In the meantime I decided to make some skirts WITH the girls. Something I've been meaning to do for a while. I checked out Sewing School from the library and now it's on our to-buy list. The emphasis is on the kids doing as much of the work as possible: threading their needles, tying knots, the sewing and tying off at the end. I love how it's a totally freeing book; the stitches taught are running stitch and whipstitch, no complicated backstitch necessary. There's even a chapter on mending! Another freeing thing: the results. There are pictures of actual kids and their actual projects. They are not perfect but they are cute and functional anyway. Check out their blog.
One of the projects/patterns in the book is a basic skirt. It's an a-line with an elastic waistband-two skirt pieces to cut and then the seams, hem and casing. Pretty fast on a machine. Well, of course I had to change it up. The skirt is a little long and our fabric of choice was limited. I also hate sewing a casing for elastic (and threading it, getting the elastic the right length, sewing it...). I was pretty excited to discover Dana's circle skirt with exposed elastic waist (she has lots of other tutorials, too). I made two for the girls' Halloween costumes this past year.
I got even more excited when I discovered using knit fabric or even the neck of a turtleneck for a yoga band. That's what I ended up using on Millie's Lemon Meringue skirt.
So, I altered the pattern for My Very Own Skirt by making a hem facing pattern and shortened skirt pattern. I had some fabric for the main skirt from a yard sale and more fabric from a different yard sale. This was part of a pillow case-why hem a skirt if someone's already done the hemming for you? Millie traced the pattern and cut it out:
Then we sewed together on my sewing machine :
It's not a very kid-friendly machine but, like other Singers you can put the foot pedal up and use a knee lever to run it. So Millie got to make it go and I helped guide the fabric through. I did the pressing myself. Millie's a pretty capable, independent kid but we were pretty agreed that making a mistake with an iron is too much. After the skirt was sewed together I did the yoga band myself. Mills was pretty tired and ready for a rest by then. She had worked hard! Her reward:
That night we went out to celebrate Teddy's birthday early. Pizza, Aquarium, Clumpies. Right after we got to the Aquarium Millie got a compliment on her skirt. She was proudly able to say, "I made it myself, today!"