Friday, September 20, 2013

Operation Project $0: Day 15 With the Shaffer Sisters

Today is the close of week three of Operation Project $0.  I hope you are being encouraged that sewing doesn't have to be expensive and that there are so many ways to rework what you might already have!
Today I have Al of the Shaffer Sisters with us.  She is incredibly talented and has two adorable kiddos.  The fact that we both sew for boys and girls and they we both have tall children makes me always want to check out her posts!
Give a huge welcoming hug to Al....

$0.25 Nautical Style Skirts
Hey, Winter Wonderings, Wanderings, & Whatnot readers. It is such a joy and an honor to be here sharing on Operation Zero. With my husband still in school and two young kids always around my feet, pretty much every project has to be a free one. It seems like a majority of Suzanne's posts involve up-cycling and the first time I read her blog was when she competed on PR&P. I was new to the blogging world and PR&P. Her great looks often came from up-cycled clothing or leftovers from another project. So I admired her creative talents from afar and now I'm lucky to be over here.
This project was made from the remnants of a sheet in which Scary and I made sailor suits for our sons. We started out making these in celebration of my Grandpa's life and his loving service in the navy, but we had barely just enough to get two little girl skirts as well. They were quick and easy.
The directions for the 18 month and 3T skirt are about the same, with one more step for the 3T. If you would rather double roll your hem instead of using the rolled hem setting you should add another 3/4" to your height. We had to get creative to put these skirts together having very little fabric.
For the 18 month size skirt I cut two pieces of fabric 9" (H) X 13.5" (W).
For the 3/4T size skirt I cut two pieces of fabric 9" (H) X 16" (W). If I would've had more than 9" for the height I would've used it, but this was all we could get out of the sheet. Because I knew it wasn't long enough, I had to take the extra step to make it long enough by adding a ruffle with some scraps I had.
To make the body of the skirt, follow these instructions for both sizes. Note if you don't have a serger see instructions at bottom. To put the skirt together, you will need to start with putting right sides together and sewing along the side seam (along the 9" height) with 5/8" seam allowance. I followed up this stitch with a serge.  Then I did a rolled hem around the bottom (the length of the 2 widths put together) and a serge at the top to finish the edge without losing much in the length. After the top and bottom had a finish to them, I stitched the remaining side seam (right sides together again) starting at the bottom of the skirt and sewing up to the top of it. After I sewed the side seam I went back with a serge to eliminate any bulk and finish the last side. I sew before serging because if something doesn't quite match up I'm not stuck and I can always seam rip and stitch again. If you don't have a serger, you can always use a french seam on your side seams. To put in the hem (this would come after both side seams) you would press the fabric 1/4" to the wrong side and then roll up another 1/2". Then top stitch the hem at 3/8" so it stays.
At this point I added my embroidery to my skirts. I did this using the images cut from freezer paper that I ironed on at the desired location. Using tailors chalk I lightly colored over the paper so it left the silhouette of my desired shape (a ship's wheel for the 3T and an anchor for the 18 month).
The anchor was attached using a satin stitch (my first go at it), and it was super simple with a quick strong look. I searched it on YouTube just before stitching it to learn how to do it. Yep, I learn lots of fun things about sewing (hand embroidery, sewing techniques, presser feet for my machine, felting, etc.) on YouTube.
To put the boat's wheel on the  3T skirt I used a chain stitch (also looked it up on YouTube back when I chain stitched the bodice on Ty's Concentric Circle Dress) because it would've been harder to use the satin stitch in this situation. By the time, I had completed all my embroidery, the tailors chalk had worn off. If it would've still been around then I would've hand washed it. Following the hand embroidery I cut two black pieces of interfacing just bigger than the completed images (leftover from the boys' sailor suits) and ironed them onto the back of the fabric to project the stitching. Both images were made using one package of embroidery floss that cost a total of $0.25.
The 3T skirt was finished with a ruffle to help us get the desired length. I got the white fabric from scraps leftover from a previous project. To make this I cut a long strip 4.5" (H) X 36" (W). Then I put right sides together and sewed along the height (a 4.5" stitch) After folding this in half with wrong sides together I put it in my serger and adjusted the settings so that it would finish the edge and also put a little gather in it. Once it was the same circumference as the skirt I put them together. Since I already had a finished edge on the body of the skirt, I set the ruffle just under the base of the skirt and top stitched it in place. It left me just over a 2 inch ruffle.
Then to put the waistband on both skirts I used Navy blue elastic from another project. I cut each piece an inch smaller than the girl's waistline. Overlapping the elastic a little bit, I used a decorative zigzag stitch to make it into a belt. Then I pinned the elastic belt on to the top of the skirt (elastic on top) evenly all the way around. And attached the elastic on with a zigzag. I did this so that the stitch would not limit the stretch of the elastic. When I finished this step I was done.
I hope that everyone who reads this series gets the take home message that sewing doesn't have to be an expensive hobby. You can get bold on a budget. You're kids (or yourself) can look like fashionistas instead of someone that has a $20 clothes budget a year. If anything it can be a money saver if you look for fabric in the right places (clothing exchanges, flat sheets, clothes that you no longer like and could be up-cycled for your child, clearance rack dresses that contain yards of knit fabric, fabric lover friends who have more than they could use in a life time and would love to share with a fellow seamstress, yard sale discoveries, thrift store jewels: vintage patterns, fabric, thread, buttons, etc). It's funny what happens when you stop seeing things as what they are, but potentials for fabric. There's a quote I love from Dr. Suess' 'One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish,' "If you never did, you should. These things are fun and fun is good."

Look for these good things in life. I promise you will find joy.

With Love,
Thank you so much for being here today!  I love these skirts - and the Dr. Suess quote is awesome.  We should all keep trying new things and looking at things in a new way.  Finding fabric in new places keeps it fun and unexpected!

If you have been inspired to sew up something for $0 or close to $0, make sure to link it up in the Flickr Group so that I can feature you next week!