Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sugar and Spice, and a Tutorial!

Well now, it has been a long time, hasn't it? After a long break from blogging, which was unintended but turned out to be totally needed by most of us, the Praiseworthy girls are back! We'll be here and there, somewhat less regularly than we used to - we have springtime to plan for and babies on the way! - but I think I can speak for all of us when I say we missed you. So here we go.

I always thought that the little rhyme about "sugar and spice and everything nice" was a teeny bit unfair to girls ("everything nice"? I mean, that's a pretty tall order, don't you think?). Until I had a little girl - who is smart and helpful and funny and pretty and independent, and sometimes a whole lot more spice than sugar!

Here she is at just 4 days old. Sassy already! ;)

Now, to be perfectly honest, I love spice. Ask anyone. We have a whole kitchen drawer dedicated to spices, and a box in the pantry for what doesn't fit in the drawer. There are two ingredients I never measure anymore: vanilla and cinnamon. And when I use either of those two lovely lovely things, especially the cinnamon, I cannot help but think about how fortunate I am. I think "here is this precious spice, a spice that whole countries once fought other whole countries over, and I have a big jar of it right here in my pantry, and it's abundantly available to me when I run out. And here I am, I don't even measure it, I just toss some in like it never cost anyone anything." I don't know, I just love that thought; I love how simple it is, and how good for the soul.

Anyway, back to my point. My daughter has made me appreciate that little rhyme, by making me think about the spice. And I do love spice!

I also love this little skirt, which was made for my little Miss Sassy C when she was two:

It's sushi fabric! And it's reversible! She would wear this with her little red rain boots or her blue shoes with the orange stars, and just radiate the cuteness!

I loved it so much that when she grew out of it, I did some careful examination of the seams and stitches, and made a couple more in bigger sizes (and fabric that suited her better at four- and five-years-old). They're still favorites of hers and mine.

And so! When our Cortney's littlest girl had her last birthday, I knew just what to make. And I took pictures! So now you can make some too!

For a size 3-ish skirt, you'll need:

Two pieces of fabric: 37" x 13" and 37" x 15"
Elastic, 1-inch wide

Sew each of your fabric pieces into a tube with the seam along the short end. Zigzag stitch the seam together, and do another zigzag stitch along one raw edge of each tube. Fold that edge up 2" on the 13" fabric; and fold up 3" on the 15" fabric. Stitch those folded up edges close to the raw edge. Like this:

Turn one of your tubes right-side out, and pair them up right-sides together. Match up along the raw edges at the top. Make sure your tube-seams are matched up, too. Like this:

Stitch all around the top:

When you open it up, it will look like this:

Now fold it along the seam you just made, with wrong-sides together. Press to flatten, like this:

Now make another seam, a smidgen more than an inch from that one at the top, leaving a space open to feed the elastic through. Like this:

If you look between the two pieces of fabric, your opening where you'll feed the elastic through will look like this:

Trim your elastic to size so that it fits your daughter's waist with a little stretch. Pin one end of the elastic to the fabric with a safety pin, and put a second safety pin on the other end of the elastic. Like this:

Using that safety pin on the end, work the elastic through the opening and all around the skirt, making sure the elastic doesn't get twisted. Hook the two safety pins together, then shimmy and pull the elastic around inside the seams so it's all nice and even.

Once you like how it looks, stitch the two ends of elastic together and trim off the excess:

Turn the skirt back to wrong-sides together and stitch up the opening - just pick up that seam you left, right where you left off. You're done!

So cute one way ...

... and the other!