought and by some of the outfits worn by Andrea, Anne Hathaway’s character, I started exploring runway fashion. I quickly discovered that I wanted to own every piece in Marc by Marc Jacob’s collection and a Balenciaga hat that season. But, even without looking up the designers’ websites, I knew the price ranges for those clothes would far exceed my budget. That’s the year I began to dream about making my own clothes.

Here are my three biggest reasons for wanting to make my own clothes. Let me know if you feel the same way.

Fit

too long jeans

I went to the store specifically to try on this pair of jeans tonight. Obviously, they weren’t going to work with flats, as the label suggested. I can’t stand it when my jeans drag on the ground or when long sleeves are too short. Every woman has a unique body and deserves clothes made to fit her body. If you take your measurements and make your own patterns, then your clothes will fit you like they were made for you, not for a set of standard measurements.

Fashion

I admire the creativity I see in clothes on the runway, but when I walk into stores with clothes I can afford, I rarely see any I want to wear. I want to create clothes that are similar to the ones I like on the runway because my personal style doesn’t fit most of the clothes that cater to the general public. I want to live a little on the fashion edge. If you’re on a limited budget like me but still want to keep up with the latest fashion trends, you can make clothes for yourself that are similar to the designer clothes you’re drawn to but can’t afford.

Fun

I love opportunities to be creative, so of course I want to design some of my own clothes. I like the challenge of analyzing my personal style and creating designs that reflect my personality. If I find out that I like to design and make clothes, maybe I’ll even get the opportunity to sell some of them. If you also like being creative, you might find that designing clothes is the best way to showcase your personal style.

Are you ready to start making your own clothes? In upcoming blog posts, I’m going to start working my way through Design-It-Yourself Clothes: Patternmaking Simplified by Cal Patch. I’ll be sharing about the process of making my own clothes, from taking measurements and drawing patterns to mastering the sewing machine and fitting the garments.

Why don’t you get a copy of the book for yourself and work through it with me!

How to Tie Your Wardrobe Together

I realized that if I wanted to create a cohesive wardrobe, I needed a base color to tie the clothes together.  Jeans seem to be the staple neutral for most outfits, but jeans don’t work when I want to dress up. I also wear jeans to work, so sometimes I get tired of wearing them at home or when I go out.

Neutral colors matter in most wardrobes because they’ll coordinate with almost every other color. As a result, you’ll have more options to choose from when you put outfits together. A lot of people like black or brown, and others would rather wear gray or navy. I’ve learned over the years that I like wearing white, and it suddenly occurred to me that white could be the neutral base for my wardrobe.

Source: kohls.com via Jennifer on Pinterest

If you want to figure out which neutrals fit your personal style, one way you can do this is by making a Pinterest board. Add clothes to it that you wish you owned, or clothes that you own and like to wear, and look for a common color theme. On my LC Lauren Conrad Wish List board, I noticed that among the blues, greens, and pinks, I had a fair amount of white. It made perfect sense to me that I would embrace my personal style by using white as a neutral.

Source: kohls.com via Jennifer on Pinterest

Once you figure out which neutrals you want to focus on, you can make a list of basic items that would work well in your wardrobe. Think about tops, jackets, shorts, skirts, pants, shoes, bags, scarves, hats… anything you would normally want to wear.

The white clothes I already own and like to wear are a cardigan with crochet detail, lacy top, faux fur jacket, floral pencil jeans, nautical shorts, and a nautical jacket. My wish list includes camisoles, strappy sandals, and a denim mini skirt. If I get some pants in trendy colors, I’ll also want some white tops to pair with them. A not quite as practical, but much wanted, addition would be white furry boots. I could probably get some use from comfortable heels, too.

Source: kohls.com via Jennifer on Pinterest

Which neutrals fit your personal style? Let me know in the comments section, and if you make a Pinterest board to explore your style, link up to it!

Winter Lace, Ribbon, and Fur

This blog post has a soundtrack, so click the play button, and then start shopping for a classy outfit for your next holiday party.

Lace brings a feminine appeal to this dress, while the polka dot ribbon adds a touch of charm.

Speechless Lace Dress

Speechless Lace Dress

Sturdy platform sandals balance the dress out with structured elements.

LC Lauren Conrad Platform Sandals - Women

LC Lauren Conrad Platform Sandals – Women

A soft faux fur coat will feel cozy against the chill in the air.

Mossimo Women's Faux Fur Coat -Cream

Mossimo Women’s Faux Fur Coat -Cream

Now that I’ve put together this outfit, I want every piece of it! What do you want to wear to holiday parties this year?

Fur Lined Moccasins

Now I know what I do when my husband is out of town. I shop, watch romantic comedies, and cook frozen chicken nuggets and canned soup. I’m also working my way through Martha Stewart’s checklist for fall cleaning. It’s all very exciting.

Before my trip to California, I tried on moccasins lined with fur, and they’re like a dream to walk on. So soft and comfortable. Today I bought them!

Source: payless.com via Jennifer on Pinterest

 

I also got minicci ultra low foot liners to wear with them so I don’t ruin the fur lining.

My husband comes back tomorrow, and we’re going to celebrate his birthday. I found a few presents for him while he’s been away, but I can’t say what I got cause he reads my blog. 🙂

Happy birthday, Gary!

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