Introducing The Hazel Skirt, which features front pleats in contrasting fabrics, and a simple gathered skirt in back. I'm doing some last minute edits, then it's off to some pattern testers for a quick trial run before I make it available at my Etsy store, 7LayerShop. I already have my testers lined up, unless you can convince me otherwise...(wink). Should I add one more tester to the list?
It's especially darling in Amy Butler's Midwest Modern fabrics, don't you think?
I went through several prototypes until I was happy with how the pleats were turning out. It seemed like a fairly straighforward thing at first, but after trying the original versions on my girls, I realized the pleats weren't deep enough:
Still very cute, especially with the cherry fabric from Sandi Henderson, the diamonds from Patty Young, and the green woodgrain from Joel Dewberry.
Here it is in black and orange (fabric from Joann's), just in time for Halloween season!
These were made before I changed the proportions of the pleats. The edited version (like the Amy Butler fabric one) will look more "pleaty"...nice word, huh? I bought the shirts at Walmart and Target. Why go to the trouble of decorating shirts myself when I can buy cute ones for $5?
The girls were very happy to spin around in their snappy outfits. I think they're doing a rendition of the pumpkin harvest dance.
Speaking of pumpkins, I planted a bunch in my garden this year, and for whatever reason, not one pumpkin ever grew. There were tons of blossoms, but not even a single, tiny, green beginning of a pumpkin. I haven't the slightest idea why.
Maybe the girls should have done their pumpkin harvest dance a little sooner in the year!
Hazel also enjoyed contemplating the beauty of her fake black flower. If I were witty I could come up with a funny one-liner for this shot, but alas...
This was the original prototype, and I sure had to go back and change a lot of things on it! My original plan was to make a skirt with pleats all the way around, so I spent quite a bit of time figuring out pleat placement so that it would connect just right with the waistband. At last I was finished, and even stitched down each pleat about 4 inches to encourage them to stay pleated.
Well, guess what. When Eliza tried it on, it was so tight she could barely squeeze into it. How on earth did that happen?! Turns out that in my attempt to make a slim-fitting skirt, I got a little carried away and estimated her waist and hip size incorrectly. And since I almost always sew after the kids are in bed, and I brilliantly didn't have her current measurements on hand, I made it the wrong size. "Aargh" is most definitely an understatement.
I ended up having to rip out the waistband and elastic casing, detach it from the skirt in the back, sew an additional panel of fabric into the waistband, let out the pleats, gather the fabric, and put the skirt and waistband back together. All because of a simple measurement error. Like I said, it was brilliant.
Needless to say, on the next iteration I just put the pleats in the front, and added the contrast fabric to take the guesswork out of where I should be pressing the pleats all the way down. Much easier and faster, and less likely to mess up. Besides, I think the contrast fabric is the best part about this skirt!
Here's Hazel, bless her sweet little heart, folding scraps to make shapes for mommy.
"See Mom? A twiagle!" Don't look at all the mess in the background. My studio is always stacked high with various projects I have going on all at once.
...Like this banner I made for Eliza's soccer team. I would much rather spend my required volunteer hours creating a fun banner than, say, be assistant coach or referee! Besides, I don't even know anything beyond the basic rules of soccer. We didn't have soccer as an option where I grew up. So three cheers for the banner making slot.
I can't believe how old Eliza looks in that picture! Amazing.
Speaking of looking old, check out my baby girl! Since when is she old enough to go to preschool?! Not that either one of us are complaining...while I do miss Hazel during those 3 hours, I'm loving having some uninterrupted time when my brain can complete a thought and I can get more than 10 seconds' worth of work done at a time. And Hazel absolutely, positively LOVES her preschool! She begs to go every day, and on the days she isn't signed up to go she is just crushed. Here she is posing on the first day of school with her very own school tote, which she carries with her everywhere now. I bought that canvas fabric while in Japan several years ago. Isn't it sweet?
Gee, do ya think she's excited? Man, I love that kid. Hazel is so bright and full of life, and she is about as fiesty as they come. Very observant and quick to learn...WHEN she wants to, and on her terms, of course. :-) It's been a real parenting challenge for us to figure out which battles to pick with our strong-willed children. If they are forced to do anything it's like WWIII, so the trick has been to get them to use their agency and still do what we want them to do. At least Hazel responds to time outs - Eliza never has and probably never will!
Anyway, here's one more adorable thing about Hazel (after all, this post is about her skirt, right?).
Hazel loves to eat frozen Go-Gurts and/or popsicles. She is constantly in the freezer removing said items (which is why we never have large frozen treats like big fudgesicles or Drumstick cones...I don't want to deal with the battle of keeping her from eating all of them in one day) and begging to eat them.
Here is her tactic:
With a very solemn face and extremely serious tone, she holds up the Go-Gurt and states loudly, "Yas' one...No mowe!" ("Last one...No more" for those of you who don't speak Hazel). Her index finger is gesturing emphatically in the air, and her eyes are as wide as saucers and they are looking deeply into mine, piercing my very soul. She then repeats her (most oft-spoken) phrase over and over again until 1) I give in and rip open her 6th Go-Gurt of the day (hey, it's yogurt, right? That means it's healthy? What do you mean, corn syrup?) or 2) I refuse, she throws a huge tantrum, and gets carried - kicking and screaming - to her room for a time out.
Ah, that's my baby. Now it's time to go make the skirt pattern I have lined up for Eliza before she sees I've named one for Hazel and not for her. Afterwhich I'll say, "LAST one! NO more!" And my kids will laugh and say, "Yeah, right, mom." They know me too well.